With the UK government as host of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021, the Oxford Net Zero community has been mobilising its collective expertise to help drive ambition. Our ‘Main events’ detail events which were wholly or jointly organised by Oxford Net Zero, whereas ‘Events featuring our researchers’ were organised by other organisations. 

In the media

The world has made more progress on climate change than you might think – or might have predicted a decade ago

Op-ed by Myles Allen in The Conversation, 15 November 2021, read here.


COP26: It was ‘better than it might have been’ but ‘did NOT save the planet,’ says Professor

GBNews, 15 November 2021

Will the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies make it into the final UN climate deal?

TRT World, 15 November 2021


Intergenerational Equity Principles for Net Zero Strategies – to be presented on Youth Day 

Friday 5th November, 14.00-15.30, China Corporate Pavilion, Hall 4, Blue Zone 

ONZ people: Dr Jessica Omukuti and Kaya Axelsson 

Description: Oxford Net Zero researchers Dr Jessica Omukuti and Kaya Axelsson will present principles of intergenerational equity for global net zero strategies to negotiators and young leaders at the Youth Day on November 5th. These principles offer guidance for limiting the disproportionate or undue transfer of burden for addressing climate change to future generations with respect to: 1) mitigation (including the timing and scale of emission reduction, continuation of stranded fossil fuel infrastructure and preservation of carbon sinks), 2) allocation of adaptation costs, and 3) recuperation of losses and damages from climate change.   

Carbon Takeback: applying the principles of ‘producer responsibility’ to the fossil fuel industry 

Tuesday 9th November, 14.00-15.30, Bellona Pavilion, Blue Zone  

ONZ people: Professor Myles Allen 

Description: Margriet Kuijper will explain the concept of a Carbon Takeback Obligation (CTBO) and its potential acceptability to different stakeholders; Professor Myles Allen, Director of Oxford Net Zero, will present results from a newly-published study comparing the costs of a global CTBO with conventional mitigation scenarios; Dr Katherine Romanak will discuss monitoring required for safe and permanent CO2 disposal at scale; Lee Beck from the Clean Air Task Force and Marjolein Demmers from Natuur & Milieu will respond, followed by perspectives from industry and government and an open discussion. Watch the event below. 


Friday 12th November, 9.00-10.30, China Corporate Pavilion, Hall 4, Blue Zone 

ONZ people: Professor Myles Allen, Dr Matthew Ives

Description: Rapidly decarbonizing the global energy system is critical for addressing climate change but concerns about costs have been a barrier to implementation. New research from the Oxford Institute for New Economic Thinking predicts that if current deployment trends in key renewable and storage technologies continue for the next decade, we will be on track to meet the Paris goals and make net savings of many trillions of dollars.

However, to achieve a smooth transition to carbon neutrality, we must make safe carbon dioxide disposal a licensing requirement for the continued extraction and import of fossil fuels. An innovative policy proposed by Oxford Net Zero scientists that will ensure this is called the Carbon Takeback Obligation (CTBO), which requires extractors and importers of fossil fuels to recapture and permanently store a progressively increasing fraction of the CO2 they generate.

These innovative policy interventions will work like the opposing scissor blades to rapidly cut emissions, achieving both affordable intergenerational equity and durable net zero and carbon neutrality. China has a key role to play in applying both policy blades as the large emitter of fossil fuel emissions and the country most likely to gain from the enormous growth potential in renewable and storage technologies.

At this event the authors will present the findings of their innovative research. Event hosted by Chatham House, Tsinghua University, University of Oxford. English/Chinese simultaneous translation provided. 

Watch the talks below or find out more about the event and download slides on the dedicated page.

A new perspective on decarbonising the global energy system – Dr Matthew Ives

Upstream decarbonization through a carbon takeback obligation: An affordable backstop climate policy – Prof Myles Allen

Decarbonization pathways for China and its power sector – Prof Li Zheng



Tuesday 2nd November, 17.15-18.15, Blavatnik School of Government, online

ONZ people: Dr Thomas Hale

Description: At a crucial moment in the fight against the climate crisis, leaders from across the world will convene in Glasgow for the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP26). Join members of the Blavatnik School community towards the end of the COP26 World Leaders Summit for immediate reactions to – and reflections on – the outcomes. CLICK HERE to find out more, including how to watch online.



