Another year another COP
Don’t get me wrong, a task force of country representatives getting together to make key decisions and set ambitions that will hopefully reduce climate change isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that it doesn’t really filter through, does it? It stood out for me when Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement, seeming disastrous at first, but individual states in the US along with businesses kept the climate fight going. Trump had no legislation to undo; it was an easy way for him to make a big noise without much actually happening. COPs can help raise the profile and set overall direction, but it is in the doing that we will avert catastrophic climate change, and there needs to be a lot more doing than there currently is.
For me COPs lack any comeback when commitments aren’t met because action is voluntary, only last year the main outcome of COP26 was to accelerate the phase out of coal, but with nations wanting to reduce dependency on Russia for energy, this year has seen an increase in coal demand. The $100 billion annual climate finance to developing nations has also not been delivered in time and we are nowhere near meeting the objective of avoiding a 1.5oC temperature rise if you look at the individual commitments of each nation. It just isn’t enough!
So, although I would like to get excited about COP27, I am more excited to see companies set binding emissions targets, seeing manufacturers look at better ways to make and distribute their products, watch individual towns and cities enable greater access to public transport, listen to the rising argument for degrowth and to see the low carbon energy transition unfold. It is the multiplying and sharing of best practices towards decarbonising the future that brightens our prospects. So, if you hear people say that COP27 may be our last chance, don’t be too downhearted if nothing much comes of the event (ahem Glasgow). If COP27 was really our last chance, I’d be getting my coat!
Kat Christopoulos is Cloudfm’s Head of ESG – watch and read more about Kat and her ambitions for our business, our supply chain and our role in decarbonising our clients, here: