Media Statement: Momentum is everything – Glasgow must accelerate what Paris started
Hope is not lost, but history will judge what happens at COP26, says The Nature Conservancy’s CEO
With just days to go until the start of UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, UK, much uncertainty remains about the outcomes of this crucial summit.
The Paris Agreement, brokered at COP21 in 2015, urges countries to strengthen their national climate commitments every five years. Delayed for a year by the pandemic, COP26 represents the first of these key milestones when negotiators are expected to come to the table with enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that detail their domestic pathways towards fulfilling the Paris goals.
It is a chance for the world to take stock of where we are, and to raise our ambition at a pace that will effect real change.
Commenting on her hopes and expectations for COP26, The Nature Conservancy’s CEO Jennifer Morris said:
“Our planet faces the dual and interconnected crises of rapid climate change and biodiversity loss. We have years, not decades, to address these existential threats. It’s easy to look at the environment headlines that have dominated news cycles over this past year and conclude that hope is lost – but there’s still time for decisive action.
“This emergency requires myriad solutions, and science shows us that many of these are available here and now. To succeed, we will need to radically transform global economies in ways that reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors - particularly energy, transportation, manufacturing, construction and buildings, and land use. The U.S. alone, for example, is committed to cutting its domestic greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 by boosting vehicle efficiency, expanding renewable energy, and investing in nature-based solutions, among others.”
“Decisive political commitments are key - I want to see a COP where global leaders embrace the science and deliver implementation plans that will ensure Paris goals aren’t missed. But this is also a COP where corporations and financiers must show how they are helping to align the world economy with climate targets, and in doing so hastening a global transition towards a nature-positive, climate-neutral, and equitable future… Where Indigenous Peoples’ voices are prominent and afforded the platform they deserve as custodians of the Earth’s most climate-critical and biodiversity-rich ecosystems… Where nature’s solutions are given equal billing to technological ones… And where we can confidently say we stepped up for a brighter future.”
“Without action at scale, delivered in a transparent and equitable way, the world will not have the tools needed to effect change that helps, not harms, people and nature. For Glasgow to secure its place in the history books as the next great milestone in our climate turnaround, COP26 must deliver on the ambitions of those initial negotiations and ensure that, through radical collaboration, we turn promises into action.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.