The COP26 Summit is underway in Glasgow, with the need for world leaders and delegates to agree action even more important than ever. There have been plenty of warnings from scientists this year about the global impact that climate change is having, emphasising the need to reach net zero on our carbon emissions by the middle of the century.
At my recent Halesowen & Rowley Regis COP26 Roundtable, I brought together local environmentalists, including representatives from some of the Friends Groups for our local parks, to hear about their aspirations for the Summit. Given the importance of the issue for the future of our planet, I was also joined by five students from local schools and colleges, and I was really struck by how passionate they were on this issue and how they have already been thinking about the long-term adaptions that may be required for sustainable living.
The UK’s Presidency of the Summit provided us with a real opportunity to show global leadership, and throughout the year my colleague Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, has been travelling around the world to drum up support, whilst the Prime Minister did the same when he hosted G7 leaders in Cornwall in the summer.
Six years ago in Paris, world leaders agreed to limit the global rise in temperatures to below two degrees, with efforts to limit it even further to 1.5 degrees. My hope for this year is that now the urgency has been recognised, COP26 will find ways to deliver on the Paris Agreement, with investment in renewables, building resilient infrastructure and mobilising the finance required to support developing nations.
It is only by working collaboratively with our allies across the world that we will see clear action, and ensure we leave behind a healthy planet for future generations.
This article first appeared in the Halesowen & Dudley News on 4th November 2021.