Northumberland environmentalists reveal their hopes of what COP26 needs to achieve

Environmentalists from Northumberland hope the climate crisis will stay the spotlight beyond the duration of the COP26 conference.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 1:41 pm

Members of the Alnwick-based environmental group, What a Wonderful World Trust, are among those who have been keeping a close eye as world leaders discuss the planet’s future in Glasgow.

Trustees Liz and Alistair Anderson said: “We hope that a wide range of people will start talking about COP26 - not just people who already ‘get it’.

"Talking about the climate crisis and facing up to it is the first step. We can then all think about what we can do ourselves.

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Members of What a Wonderful World.

“On the global scale, we hope COP26 will make real progress on developing carbon markets and how they could work to put real pressure on countries to move to new green economic systems.

“We hope that there will be a massive increase increase in renewable power generation in this country and we hope major investment institutions will stand up and be counted amongst those committed to a green economy.

"And we hope the world accepts that we have immense capacity for pro-social, supportive and altruistic behaviour - it is possible to reverse the worst damage we have inflicted on ourselves.

“The fear is that all the positive momentum to achieve goals will dissipate when COP26 ends and the media turns its attention elsewhere.”

Martin Swinbank of Alnwick Friends of the Earth.

Those thoughts are echoed by Martin Swinbank of Alnwick Friends of the Earth.

He said: “It’s got to a point where we’re in an emergency situation due to the total lack of action by successive governments of all colours.

“We have got to treat it as a matter of urgency because it will take 10 years to turn it around and after that it will be too late to be recoverable. We’re now coming down to the nuts and bolts of having to make it happen.

“We need to be insulating all our houses, putting renewable heating systems in, restoring our peat bogs, woodland and sea grass beds to pull down carbon levels.

“The Friends of the Earth have had some successes locally, such as the Save Druridge campaign which prevented coal mining there – a decision which has influenced the national picture. Going forward, we need to make the same arguments about oil and gas and remove their use from our day to day lives.

“There is still a huge gap in terms of what has been pledged by COP on greenhouse gas emissions compared with what it needs to be.

“Even the UK government, which has set its goals quite high in terms of what it would like to achieve, is nowhere near achieving those goals and that is a huge worry.

“So, while the hope is for a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the likelihood is that we’re going to fall a long way short.

"Beyond COP26 we’re going to have to keep up the pressure.

“We have the technology and the means to do it. There just needs to be the political will and the government is going to come under increasing pressure to step up to the plate.

“But even with the help of governments, it will require every one of us to change the way we live our daily lives to make it better.”

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