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COP26 most talked about climate change conference ever

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Data shows, online mentions more than double previous total for COP25. Boris Johnson dominates conversation - with over 20 times more COP26-related mentions than Greta Thunberg.

The upcoming COP26 event in Glasgow is already the most talked-about climate conference ever - and it hasn’t even started yet. 

As world leaders prepare to descend on Scotland for the event’s October 31st kick-off, a new study of more than 5.2 million online data points, conducted using Brandwatch and commissioned by global renewable energy company BayWa r.e., found online mentions of COP26 are more than double the previous total for COP25.

The data reflects a growing climate consciousness and sense of urgency around the climate crisis: according to the biggest ever opinion poll on climate change, conducted by the UN and published earlier this year, 64% of people believe climate change is a ‘global emergency’. COP26 is viewed as a ‘last best hope’ for leaders to tackle this emergency and prevent catastrophic global climate change.

The research was the result of an analysis of four years of trend data across social media, news and blogging platforms, including Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and Google. 

Other findings from the research include:

  • The UK has topped the table as the country talking most about COP26 with over 640K mentions - more than three times the mentions of the next nation on the list, the United States of America; and whilst conversations have increased year on year globally, the highest percentage increase has been from the UK
  • Executives continue to be the largest spokespeople for the conference as the profession discussing COP26 most online, followed by teachers and lecturers
  • Pressure is on world leaders to make a stand, with Boris Johnson’s name featuring heavily, with close to 400,000 online mentions linked to COP26; this is over 20 times more mentions than Greta Thunberg in relation to COP26, at just over 15,000
  • US presidents have created a lot of conversation in the past; however, this year US President Joe Biden, and former US President Donald Trump, were only mentioned 105,000 times
  • Mentions in the tones of disgust and fear around climate change are three times higher during COP26 discussions compared to COP25

Matthias Taft, CEO of BayWa r.e. comments:

“This increased sense of urgency and heightened climate awareness is encouraging to see, though desperately needed. And though some are more vocal online about climate change than others, it’s great to see climate conversations taking place across the board.

“However, it’s crucial that words become action after world leaders leave Glasgow. We must make sure governments, businesses and we as individuals carry through our climate commitments and make the changes the world desperately needs.

“An attitude shift is central to this: we need to stop seeing climate action and sustainable choices as long-term goals that could restrict our previous freedoms, but rather as urgent changes that create positive impact for our society and economy. This is a no-regrets opportunity for a secure and sustainable future for our planet.”

For a more detailed overview of this research, see our infographic.

*Data is drawn, using Brandwatch, from English language online conversations, globally.

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Mark Cooper
Corporate Communications
BayWa r.e. AG
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