In October, we wrote an article about COP26 which was an environmental world conference held in Glasgow, at the beginning of November. The idea was to set out a decisive plan to actively lower global warming as opposed to agreeing that this should be done, adapt to climate change impacts and put aside money to deliver them. The experts said that this is the moment that humanity would be judged by, if there wasn’t a practical move to deliver on what has been promised from all the countries then it will be too late and generations to come will be living with the consequences.
The main aims of COP26 include:
- Securing global net zero by 2050 keeping 1.5 degrees within reach by reducing deforestation, accelerating the switch to electronic vehicles and renewable energy and phase-out the use of coal
- Adaptations initiated to protect communities and natural habitats through the restoration of ecosystems and building resilient infrastructure for agriculture
- Mobilising a minimum of $100bn to be spent on combating climate change per year by 2020
- Collaboration between the countries to accelerate actions to tackle climate change
We asked our students to write to their MP’s using the WWF ‘Tell Our Leaders Now’ campaign. We had a brilliant response with over 90 students writing to their MP’s with a variety of reasons as to why we should all be acting now, more importantly the MP’s were asked to act and make sure these promises were kept. Thank you to all who wrote to their MP being it your local one or Steve Baker.
While there were genuine signs of progress at COP26, with real breakthroughs on some key climate promises (and plenty of new promises made), the overall outcome was disappointing. Despite the grand statements, it’s clear our leaders still aren’t acting with the urgency or the ambition needed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
The difference between a planet that is 1.5°C warmer, and a planet that is 2°C warmer, is huge.
From losing all the world’s coral reefs, to putting 1.3 billion additional people at risk from extreme heat: we must keep the planet as cool as possible, to keep it as safe as possible. The big job at COP26 was for world leaders to ‘keep 1.5°C within reach’ – meaning their actions left hope that we could still limit temperature rise to this target. Analysis of national targets for 2030 shows that the world is on track for a disastrous 2.4°C of warming. But there is some hope. The ‘Glasgow Climate Pact’ agreed at COP26 calls on countries to come back in the next year with stronger pledges and plans for action. This means the opportunity to limit warming to the much safer target of 1.5°C is still alive, but only just.
From trees to oceans, nature absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and helps us tackle the dangerous rise in temperature. Put simply, we can’t tackle the climate crisis without protecting and restoring nature. A key announcement at COP saw over 100 leaders, including Brazil, China and Indonesia, make a commitment to reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. These Countries represent over 85% of the worlds forest.
We saw another big breakthrough on a key UK climate promise, with the announcement of new rules to make it mandatory for big UK firms to show plans on how they will hit their climate targets. The impact of this is global. When these rules are introduced any company, anywhere in the world, that wants to attract investment from the UK finance sector will have to show how it is contributing towards achieving the net zero transition. This will help to drive positive climate investments that are good for the environment, wildlife and us.
We know the climate crisis can feel scary and overwhelming. But we really have made progress, however much there is still to do.
Thousands marched in Glasgow and around the world; there was powerful speeches from Indigenous leaders; and activists and young people made sure their voices were heard. Writing to your MP was a part of this action.
Together, we can keep the pressure on our leaders to slash fossil fuels and put nature at the heart of climate action. If we do these things, we can create a better future for everyone. We’re all in this together.
For more information about green initiatives at BNU, check out our sustainability and Fairtrade section.