COP26 is upon us – just a few days now until the most important climate summit in history takes place in Glasgow. The world’s most powerful countries, leaders, businesses and NGOs are coming together to decide how to save our planet and stop the climate crisis; it doesn’t get bigger than that!
Of course, many of us will be expecting and hoping for all sorts of things out of this summit. Some will be hoping for better investment in the green economy and infrastructure, some in new technology, and others will want to see more support for developing nations to help them adapt to the crisis.
We want to see all of these things as soon as possible, but for now, we’ve laid out our ‘wish list’ of the top five outcomes we’re hoping for. Over the next two weeks (1-14th November), we’ll be keeping a close eye on whether these things happen.
1. A monumental shift in the sense of urgency from governments, businesses and consumers
Firstly, the whole thing needs to be taken much more seriously, by everyone. We are still seeing governments and businesses across the world pretending that the climate crisis is something we’re already solving and it’s just a matter of time until we fix it. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
As we have just seen from the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the situation is worsening, and all our pledges, commitments and action so far don’t go far enough. We’re still on course for 2.7C warming. Here’s what that would mean:
THIS is exactly why Greta Thunberg is so passionate when she gets on stage at these conferences. We can’t afford to not put the climate crisis at the top of the agenda now. It’s make or break time and we want to see the world respond to this off the back of COP26 and select climate action as our top priority. A new sense of collective urgency will go a long way in driving and encouraging wider action; we hope to see that as a key outcome from this summit.
2. More detail and transparency on net-zero transition plans
Almost all countries in attendance will have made net-zero transition commitments, even the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is great to see and much-needed, but the devil is in the detail with these commitments. The problem at the moment is the lack of clarity on how these transitions will be achieved.
Commitments are just the first step on the journey; we need to see the clear plan, the details, the fine print. One big hope for COP26 is that we will actually get to see what these plans look like and can therefore assess their viability. Then, and only then, we will be able to make an accurate judgement for the path we’re on; let’s hope that path will be headed well below 2.0C warming (preferably 1.5).
3. More collaboration from businesses
As you may have seen at our recent Bridging The Gap event, we are strong believers in the power of collaboration. We need to see more businesses put differences and competitiveness aside and see how we can work together to tackle the crisis. Whether that’s building a working circular economy, sharing knowledge and expertise or even physical help with transitioning towards low carbon businesses models, help is needed, and it won’t all come from governments.
Thousands of businesses from across the world will be at COP26; this in itself is an incredible opportunity. We hope to see a new wave of organisations come away from Glasgow carrying a powerful spirit for collaboration to fix the climate crisis.
Let’s see if that happens!
4. A collective realisation of the potential of technology to help combat the crisis
Our latest research assessing how to bridge the ‘intention-action gap’ examines British attitudes towards technology. The good news is Brits are up for it! So why aren’t we using it?
Over 50% of consumers now expect businesses to make innovations using technology that facilitates sustainable behaviour, and well over half (55%) of Brits say technology is one of the best tools we have to help us make more sustainable decisions.
And most of us (53%) now claim we have used or would consider using an app to improve our behaviour (to make it more sustainable), and this is even higher among 18 to 24yr olds, where two thirds (66%) say they have used or would consider using an app. Let’s make this happen!
All sorts of solutions to the climate crisis will be discussed at COP26; we’re hoping that intuitive technology that helps people make smarter, greener decisions gets the attention it deserves. We’ll be watching closely to see how often/when this is mentioned at the debates and panel sessions.
5. A new commitment that either strengthens The Paris Agreement or a new one that goes further
At the end of the conference, some form of declaration is expected. Every country will be required to sign up; the declaration will likely include specific commitments on transitioning towards a green economy. This declaration HAS to be stronger or go further than the Paris Agreement of 2015, or at least mandate that countries involved give more clarity on the detail of their plans.
The agreement of 2015 was/is excellent in many ways, and was ground-breaking at the time, but as we’ve seen in recent reports, we’re still way off target. We need to act faster, with more urgency and require, legally, that governments and big polluters show us the details on how they are committed to keeping warming below 1.5C.
So there you have it! That’s our COP26 wish list, full of hope and expectation for a successful summit with tangible outcomes and strong commitments. What do you think? Agree/disagree? Anything we’ve missed? Let us know and shout us a holla!
And if you would like to discover more about our ‘Bridging the Gap’ research, the full report is available here:
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