SSN Chair, John Wincott, refects on his time at COP26.
After COP26 - what have we learned and where do we go from here? Although the final decision document 'urges' much, 'welcomes' other things, 'notes' and 'requests' more, actual 'decisions' were much rarer. But I ask the question, how does that affect what we, as public bodies in Scotland, do in the next few years? I would suggest that, with a few exceptions, very little. We are already at the front of the charge to change. Are we doing enough? No, not yet. But I think that COP has changed only a few elements for us. We need to do more, faster, and we will do that. SSN is here to make sure that we share best (and worst) practice so that we can all learn from each other and improve. This will become even more apparent if you are able to attend our conference on December 8th.
Having said that COP will not change much, there are some specific decisions that may impact on public bodies including:
- The transition away from fossil fuel is going to need careful handling to ensure that new technology is introduced quickly and effectively - whether that is hydrogen or renewables - and that there is a just transition for the workforce currently engaged in the fossil fuel industry.
- The global methane pledge could have implications in a number of areas including meat consumption.
- The forests declaration could influence land use policy across all public bodies.
These are the types of local impacts that the global decisions may influence, and there are more. For me, the key message is that the 1.5 degree target is 'still hanging on by its fingertips' which means that the next few years will be crucial if we are to keep that goal alive. Scotland is often lauded as leading the way, but even here we are not going far enough, fast enough. Public bodies are being looked at to lead the way - collaboration is key to our success, and SSN is the collaboration space.