COP 26 - What SHOULD have happened?
Sustainable Overton volunteer Holly gives her views on COP 26 and its outcome.
I'm one of the many people left disappointed after the COP26 climate discussions. So, rather than just vent to my friends, I decided to list the policies I wish they had agreed on, ones that could create real and lasting change.
Photos from COP26, including Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, giving his closing remarks.
Free Public Transport – if all public transport was free and running more frequently, how many people would choose to leave their vehicle at home? Obviously, there would need to be a massive investment in both improving public transport and financing the day to day running costs, but surely the reduction of cars would be worth it? Consider the knock-on effects of fewer cars on the road, improved air quality, reduction in air pollution and the related health benefits.
Solar Panels on all new buildings – both domestic and commercial properties should all have solar panels on, with decent feed in tariffs so its financially beneficial to the tenants and homeowners too. Less reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power. Surely this is a no brainer?
High taxes on frequent fliers – probably not a popular policy but a very important one! Why are so many people pledging to go flight free whilst a minority of people are flying multiple times a year? Carbon offsetting your flights isn’t enough, EVERYONE should be flying less.
Subsidies for British farmers who are helping the environment – I’ve read a lot about organic farming and regenerative agriculture recently and firmly believe that all farms should be run this way. It needs to be financially viable for all British farms to work with nature rather than against it. We all need to be buying locally produced seasonal foods, so why can’t we just stop importing lamb from New Zealand when we have plenty of local lamb? Reduce food miles and support local!
Improve CE and quality standards – when I was a kid, everything had to be quality assessed before it could be sold in this country. Now, it appears that any old crappy plastic toys can be sold here, even when they’re likely to break into a shiv-like murder weapon after 30 seconds of play. Why can’t we ensure that everything is quality checked? Stop these useless plastic toys from being imported and sold? Customs has to check everything out anyway, right? Again, let's focus on producing quality items right here in this country - it would create a demand for the plastic that we recycle (people can make plastic items here, check out Brothers Make). For example, France is currently trying to block the shopping website Wish because the majority of items are poor quality and even dangerous (see article here).
Ban the export of waste and recycling – we made it, we need to deal with it! Create jobs in recycling and find innovative ways to reuse the materials we consider waste.
Welcome climate refugees – this is an important one. As the climate crisis impacts communities, we need to acknowledge the privilege we have of living in a geographically stable location and welcome those who cannot stay in their homes due to climate change.
Alternative funding - if we’re going to break down the current unsustainable economy based on exponential growth, then we need to find alternative ways for people to be able to afford to live. Whether it's a welfare-based universal basic income or normalising the circular economy, people need to be able to afford our new way of life, and it should be financially viable for people to support community projects like repair cafes, litter picks, raising awareness via art, supporting mental health etc.
Have I missed anything? What would you add?