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Road to COP26

In early November 2021, Glasgow hosted the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) with the aim of accelerating global action towards the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and governments around the world have highlighted the vital role of subsurface technologies and resources, such as carbon capture and storage, geothermal energy, energy storage in underground caverns to support future hydrogen economies, and compressed-air energy storage, for meeting net-zero targets. Demand for metals and materials to support the production of, for example, renewable technologies, batteries and electric vehicles, is also projected to increase substantially in the coming decades.

We are working with the geoscience community, as well as decision makers and stakeholders outside the geosciences to understand and raise awareness of the various ways that geoscience will underpin the global decarbonisation goals.

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The Geological Society's statement on COP26

As observers at COP26, the Geological Society welcomes the agreement reached to keep the 1.5 degrees centigrade target within reach through reductions in fossil fuel use, and the commitment to increase finance for climate mitigation and adaptation.

Meeting the emissions reductions pledged will require bold thinking and rapid transformation of the energy sector. Earth scientists and practitioners will be at the heart of this innovation, from securing offshore wind farms to discovering the critical mineral resources needed to deliver new battery technology and implementing the geological storage of carbon required to abate CO2 emissions in industry and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  

The Society also welcomes the renewed focus on climate adaptation and resilience. Even limited warming poses a substantial threat to humans and infrastructure. Earth scientists are key to developing solutions to protect people and the environment from changing climate extremes and rising sea level.

The Society therefore urges governments and industry to invest in Earth science education and research and in the continued development of professionals to meet the challenges posed by ongoing climate change and the need to rapidly reduce carbon emissions. As a Society, we will continue to support our community, and their work to achieve the ambitions of the Glasgow Climate Pact, through our science programmes, professional development, education, and outreach.   

Catch up on the latest news from COP26

click here to read the latest news from COP26 button

Watch our online event ‘Hydrogen: a silver bullet or a red herring?

This event, co-organised by the University of Glasgow, the European Federation of Geologists, and The Geological Society, brought together expertise from industry and academia with the general public to discuss the role that hydrogen may have in reaching net zero targets.

Geoscience and the Paris Agreement

Visit our YouTube channel to watch our series of videos on the COP26 Presidency Themes.

Policy briefings and statements

As the national forum for the debate and development of cutting edge Earth science, the Geological Society has a special responsibility to communicate this science and its importance to society, the Government, the media, other scientific communities and the general public.

Our Policy Team engages with Parliament, Government, industry and academia to fulfil this purpose. Meet the team, find out how you can get in touch, and see some of our recent work here.

   Meeting the Paris Agreement: the critical role of Earth science
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 The role of Geoscience in Decarbonisation
 front cover of geoscience and the hydrogen economy policy briefing
 Geoscience and the hydrogen economy
 front cover of sdg briefing note

Geology and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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 Geology for Society

If you'd like to be the first to hear about when relevant consultations and inquiries open for comment, join our policy database today!

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What we know about future climate from the paleo record

The geological record captures multiple episodes of climate change. Dan Lunt and colleagues report on the use of past climate-change reconstructions and modelling to better understand the dynamics of the climate system and the range of possible impacts under current warming.

Climate change in the geological record - GEOSCIENTIST

Read our Climate change statement to find out about the evidence of the ways in which Earth’s climate has changed in the past, and how that evidence is relevant to how it may change in the future.


The Geological Society's Publishing House offers many opportunities in the energy geoscience space, relating to the energy transition and a zero-carbon society.

  • Launched in 2021, our new open access journal, Earth Science, Systems and Society has a broad geoscience scope, with a focus on interfacing cross-disciplinary work on geoscience and a sustainable society. The journal currently has two open special issues with a focus on the energy transition, 'Earth Science and the race to Net Zero` and 'Sustainability in the Extractive Industries`. We welcome submissions. For further information, please visit
  • Our journal Petroleum Geoscience has an on-going collection 'The Energy Geoscience Series` that provides a channel for non-petroleum related aspects of geoenergy and applied earth science. Read the series here.
  • Our Special Publication flagship series has accepted two exciting proposals - 'The Green Stone Age - Exploration and exploitation of minerals for green technologies` and 'Enabling Secure Subsurface Storage in Future Energy Systems`. Both volumes will accept submissions throughout 2022, The Geological Society's Year of Sustainability. For further information or to get involved, please contact David Boyt (Head of Editorial Development) at
view a collection of related content from the Society's journals and books

Educational resources and activities

energy storage infographic   See our series of infographics, demonstrating ways in which geoscience can support decarbonisation.
 carbon cycle poster
 Take a look at our Year of Carbon 2019 infographics and posters.
 Energy factsheets  View our energy resources factsheets

Programme of events

The Geosciences will play a pivotal role in the sourcing of essential raw materials, the development of circular economies, in subsurface storage and capture solutions, and in geothermal energy production, and Geoscientists are therefore uniquely placed to support policy makers, stakeholders, and industry, in the Energy Transition. Our Energy Transition theme champions this, to help drive future research, and support communication between academia, business, government, and public communities, and inspire a new generation of geoscientists.

Other events of interest include:

Virtual GSL Public Lecture: Geology in the IPPC

cop26 Glasgow 1-12 November

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carbon cycle poster
carbon cycle poster
carbon cycle poster
carbon cycle poster