It was down to the wire, but after two weeks of negotiation on 13th November 2021, the 197 countries of COP26 officially reached agreement.
Amongst the many commitments, including multi-lateral agreements on deforestation, methane and climate finance, the 197 pledged to ‘phase down’ coal and set a roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. A significant feat to celebrate that will move us closer towards zero-carbon living and will improve the lives of millions of local communities.
However, whilst the Glasgow Climate Pact has been welcomed in large, some aren’t happy with the final wording. Worse still, many have commented that even if the current commitments are fulfilled, global warming will only be limited to 2.4 degrees above pre-industrial levels. It seems on this occasion, the can (no doubt of Iron-Bru) is again being kicked down the road, but at least it’s still going in the right direction.
As Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Young Planner of the Year, I was fortunate enough to attend COP26 in person. One quote particularly resonated with me during my time in Glasgow, “Climate change will affect us all, but it will not affect us all equally. We might all be in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat”.
A very graphic reminder that climate justice is twin tracked with social justice. Whilst we seek to improve planetary health, we must also remember those most at risk are relying on us to use our individual agency to make rapid progress towards a just transition. That sentiment is applicable regardless of whether you work in the built and natural environment or not, we all have a role to play.
Prior to COP26, I spoke at the RTPI Young Planners Conference in Edinburgh, discussing how each positive intervention we make is another turn of the wheel. But now we need to accelerate those rotations and working together we can build momentum to achieve the necessary pace.
This message complimented one of the key takeaway points from Glasgow, which demanded the need to work more collaboratively to reach zero-carbon living. This collaboration needs to be deep, radical and cross-cutting.
So let’s continue to push the boundaries of performance and let’s work together to deliver not only sustainable development, but regenerative development.
If we are to protect the millions exposed to crisis then we must act. We know the problems, we know the solutions, we know the direction of travel, we just need to accelerate the pace.
Let’s do this together while we still can. At Iceni Projects, a zero-carbon company, we’re set to play our part in delivering the Glasgow Climate Pact, are you ready to join us?