What is COP26 and why does it matter?
Climate change has been at the forefront of current events this year. From wildfires in Athens, to extreme heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, it has become unquestionable that climate change has become a very harsh reality for so many of us. International cooperation is needed to slow down earth’s gradual warming. This is why it’s so poignant that COP26, one of the world’s most integral climate change conferences, is just around the corner.
COP26, otherwise known as Conference of the Parties, is approaching this coming November 2021. COP26 is the official UN Climate Change Conference where foreign dignitaries from all over the world band together to address the climate crisis and determine the steps state and non-state actors need to take to slow down anthropogenic climate change.
What makes this year’s COP so important is that this is when nations are due to finalise their action plans in accordance with the Paris Agreement. A key theme throughout the negotiations this year include helping people, economies, and the environment adapt and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
In this blog, we give context on COP26, identify its significance in the fight against climate change, and list out actions one can take to slow down climate change.
Where is COP26 this year?
COP26 will be held in Glasgow, Scotland this year, and for the very first time in the UK. COP26 was originally scheduled to take place last year in 2020, but due to the pandemic, the international conference was postponed.
Over 30,000 delegates are expected to attend the more formal events (to take place in the “blue zone”) where campaigners, policy makers, and world leaders alike discuss how to progress globally on climate change issues.
Hundreds of thousands of individuals are expected to attend community events hosted by the UK (in the “green zone”) where community members and NGOs are able to engage with one another along with the general public on aspects of environmental awareness and stewardship.
How Neo is Racing to Zero by 2030
“Race To Zero” is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
The campaign aims to galvanise varied actors to build momentum surrounding the shift to a decarbonised economy ahead of COP26, where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. This will send governments a resounding signal that business, cities, regions and investors are united in meeting the Paris goals and creating a more inclusive and resilient economy.
This movement aims to mobilise a large coalition of net zero initiatives. Representation includes over 700 cities, 31 regions, over 3,000 businesses, investors, and high education instutitions. Collectively, these “real economy actors” are joining the 120 UN member states in the world’s largest alliance dedicated to achieving net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050–– at the very latest. Collectively these actors now cover nearly 25% global CO2 emissions and over 50% of the world’s GDP (gross domestic product). Essentially, their participation is crucial in the movement’s success.
At Neo, we understand the urgency to dramatically change how we operate day to day. We have recently joined the B Corp Climate Collective who are official partners to the UNFCC (United Nations Framework for Climate Change), and through joining B Corp, we are participants in the “Race to Zero” campaign.
We’ve embedded in our company bylaws that our organisation must have a net positive material impact on the environment and society at large. We are making incremental changes to the way we operate to minimise our carbon footprint as much as possible.
How one can minimise their carbon footprint
There is work to do and improvements to be made. Collective action can go a long way, especially if communities and organisations persist that change is made.
Reaching zero carbon emissions by 2030 may seem like a difficult task, but by making small adjustments to daily life, zero emissions is achievable. Below are a few ways one can reduce their own carbon footprint in their day to day lives.
- Try to eat sustainably – For example, focusing on seasonal produce and limiting meat consumption is one way to reduce one’s carbon emissions. As a general note, eating lower on the food chain lessens a person’s overall carbon footprint. Cut down on transport emissions: Transport accounts for around one-fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions, so it is important to minimise the impact our regular commutes have. We recommend travelling by bike, on foot or by public transport instead of driving by car where possible
- Cut down on transport emissions – Transport accounts for around one-fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions, so it is important to minimise the impact our regular commutes have. We recommend travelling by bike, on foot or by public transport instead of driving by car where possible.
- Opt for products and services who prioritise sustainability – Keep a lookout for companies who make sustainability a core part of their business. More often than not, these companies will most likely have worked to reduce their organisation’s carbon footprints, and therefore making the buyer’s smaller, too.
COP26 is an important opportunity for the UK and for Scotland, to demonstrate what they are doing to reduce carbon emissions and shift towards a decarbonised society. At Neo, we are very proud to be a part of the “Race to Zero” campaign that started from COP26.