Tuesday 2nd November, 18.00-19.00, US Pavilion, Blue Zone

ONZ people: Professor Lavanya Rajamani

Description: This side event will focus on the Paris Agreement’s global stocktake (GST), the success of which depends on attention to urgency, opportunity, and near-term scalable action, including through enhanced NDCs and their effective implementation, as well as wider collective enhanced action. C2ES and EDF will further announce the [soft] launch of our GST project, which in 2022 and 2023 will help shape and support the Paris Agreement’s GST process by ensuring a strong focus on opportunities to scale up climate ambition in line with its long-term goals.


Responsible Business Conduct and Climate Action: how global instruments on responsible business conduct can support implementation and accountability of business’ net-zero commitments

Wednesday 3rd November, 10.00-11.15, Glasgow SEC Centre, Hydro Bowl, Action Room 1 – Davos 

ONZ people: Dr Thomas Hale

Description: Business momentum in committing to net-zero is growing, however key questions remain regarding standardisation of net-zero targets, implementation plans and how to ensure accountability, credibility and robust action on the part of the private sector.

This joint OECD and UNFCCC session will explore how internationally agreed and recognised instruments on responsible business behaviour, namely government-backed OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) and related due diligence guidance, can help to ensure net-zero targets are implemented with integrity, accountability and responsibility – taking into account impacts on both people and the planet. The event follows on from the joint UNFCCC-OECD event at COP 25 that explored what it means for business to act responsibly in the face of a climate emergency.

Principles of Nature Based Solutions: Demonstrating Success 

Wednesday 3rd November, 15.30-17.00, Peatlands Pavilion, Blue Zone, Hall 4 

ONZ people: Professor Nathalie Seddon 

Description: Successful, sustainable nature-based solutions (NbS) can support and encourage successful peatland protection and restoration, as part of a diverse portfolio of NbS. The success of nature conservation and peat free horticulture across the UK will be demonstrated, along with discussion and debate on the application of the four guiding principles and how activity can be upscaled. Professor Seddon will be representing NbSI in this session, speaking on four evidence-based guidelines for delivering successful, sustainable NbS with a focus on the context of peatland. Organisers: The National Trust, National Trust Scotland, International National Trusts Organisation (INTO). 


Thursday 4th November, 8.30-10.30, Shared Pavilion, Hall 4, Blue Zone (Online via Chatham House Climate Risk and Security Virtual Pavilion)

ONZ people: Professor Cameron Hepburn 

Description: This is a side event to present International and China-specific findings on energy technological trends and what they might tell us about least-cost climate mitigation solutions, and the likely cost of meeting current and future abatement target. The session will review the long-term climate neutrality targets in China and the UK assessing how the two countries are integrating their short-term carbon reduction and neutrality targets into national mitigation plans, such as China’s 14th FYP and the UK’s updated NDC. 

The session will address the following questions:

  • What is the impact of accelerating the deployment of renewable energy and storage technologies on the costs of the energy transition, and what does this mean for global and Chinese emissions?
  • Do widely used energy transition models underestimate the potential for faster decarbonisation? What could be the implications of this?
  • How is China’s energy sector responding to short-term climate ambitions? Is this enough to meet short- and medium-term carbon abatement goals?
  • Will current policies be sufficient to meet the UK’s 2030 NDC? Which new technologies and measures need to be introduced?

Event hosted by Chatham House, Tsinghua University, University of Oxford. English/Chinese simultaneous translation provided. 


Transformative Energy Innovation Dialogues

Thursday 4th November, PM, UK Pavilion, Blue Zone 

ONZ people: Professor Cameron Hepburn

Description: World leading experts in complexity economics, systems thinking, and energy policy will introduce a new conceptual model for policy and investment decision making – the Risk-Opportunity Analysis’ (ROA) framework.  At the event, the Economics of Energy Innovation and System Transition (EEIST) programme will launch its flagship report: the New Economics of Innovation and Transition.  The report includes concrete examples of transformative energy policy initiatives from Brazil, China and India. EEIST is a 3-year Department for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy (BEIS) and CIFF funded programme which brings together experts in China, Brazil, India, the UK, and EU to develop innovative systems modelling approaches to live policy decisions. This ground-breaking project has the potential to transform the way governments across the world make climate policy decisions for years to come.


