Last year we were counting down to COP26 which was being held at Glasgow with the United Kingdom as host. I posed the following questions:-
Are the nations, the leaders, the civil servants, the interested parties, ready? Are they equipped with ideas and proposals? Are they ready to negotiate and encourage and take bold steps to reach an agreement that will see carbon emissions reduced to net zero by 2050? Will they be sufficiently pragmatic to be generous in funding support to enable poorer countries to be part of the movement to net zero? Will they be clear sighted, seeing the bigger global issues rather than being blinkered or distracted by individual agendas? Are they going to be supported by overwhelming popular support for those policies and actions that safeguard our shared future?
The outcome was perhaps better than might have been feared, but certainly not as proactive as it might have been. One of the outcomes was that, in recognition of the severity of the crisis we face, all parties should meet again a year later to review progress and restate targets to keep the process of net zero on track. Thus it is that in 100 days from now, on 6th November, all the parties will be convening in Sharm El-Sheikh for COP27. This time the hosts will be Egypt.
Last year I also posed some questions for ourselves and I propose to repeat/ review these this year.
Can we be part of that popular support? Can we also take action regarding our own lifestyle to contribute to the net zero emissions target? Are there 100 actions we can take between now and the Conference?
Action 1: Write to your MP and let them know why you think this Conference is important and why you hope it will be a turning point in addressing the global climate crisis.
NB What does ‘net zero’ mean?
Net zero refers to achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. There are two different routes to achieving net zero, which work in tandem: reducing existing emissions and actively removing greenhouse gases.
A gross-zero target would mean reducing all emissions to zero. This is not realistic, so instead the net-zero target recognises that there will be some emissions but that these need to be fully offset, predominantly through natural carbon sinks such as oceans and forests. (In the future, it may be possible to use artificial carbon sinks to increase carbon removal, research into these technologies is ongoing.)
When the amount of carbon emissions produced are cancelled out by the amount removed, the UK will be a net-zero emitter. The lower the emissions, the easier this becomes.