Comment: COP26 must be springboard for change

PICTURE ALT TEXT HEREThe COP26 climate conference is an opportunity for both political and personal changes, writes Joshua Farnsworth, Carbon Reduction Engineer at Tunley Engineering.

Climate change- a term quickly becoming ever more prominent in the makeup of everyday life. From family discussions to news headlines, the topic dominates current social spheres, and rightly so.

With politicians and bureaucrats disguising the issue through political grandeur and meek reactionary “actions on climate”, it seems fitting to address the basic premise of the climate crisis and to shed light on the importance of the power and will of the people in response to its effects.

Cop26
Glasgow’s Science Centre (Credit: Fredrika Carlsson on Unsplash)

The news recently has offered a bleak outlook of the current international situation the globe finds itself in regarding climate change, and unfortunately, it is only set to worsen. Increased instances of wildfires, flooding and massive landslides have been documented over the past few months, and year on year global temperatures have increased, with 2020 marking the hottest year on record.

The quickly deteriorating global situation requires monumental solutions and transformational changes to global structures and an even greater shift in attitudes and mobilisation from the public.

The latest IPCC report has clarified what many already knew: without swift action, the effects of climate change will worsen and pose a grave threat to humanity and life systems on Earth as we know it.

But this is not a time to despair, this is a time for action, and there is no time better than the present.

More on Net Zero

There is no denying that global environmental, climate policy has been inadequate, and goals set by politicians and business leaders alike have severely undermined the impending nature of the climate crisis. Current UK targets aim for Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, a very long way away in the rapidly accelerating and progressive nature of anthropogenic climate change. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) from nations within the Paris climate agreement may have looked good from a diplomatic perspective, but six years later and the current goals set would take the world far beyond the 1.5C of warming the IPCC has warned is the threshold of safety.​

The precedent set by world leaders and politicians has so far failed to declare the importance of adequate global climate change legislation, but we can change that. COP26 is currently taking place and is a huge opportunity to acknowledge the severity of our global struggle against climate change and do something meaningful to combat it.

Climate change is an issue that affects every single living thing on Earth, we all have a stake in fighting it and there is so much individuals can do to play their part and create change from the bottom up, holding politicians and business leaders alike to account. By taking things back to basics, back to the people, we can influence change to prevent climate and ecological breakdown.

If we are to build a new future, we must get the message out to individuals and we must do our bit. Reduce your own emissions, whether that’s eating less meat, travelling less by car and plane, transitioning to renewables – every change is important. Engage with movements that hold politicians to account and encourage them to implement the changes society needs to see. And most importantly, talk, remain active on this issue amongst circles of friends and family, work colleagues and associates alike. If we keep pressing on this issue – through COP26 and beyond –  solutions are attainable for a cleaner, greener and fairer world.