Advancing Climate Justice through the World’s Highest Court

Friday 5th November, 14.35-15.45, Rio Seminar, University of Glasgow

ONZ people: Professor Lavanya Rajamani

Description: This side event on Law and Governance Day seeks to provide an understanding on the need to include a rights-based approach to addressing the climate crisis and the need to utilise international legal mechanisms to clarify and develop international law in this area. It will look at why and how an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice is a well justified avenue to advance this development and complement the UNFCCC negotiations and the broader climate fight at the community, national, regional and international level. Organisers: Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC) and World’s Youth for Climate Justice (WYCJ). View the full Climate Law and Governance programme.


Litigation, fair share, and the climate responsibilities of governments and fossil fuel companies

Saturday 6th November, 15.00-16.15, South Downs Room, Multimedia Studio 1

ONZ people: Professor Lavanya Rajamani

Description: Climate responsibility is increasingly being addressed through litigation. In May a Dutch court ruled that Shell must cut emissions pursuant to the Paris Agreement. How should science, ethics, and the law inform government and corporate climate accountability and fair shares of emissions reductions?

The Body Shop, B Lab UK, Boardroom 2030 + COP 26

Saturday 6th November, 16.30-18.00, Skypark, 8 Elliot Square, Lancefield Quay

ONZ people: Dr Jessica Omukuti, Kaya Axelsson

Description: Do you want a glimpse of what boardrooms of the future might look like? Join The Body Shop and B Lab UK for a Boardroom 2030 activation modelling the boardrooms of the future. You’ll have a chance to feedback and help shape the vision going forward! Boardroom 2030 invites and equips businesses to explore what a 2030 future might look like and draw attention to the changes we must make to our boards today. Register.


Climate Court: Cases of Climate Justice 

Monday 8th November, 12.00-12.45 (and online)

ONZ people: Professor Lavanya Rajamani 

Description: Almost every place on earth has felt the footprint of climate injustice. Fortunately, activists and lawyers have increasingly challenged the lack of legal action from political leadership in recent years, leading to the establishment of new precedents in courts. In this session, leading climate activists and lawyers will present some of these cases, assessing the harms and risks that were involved and how justice was sought. What are the trends and limitations of litigation as a climate strategy? How can those cases inspire and propel climate action today? Find out more.

WHAT MAKES GOOD nature-based solutions? 

Monday 8th November, 16.00-17.00, UN Pavilion, Blue Zone

ONZ people: Professor Nathalie Seddon 

Description: Nature-based solutions are now seen as a key option for addressing climate change, but how can we ensure that they deliver the intended benefits? Here we present and discuss two essential and complementary sets of guidelines for policy makers and practitioners. Professor Nathalie Seddon will present four over-arching guidelines for delivering successful, sustainable nature-based solutions, developed by over 20 organisations. Then the 10 golden rules for restoring forests, developed by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and with over 2000 signatories, will be presented, focusing on restoring the right trees in the right places. Finally, there will be an interactive panel discussion with the audience, bringing in voices from around the world. 

UNFCCC, UNEP, Ambition: The Emissions Gap Report 2021 

Tuesday 9th November, 13.15-14.30, Lomond Auditorium 

ONZ people: Dr Steve Smith 

Description: This joint UNFCCC and UNEP side event features key findings of the Emissions Gap Report 2021 and a high-level panel debate on opportunities for enhancing ambition and accelerating action, the imperative of aligning NDCs for 2030 with net-zero emissions by mid-century, the role of markets, and more. [ONZ Executive Director Steve Smith is a co-lead author of Chapter 3 of the Report, focussed on net-zero targets.] Watch a recording of the event here.

Challenges and opportunities in achieving climate neutrality: from knowledge to systemic change

Wednesday 10th November, 14.30-15.30, EU Pavilion, Blue Zone  

ONZ people: Kaya Axelsson

Description: An official COP26 side event at the EU Pavillion organised by JPI Climate in collaboration with the Inner Green Deal Initiative. In first half of this 60 minutes event will be broadcasted form a Brussels studio, the Chair of JPI Climate Frank McGovern will moderate a panel discussion with Oxford Net Zero on pathways to Climate Neutrality. Kaya Axelsson will present on the sensitive intervention points outlined by the Climate Neutrality Forum.


Climate Neutrality Knowledge Hub

Thursday 11th November, 7.30-8.30pm, Shared Pavilion, Blue Zone

ONZ people: Kaya Axelsson

Description: JPI Climate will host an evening side event at the COP 26 Shared Pavillion. It will be occasion to celebrate the 10 years of JPI Climate and launch the Climate Neutrality Knowledge Hub in the presence of the Irish Climate Minister. Kaya Axelsson will present on the sensitive intervention points outlined by the Climate Neutrality Forum.