As we see the end of the COP 26 process we can see just how challenging the process is and how we are looking at the opposing forces at play. Over the last few weeks we have seen open discussions and closed minds and that seems to be the greatest achievement of the event.
Key elements which have been recognised are:
1. The need to aim for net zero and to speed up the process from 2050 to 2030
2. The need to have a transition to eliminate fossil fuels over the next 10 years
3. That rich developed world are responsible for much of the impact in vulnerable nations
4. That a top down approach to climate change should focus on infrastructure and mitigation
5. Many wise voices are either ignored or crowded out through vested interests
6. That the future hangs in the balance and using financial resources in the wrong way are likely to create much more harm than good
7. That the world is watching and unfortunately is unimpressed with some of its leaders
On the positive side there have been the following commitments:
To work on eliminating coal in all but the largest producers
To work on stopping further deforestation over the next 10 years
To reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030
A range of industry led declarations committing to half carbon emissions by 2030
In that regard our own organisation which works with a range of tourism and community organisations and destinations has signed the Glasgow Declaration today.
“At first I considered that a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 was too weak an objective and resisted however I have also been researching the real issue of carbon in tourism particularly in vulnerable destinations and see it is very challenging. I applaud all those destinations including Visit Scotland for making such ambitious objectives. Delivering these goals will be a real measure for an industry yet to acknowledge the elephant in the room in terms of flights etc which can typically take up 70% of the carbon footprint of a trip. The key for me for declarations like this will be in the baselines, the goals and the implementation process all of which will require scrutiny by a trustworthy source.”
As Glasgow closes we have witnessed a range of elements from great innovations to greenwash, from disingenuous politics to apathy and cynicism. I have also seen the seeds of hope. I have come across people making great personal sacrifices to attend and share their concerns. I have also seen how bureaucracies can destroy goodwill and genuine commitments and leadership. I acknowledge that the leaders of tomorrow are within our communities and that we rapidly need to move from hope to faith to truth with concerted action and loving wisdom.
My conclusion is that we are recognising that we really are in a spiritual war one with our own egos and with those who deny the truth and the light. More surprising is I wrote about this in 2008 when recognising we were going to hit 450ppm. In this situation there is no prize for being greedy, stealing and being self serving for the world is now watching and the legacy of COP 26 will be a global movement for change where humility and service will overcome domination and greenwash. From this the real leaders will emerge.