Four hundred private jets, an 85 car motorcade with President Biden, two of the one hundred Zimbabwean delegates pictured coming out of Costco laden with trolleys full of expensive liquor. It’s easy to be sceptical about COP26.
From our few days spent in Glasgow, the great jamboree has certainly lived up to expectations with overpriced hotel rooms, hotel bars running out of beer, aged and bearded extinction rebellionists playing the guitar on Queen Street and an influx of hippies including one taxi driver whose previous existence was making birch sap wine in northern Sweden.
Yet, there are also benefits from holding a climate change conference.
Like a temperance meeting, leaders who might not have gone so far suddenly offer to take the pledge. They end up offering more in environmental protection than they had previously intended. Countries covering 90% of global emissions have now committed to net zero carbon emissions. In addition, methane emissions are to be reduced by 30% in 2030 compared with 2020, according to commitments made by countries covering about 50% of emissions. Most surprisingly, more than 100 leaders have agreed that deforestation is to end by 2030.
Lord Offord, the new minister in the Scottish Office, with an impressive past career in private equity, said that he thought that the big difference this time with the COP event was the scale of participation by the private sector from finance to manufacturing. And his view was that there was much more of a sense of optimism at this conference compared with its predecessors.
He attributed this to the can-do spirit of private as opposed to governmental actors. The presence of so many private sector contributors to the various events in Glasgow was evidence of a massive increase in interest.
To turn the spirit of COP26 into reality will require three things.
- A sense of partnership with the private sector where governments treat private sector agents with more respect as partners who will be necessary to achieve their goals;
- The keeping to commitments made by governments that have used the opportunity of COP26 to go further than they had previously planned ;
- Governments and politicians now need to lead by example and very clearly subject themselves to the constraints that they intend to impose on their electorates. So far, they have failed the leadership test. The tone has been ‘do what we tell you, not what we do’. If they fail to do this, the public will be less willing to accept environmental commitments. Already in the UK, there are some campaigning for a referendum on net zero.
Cebr’s role is to help ensure that environmental impacts are evaluated properly and quantified. We are increasingly asked to help companies understand their impact on the environment – whether that is through the analysis of the emissions savings realised via public transport use for a major transport operator, quantifying the challenge of reducing emissions in the built environment or showing the environmental impact of our day-to-day consumption habits. To achieve net zero, we believe that governments and firms need to get the economics right – as economics consultants one of our main priorities is to supply our clients with the tools to make the right decisions in the years of transformation ahead of us.
For more information please contact:
Robert Beauchamp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 07729 924949
Douglas McWilliams Email:email@example.comPhone: 07710 083652