COP 26: Let’s fight for climate education for all!


This year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) brings together the 197 countries in Glasgow, from 31 October to 12 November. The COP26, aims to accelerate actions towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. ETUCE and its member organisations are organising actions around the importance of climate education and closely following the discussions and exchanges taking place at the COP26.

The climate crisis is the biggest threat to our planet and climate action, at all levels, is more urgent than ever. Education is a leverage in the fight against climate change. Teachers and other education personnel have a crucial role to play in climate action. The Teach for the Planet campaign, organised by Education International, promotes the global mobilisation for quality climate education  and aims to ensure that climate education becomes fundamental as are teaching, writing and reading.

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In the run up to the COP26, the UK has organised cooperation with every country to find approaches to best fight climate change. Education trade unions play an important role in tackling this issue. The University and College Union, UCU, who is a member of the COP26 Coalition have organised two campaigns: UCU - Decarbonise & decolonise 2030  and COP26 climate learning campaign, including different activities with the goal to mobilise members in bringing climate justice to COP26.

Let’s not forget that climate action should go hand in hand with the developments in the economy, labour market and society. ETUCE highlights, in its Resolution on the role of education trade unions in Europe in addressing education and environment for social change, that decent working conditions, health and safety at work, employment and equal opportunities are substantially challenged by environmental emergencies. There will be no jobs on a dead planet!

As the ETUCE President, Larry Flanagan echoes “Climate change is an important agenda for education trade unions for two reasons: as trade unions, with a social and moral purpose, we need to advocate progressive policies and use our influence and power for the sake of the future of the planet;  but as practitioners, as pedagogues, we know that students and children have a deep interest in this topic so we can enhance their learning by utilising this engagement in our teaching, across all areas of the curriculum – truly teaching 4 the future!”


During the COP26 event EI has launched its research on climate education. The research highlights the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for countries worldwide to prioritise climate education in order to provide a sustainable future. According to the research, when it comes to quality of climate education, governments are not listening to young climate activists and teachers. Education systems are overlooked to the extent that governments fail to pay attention to the need of strengthening education systems to face the climate crisis.

ETUCE emphasises that teachers, academics and other education personnel need to be supported in delivering education on sustainable treatment of the environment, with relevant and up-to-date teaching materials, methods and practices, as well as with initial and continuous teacher training on the topic. ETUCE is committed to advocate and lobby governments and education authorities to fully integrate education on environmental issues and sustainable development into education policies, national curricula, and key competences frameworks at European, national and local level. But also, as highlighted at the Kick-off Conference of the ETUCE project “Education for Social Change: The role of Education Trade Unions in addressing sustainable environmental development”, education trade unions need to build the capacity and awareness of their affiliates on environmental issues and the climate emergency, as well as employ environmentally friendly practices in the organisational culture of the trade unions themselves. Moreover, within this project, ETUCE conducts a survey on the impact of the climate emergency on education and trade union policies, practices and capability to support education personnel in addressing it, where member organisations are invited to fill it in until 30 November 2021.

More information:

The ETUCE Resolution “For a sustainable future of Europe: the role of education trade unions in Europe in addressing education and environment for social change (2021)”

The ETUCE project “Education for Social Change: The role of Education Trade Unions in addressing sustainable environmental development”