COP26 - was it enough?

COP26 - was it enough?

Today's the last day of COP26.

There were three key outcomes we wanted to see:

  • A set of national policies from all countries to keep 1.5C within reach.
  • Leadership from the UK government, demonstrating the right approach at home.
  • Financial investment. Agreement that nations will invest in high quality nature-based solutions to the climate crisis.

Here's what we think of the outcomes so far.

Inspiring words

COP26 infographic

The conference had an emotional beginning, served up by Wildlife Trust Ambassador, Sir David Attenborough.

If you've not seen it yet - now's the time. If there is anything that says so well why we need action, it is this speech.  Grab a brew and take it all in,

There were other exceptional, emotive moments including from climate and environment activist Elizabeth Wathuti, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley and many others who all want to see positive action.

Politicians had a lot to say as well. According to PM Boris Johnson we are at “one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now,” though this did not prevent him and other leaders using private jets to travel to and from the Glasgow Conference.

Because words are not enough…

What real outcomes have followed these words?

There have been significant pledges including:

  • More than 100 world leaders have promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.
  • 105 countries have signed up to the Global Methane Pledge to cut their methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
  • The Indian prime minister made the pledge to meet net-zero emissions by 2070. As the third largest polluter, India would aim to get half its energy from renewables by 2030.  A study by the University of Melbourne suggests that India’s pledge, if met, could see temperatures rise by less than 2c. bringing the world closer to the 1.5c goal.
  • The EU, and 41 countries – including China, India and the USA - have announced an initiative to make green technologies more affordable and accessible.
But it is down to all of us to keep the pressure up to make sure these and other promises are kept.
Extreme heat graphic COP 26

As we write this, on the last day, things are still moving fast - the draft COP26 agreement has been drawn up and is now awaiting agreement by all countries. It calls on countries to accelerate the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels. According to reports current plans would still see a 2.4°C rise rather than the 1.5°C needed. Until this document is agreed by all countries, none of the pledges are set in stone.

What have we been doing during COP26?

For years we've been championing the natural solutions to the climate crisis. At COP26 the Wildlife Trusts raised these solutions over and over - the climate and nature crisis are linked. One cannot be solved without the other.

Craig Bennent the CEO of The Wildlife Trusts was at the heart of the discussions in Glasgow. We were part of a fantastic panel of climate and nature experts and activists, discussing how we can bring back nature and tackle the climate crisis now - before it’s too late.

Every day we campaigned, thousands of people across the UK took their own small actions for nature, we marched on the Global Day of Action. We discussed with you daily about the outcomes of that day's sessions and what it really means for nature and the climate crisis - not just the headline grabbing moments.

If you missed any of it you can watch our webinar at COP26 now Wild LIVE: Let Nature Help – YouTube

What have we been doing here in Derbyshire?

In the run up to and during COP26, over 10,000 local wildlife supporters like you have been taking action. This has included planting wildflowers, walking to raise funds and awareness, sending in natural flood management surveys, donating to buy meadowland in Cromford and contacting county councillors to push for a strong local plan for nature.

And your actions have really worked. Here are just some of the success stories.

Last Saturday the BBC spent all day at our Willington Wetlands reserve, broadcasting hourly on the benefits of nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, including our beavers.

Just yesterday the decision was approved by Derby City Council for the trust to deliver UK's largest urban rewilding project at Allestree Park. This will see habitats such as woodlands, grasslands, wetland, scrubland, and community orchards developed at the 320-acre site, creating an incredible, accessible natural space for residents to enjoy.

The leader of Derbyshire County Council has tabled a Nature Recovery Motion, developed by the trust and promoted by the hundreds of you that have contacted their local councillor. The motion includes a detailed delivery plan. The vote is on the 1st December and you can still contact your councillor now to ask them to back the motion.

What happens next?

COP26 last just two weeks but the climate and nature crisis are not going away.

Although some positive decisions are being made at the conference, there’s still a long way to go.

More people than ever are aware of the need for strong action now. Together we will keep up the pressure on our government to step up and tackle the crisis, and here at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust we are committed to leading the way by protecting our local environment.

If you want more people to join this movement for change, why not post the link below to encourage others to hear more and join us at this crucial time.

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