The Podcast: A COP26 crash course with WRI’s Helen Mountford

The Podcast

The Podcast: A COP26 crash course with WRI’s Helen Mountford

Share on

The 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference — a.k.a. COP26 — is coming up, and it’s a big deal. Countries have the chance to renegotiate and revise their commitments five years after the Paris Agreement. Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics at WRI, explains what COP26 is and what to expect. Plus: Jared discusses how the uncertain link between climate change and winter cold reveals biases on both sides of the issue. (News brief at minute 0:48. Interview at 2:20. Commentary at 22:30.)

In this episode…

  • Jared’s usual news brief looks back at an extremely cold February that, while it was icing-over Texas, also put the freeze on Europe.
  • Next, WRI’s Helen Mountford explains what COP26 is, why this year is so important, and what to expect. She is very optimistic, mentioning a new wave of expanded goals and net-zero commitments, even from the likes of China. However, more resources need to be channeled to developing economies to help them carry out their own energy transitions and weather the effects of climate change.
  • Finally, Jared discusses how a tendency to ascribe the blame for the latest winter weather crisis (on climate change, for environmentalists, and on fragile green energy infrastructure, for fossil fuel supporters) illustrates the danger of unrecognized vested interest and confirmation bias on all sides of the debate.


Written by

Jared Downing

Jared Downing is managing editor of Climate & Capital Media. Before Climate&Capital, he spent five years in Yangon, Myanmar, producing the human rights podcast Doh Athan and producing features, columns, and cartoons for Frontier Myanmar, that country's leading English language magazine. Prior to that, he was a freelance writer in Birmingham Alabama, focusing on city culture and social justice.