Let’s Talk COP26
It’s been six years since COP21, the birth of the Paris Agreement and a defining global move from international leaders to limit global warming to the famous 1.5°C figure. Fast forward to last week and COP26 has been a major talking point, rightly so; this year’s United Nations climate change conference, grabbing the attention of more eyes across the globe than ever before. Hosted in Glasgow, the 120 parties in attendance introduced promising plans to fight alongside our planet. As for the changes we can expect to see, here is a run-down of what the next decade of climate change activism will look like, with the help of one of the fiils family, sustainability advisor, Ahsan Syed.
Fossil fuels, the alliterative culprit of our emissions emergency, were the first to find themselves in the hot seat. For the first time in COP conference history, 23 countries, including Indonesia, Spain and Ukraine, took one very big step forward, committing to the phasing out of coal. We love our little wins here at fiils, but this is a colossal conquest for the climate.
Compromise came from developing countries agreeing to the phasing out of fossil fuels. Despite activists pushing for a complete shifting away into greener energy territory, it still marks a notable turning point, as explained by Ahsan. “Although climate activists didn’t get the results they wanted, and the specific wording was watered down from phase out to phase down, this is still a very positive outcome.”
What does this mean for us?
Adopting a ‘new normal’ means we can make our own impact in reducing CO2 and hold Mother Nature’s hand along the way, coined by Ahsan as “voting with your dollar”. Opting for sustainable switches and ‘putting our money where our mouth is,’ investing our pounds in carbon neutral, refill and reuse options means a cut down in production and transportation emissions, a cleaner conscience, cleaner air.
The good news is that developing countries including India, one of the world’s leading Co2 emitters, are set to receive support from more affluent areas of the globe, emerging from COP26 with a solid path to a lower emissions future. “The Glasgow climate pact includes more specificity – the phase down of fossil fuels, contributions to developing countries, setting more stringent targets in 2022, these will all help ensure that countries continue to actually make efforts to reduce their impact on the environment.” Leading us on to our next champion for the planet, renewable energy.
In a breath of fresh air, it was also announced that China and America, two leading greenhouse gas emitters, turned their focus to renewable energy, set to develop new technology and implement plans to increase its use and prolonged success. “We have achieved leaps and bounds in energy efficiency and also alternative energies; in a lot of places around the world, solar wind is the cheapest form of power that you can have.”
With renewable energy followed a focus on emissions and a promised 30% reduction in the next 8 years from more than one hundred countries. Over the past decade, carbon emissions increased by 1.47 billion metric tonnes, 29% of this emerging from transportation. To counteract this and steer us in the right direction, automotive companies promised to produce ONLY zero emissions vehicles globally by 2040, a welcome change and one we are already seeing in our cities, streets and everyday lives. “We’re constantly moving in the right direction, our cars are more efficient than they ever were, we’ve gone leaps and bounds in technology. We’ve installed the technology and put filters in the tail pipes – the air coming out of a tail pipe is cleaner than the air that went into a vehicle fifty years ago.”
Aside from our buying habits, simple lifestyle switches have a knock-on effect in reducing emissions, aside from the obvious of monitoring our energy intake at home or opting for a sustainable supplier:
Did you know that opting for a vegan diet reduces your carbon footprint by 25%? Switching to dairy free milk reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 49%!
Swap out your takeaway coffee cups for a reusable one. A stainless steel alternative works for your coffee and your water.
Opt for natural cleaning product alternatives – you can make your own using cupboard essentials (but do your research!), or invest in a refillable system.
Buy recycled toilet paper to help close the emissions loop.
A simple one: keep on recycling!
Plant some bee-friendly flowers and help nourish our buddies aiding in natural food production.
On to fixing our forests!
Brazil, home to the Amazon rainforest, alongside 129 other countries, agreed to the halting of deforestation and land degradation. Over the past year 1.9 billion trees have been planted, a huge step to regrow not only our home but the natural domain of our wildlife.
Giving some TLC to our trees can also be done from the comfort of your couch, shopping with brands working alongside Ecologi. We put our pounds towards planting, with 5,987 trees already planted in our very own fiils forest. Ecosia is another great way to give back to your forests for free, a search engine donating 80% of its profits to reforestation.
In an optimistic, planet productive end to COP26, we can stay in the loop with the world’s collective efforts with COP to become an annual event. “There was a lot of countries committed to revisit their 2030 targets by the end of 2022, next year’s COP.”
We’re making progress. Our ozone layer is healing, a lower emissions future is on the horizon and industries are adapting, meaning we are well on our way to becoming more climate friendly consumers and taking a smaller carbon footprint step in the right direction.
For another fiil of the COP26 climate action, head over to our Instagram for a discussion between fiils founder, Anna and sustainability advisor, Ahsan Syed, HERE.