Between the 31st of October and 12th of November, world leaders will meet in Glasgow for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. This Conference, also known as COP26, will be an incredibly important moment not just for the United Kingdom, but for the whole world.
These talks are a real opportunity for global leaders to reach agreements that reduce emissions, provide climate assistance to countries in need, phase out non-renewable energy and improve rainforest protection.
In 2015, 196 nations agreed to try and limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. That ambition is in real danger of being missed, and it’s crucial that when world leaders meet in Glasgow, they take decisive and radical action to protect the planet.
COP26 might feel like it is a million miles away from us here in Tameside, but the truth is what happens in Glasgow will have a massive impact on us and on generations to come. The science is clear, if we don’t tackle the climate crisis, the planet will face devastating consequences.
I’m proud that Greater Manchester is leading the way with its ‘Five-Year Environment Plan’ which sets out what actions will be taken in Manchester to help reach the ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038. Importantly, this plan also recognises that building a green future presents a real opportunity to create jobs, power the economy, and facilitate a more equal society. It’s very exciting.
In Tameside, local Councillors are meeting the demands of the time, and are driving some great initiatives. They’re working closely with neighbouring councils to develop shared environmental strategies and are committed to the improving energy efficiency of housing in the Borough.
Tameside Council Executive Member and Denton North East Councillor Allison Gwynne oversees carbon reduction in the Borough, and has successfully led a bid for £2.3m from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. This funding will enable the council to improve eleven public buildings in the local area and will have a real impact on reducing energy costs and carbon emissions at key sites. It’s estimated that this current round of works will equate to reducing the Borough’s carbon footprint by 5000 tons, and works are already underway at Denton Festival Hall. The Council is hoping to secure additional investment in the next round of funding to continue the good work.
This kind of proactive, collaborative, and innovative action is exactly the kind we need to see if we are to protect our communities for years to come.
So, I will be watching the events unfold at COP26 with bated breath, hoping that the world leaders assembled there recognise the gravity of the situation. I’m proud of what we are doing locally to try and make a positive difference, but these efforts must now be matched on a global scale.