Posted on 22nd December 2021 at 09:07
It was suggested I brief the Chamber on COP26 in Glasgow, as I spent two weeks there in early November. I was not part of the negotiations, which happens in the blue zone, but I was there with several hats on, as a local councillor looking at how we could inject climate finance into our borough and to better understand the issues we are facing globally, as a trustee of a Rewilding charity, and to run an event for Make It Your Business, an entrepreneurial charity for women.
I spoke to, and heard from many people – members of the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group, COP High Level Climate Champions, MPs, those fighting for Climate Justice, architects, professors, and activists.
The event I chaired was held in the Glasgow library and online, with a really dynamic conversation between four remarkable women who are at the forefront of sustainability.
Jo Hand of Giki Zero , Jan Stannard of Heal Rewilding, Zarina Ahmed a climate change and environment officer, and advocate for climate , and Yewande Akinola MBE, a chartered engineer, designer and innovator. She is an ambassador for clean growth and infrastructure., and represents Innovate UK.
(Photo: Jan Stannard, Jo Hand, Zarina Ahmed, Donna Stimson)
Jan Stannard and I had rented a small apartment in St Vincents street, and the peaceful marches with young and old, and fabulous drums came passed almost daily. It was peaceful and civilised, but it felt somber, with acknowledgement now that 1.5 degrees is now in “intensive care”. The problem with COP is there is very little accountability. So countries are not obliged to come to the table, they are just requested. As you could see from the despair on the face of COP President Alok Sharma when the text re coal was changed at the last minute, some countries are not willing to participate fully.
COP aims to achieve four main goals.
- to reaffirm the net zero by 2050 target
- Keep 1.5 degree warming alive
- To protect communities, natural habitats in adapting to climate change
- To mobilise the finance for the developing countries
Whilst we are not there yet, I believe remarkable progress was made at COP26. New agreements with coal, methane and deforestation, and the GFANZ, and clean energy. Thanks to Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough, the persistence of the High Level Champions and Alok Sharma, a global movement has been created, and climate justice is better recognised.
For those of you who are interested in the detail, here is a snippet of it:
Coal - more than 40 countries agreeing to end their involvement in coal, at home and abroad
Deforestation – more than one hundred countries set to stop and reverse by 2030 (different from the first one where we didn’t succeed is in 2014 in that 85% of the major countries with forests are behind it and there is money behind it - $19 billion)
Methane agreement - more than 90 countries agreeing to reduce by 30% by 2030 (this is important as methane has a much stronger affect on global warming but also breaks down more quickly in the atmosphere so we can get a real quick win – drawing down the temperature, as compared to carbon dioxide, which can be in the atmosphere for decades, even hundreds of years)
Global Energy alliance - people and the planet – committing $10bn to ensuring that green energy becomes an affordable and accessible to all, not just the richer countries
GFANZ (the Glasgow Finance alliance) $130 trillion being lined up – of private funding, and insurers, being lined up from 45 countries. That’s 45% of all the capital in the world today. It’s an example of how the momentum is growing. This is not just empty words and promises – the Bank of America, for example, will be going to all of their clients, and demanding a plan, for how they will get to net zero by 2050, with a science based target, and how they will meet interim targets along the way. This will really put the pressure on business
COP leaders are meeting again next year to review progress.
With students, a teacher and supporters from the Royal Borough at the Extreme Hangout
With Phoebe Ibison, a student who is passionate about sustainability and lives in the borough, who attended a day of Climate Action at the Sustainable Innovation Forum with me at Glasgow.
Councillor Donna Stimson
St Mary’s Ward
Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1RF
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