This post is also available in: العربية

Ahead of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference which is being held in Glasgow, Scotland in November, key players across the book and journals sector united in calling for action on climate to be prioritized.

The organisations involved include includes the International Publishers Association (IPA), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the Green Book Alliance.

This year’s Climate Change Conference is more widely known as COP 26, the initials standing for Conference of the Parties, with the parties in question being the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994. The treaty marked the start of a concerted international effort to combat global warming

In a release sent out by the IPA, the body says: ‘As we have seen with the pandemic, books are an essential tool that will enable the world to understand and respond to climate change. All forms of the written word have the power to inform, inspire and shape a sustainable culture. As such, we are encouraging the production of and access to works that can support research into the climate crisis, as well as motivate the behaviour changes needed to tackle it. We have already seen progress through collaborations such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Children’s Book Club and other initiatives showcasing climate-related books and resources.’

The signatories have agreed to be part of a series of conversations on climate convened by the IPA. The first will take place in October’s Frankfurt Book Fair, followed by virtual sessions, with the aim to release the agreed conclusions and actions ahead of COP 26.

The focus of the book sector on climate has been welcomed by the United Nations with Sherri Aldis, Chief of UN Publications saying, “We welcome this initiative in support of SDG13: Climate Action. Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we will be unable to limit global heating to 1.5 °C. The SDG Book Club encourages young readers to take action towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including combatting climate change, while the SDG Publishers Compact has brought together the publishing industry to make its practices more sustainable. The series of conversations on climate will help gather momentum for action ahead of COP26 and we are excited to contribute to the sessions.”

Among the signatories, Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association said: “We are facing today’s biggest challenge to our society: climate change. Like so many other times in history, society needs the tools to enable us all to have a broader perspective and to inspire everyone to really change our day to day lives to become more sustainable. COP 26 is the starting point where publishers alongside the rest of the book chain are united in becoming a force for good and put sustainability and climate change on the top of our priorities”.

Authors Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough will both attending the conference, as will the Pope and the UK’s Queen.