HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE COP 26 CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE?
There has been much scepticism about the outcomes COP 26 Climate Change Conference. Firstly, because senior politicians from both China and Russia failed to attend. Secondly because the new commitments did not seem to adequately recognise the immediate crisis the world is facing and the accelerating nature of global warming. Thirdly, it was clear that smaller and developing nations felt the need to express their concerns loudly as they were concerned about being marginalised by the needs of the established economically successful countries.
What has changed is that many of the young people of the world are realising they won’t have a future, if it is left to the governments and corporates, who put stability and / or profit before life. Mostly, people across the world in general are doing their bit with the resources they have but what are businesses and governments doing? It’s for us in the developed world with our higher standards of living, to show genuine leadership. We, in effect have had our industrial revolution and perhaps are in a better position than many nations to take very strong action now. This isn’t just about recycling or car use but thinking longer term about everything we do, build, create, even eat, and the impacts it may have on our planet, including the human and animal impact.
The UN adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals building on decades of work by countries and the UN in 1992, at the Earth Summit where more than 178 countries adopted Agenda 21, a plan of action to build a Global Partnership for sustainable development to improve human lives and protect the environment (source: https://sdgs.un.org) The Goal of COP 26 was to reach a Global agreement to secure global net zero by mid-century and keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach; adapt to protect communities and natural habitats; mobilise finance; and. work together to deliver. However, it is common knowledge some countries produce more carbon emissions than others. Their responsibilities are therefore greater and that must include the UK In the world of real estate and property investment how can systems be put in place to ensure that future projects ensure that they address the need for environmental sustainability? Businesses don’t want to be unduly competitively disadvantaged for doing the right thing. Therefore, there is need to look to the public sector to take active and legislative leadership. However, other key players such as financiers should be pro-active on only lending to schemes that meet environmental objectives. Simply allowing for carbon offsetting is a cop out – we need to act where it is needed. Advisors and consultants have an ethical responsibility to be advising their clients.
Additionally, the property world is and will be changing. Investing in a scheme with poor environmental credentials may not be a good medium- or long-term investment. In the same way buying a new petrol or diesel car in 2030 may represent a poor outlay of your hard earned income.
At Whatifgroup… we also believe that it is better in many cases to reuse existing assets. Repurposing former retail units in town centres for health, educational and other public sector uses is surely better than promoting new build, often on green field sites? It can also help generate footfall and create vibrancy.
The representatives that did attend, all gave speeches as to reasons why the agreement to secure a Global agreement was paramount, this went to the wire on the last day, which is a concern however, what came out of it were agreements on methane, deforestation, phasing out coal in South Africa and ending fossil fuel funding overseas. Subtle word changes in respect of coal – instead of “phasing out” it changed to “phasing down” It begs the question of their own personal agendas versus the Global agenda. (Source: https://www.thejournal.ie/glasgow-climate-pact-reaction-cop26-5601371-Nov2021/) There seemed at times a lack of genuine statesmanship that was about showing leadership and willingness to put the global interest before parochial politics.
A lot of experts still have major concerns that this agreement does not go far enough and there are concerns that “The outcome here reflects a COP held in the rich world & the outcome contains the priorities of the rich world.” Mohamed Adow, director of energy and climate think tank PowerShift Africa. (Read Source: https://www.thejournal.ie/glasgow-climate-pact-reaction-cop26-5601371-Nov2021)
Only time will tell but for the youth of the world and our planet do we have the time?
COP26 Image courtesy https://assets.unenvironment.org/ganadapt/2020-07/COP26_logo_landscape_blue_RGB-small.png?null