As the world watches COP26, it’s clear that the opportunity to “build back better” following the pandemic was wasted.
Despite lockdown measures resulting in a drop in worldwide CO2 emissions of 5.6% in 2020, the year still saw a record rise in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Much of this increase was caused by methane released from ecosystems disrupted by too much or too little rainfall. Even rainforests, the “lungs of the Earth”, are now emitting greenhouse gases as a result of widespread plant death.
Unusual and extreme weather events are projected to become more common in the immediate future, resulting in further ecosystem collapses and the associated releases of greenhouse gas.
This is all occurring at our current global temperature increase of 1C over pre-industrial levels. The most optimistic target of 1.5C of global warming – which is the goal of COP26 – will still put immense strain on the delicate balance of life on this planet.
In 2021, CO2 emissions from human activity are once again rising in a year when governments are supposed to commit to historic reductions.
By hosting COP26 in Glasgow, the UK government hopes to position the UK as a global leader in emissions reductions and green industry. Unfortunately, the government’s actions are proving this decision to be a PR stunt (and retaliation to the Scottish independence movement) rather than evidence of genuine commitment.
In Rishi Sunak’s highly publicised Autumn budget, the climate crisis was not mentioned. Instead, tax cuts on emissions-heavy domestic flights and a continued freeze on fuel duty were announced – hardly consistent with the “green industrial revolution” Boris Johnson promised in 2020.
For actual green industrial revolutions, we have to look abroad to eco-cities such as Skellefteå in Sweden. Skellefteå boasts a 20-storey wooden skyscraper and a municipally owned renewable energy supply controlled by an AI that distributes or stores energy as and when it is needed. It’s hard not to feel jealous.
We hope to see more positive news following COP26, the success of which will depend upon commitments from the world’s biggest polluters and aid towards developing countries. The UK may only produce a fraction of the global share of greenhouse gas emissions but this country has the wealth, expertise and historical responsibility to push for positive change within and beyond its borders.
Whether this government is capable of doing so remains to be seen.
At Magenta Security, we are disheartened by the government fumbling what should be an opportunity to show leadership in a crisis that deserves to be treated with wartime-like seriousness – especially under a Prime Minister who is so keen to liken himself to Churchill. But we believe that the UK’s business community is equipped to succeed where the government has failed.
A successful business knows when to be proactive rather than reactive. This instinct is exactly what the country needs to tackle the climate emergency. Waiting for the situation to get worse before taking action may put us in a position where it is too late to preserve the world as we know it.
As a certified Carbon Neutral + Organisation, we have radically transformed how we do business and have discovered many allies along the way through groups such as Business Declares and the many businesses who have reached out for support and to share insight.
Public polling proves the majority care deeply for the state of the climate and want to see decisive action to save our planet. Many individuals are making sacrifices and lifestyle changes to do their part, such as cycling more, eating less meat and engaging in activism. Meanwhile, we in the business world have the moral responsibility and the means to reduce our emissions, put pressure on our supply chains and educate our customers.
Let’s not wait for leadership, let’s show leadership.
Magenta Security provide award winning security services throughout the UK. We are in the top 5% of ACS approved contractors and were the first security company in Europe to be awarded ISO 14001 for our environmental management systems.
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