Inaugural COP26 Decarbonisation Summit facilitated commitment to deliver Net Zero
The inaugural Decarbonisation Summit held in Glasgow on 9th/10th November, during COP26 boasted an impressive array of industry luminaries, youth ambassadors and tech experts from across sectors including finance, fashion, agriculture and architecture.
Run by Green.TV Media with main sponsor SSE Energy Solutions, the Decarbonisation Summit’s first year showcased some hard-hitting facts, but also rays of light, insight, and the actions needed towards ensuring a decarbonised world.
There were over 1,800 attendees both in-person and virtually joining from around the world, including India, the United States, France, Netherlands and the UK.
“Today, people don’t understand their own carbon impact. The average person emits 10 tonnes of carbon per year,” commented Sonya Kerr of Catagen. “The government target for 2030 is 2.5 tonnes per person”.
In the Science, Innovation & Technology panel, Wing Chan of Sourceful said, “The previous two decades were about digitising… I think the next two are about decarbonising.”
Lack of understanding and awareness was evident in the Automotive panel too, where Autotrader’s Marc Palmer made the point that “dejargonising electric vehicle driving” by changing from terms such as ‘kilowatt hour’ would help change driver choices. OZEV’s Sophie Adams made the point that “people want to have a forgettable ‘non-experience’ when charging; as soon as it’s no longer seen as ‘new technology’, that’s a win!”
Ade Thomas, Founder, Green.TV Media, said: “The Decarbonisation Summit is not another talking shop; it has brought together some incredibly knowledgeable authorities across key industry sectors, in one place, to really highlight the facts and to serve as a platform for change for good and for all.
“The Summit has enabled crucial conversations and business engagement that will continue beyond COP26 to ensure the necessary policies, technologies and business practices to help mitigate the effects of climate change. We need change and challenging the norm will create that change.”
Nathan Sanders, Managing Director SSE Energy Solutions, Distributed Energy, said: “With the eyes of the world on Glasgow, SSE Energy Solutions are very proud to have hosted the first Decarbonisation Summit right at the heart of COP26. We bring the investment tools, know-how and energy solutions to help people and places decarbonise.
“SSE Group is investing £7.5bn over a 5-year period into the low carbon energy infrastructure that we need to drive the UK to a net zero outcome. No-one in the world is currently building more offshore wind infrastructure than SSE, but we have to collaborate and innovate with ambition in order to meet the challenges set out before us all. There is an urgent need for decarbonisation within aspects of everyone’s lives and we are committed to delivering all that we can to enable this.”
“Doing what we’re doing doesn’t get us there, market-driven change doesn’t work. It’s time for intervention and regulation to push change forward,” stated Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, during the Policy session. “In the public mind we need to link the drive to net zero to a lower cost of living,” he added.
Delegates had some hard-hitting facts to absorb during the Food & Agriculture panel:
- Food waste as a country would be the third largest source of greenhouse emissions after the US and China
- Nestle’s carbon footprint is currently twice that of Switzerland.
Coupled with some rays of light:
- According to Project Drawdown, tackling food waste is the number 1 solution to climate change.
In the Buildings & Architecture session, repurposing existing buildings rather than creating new homes was highlighted as a change to reduce use of raw resources, reduce empty houses, and reduce one of the UK’s major sources of waste, as construction materials account for 1/3 of waste.
We are seeing a movement from fast fashion to sustainable, and the Fashion & Retail panel captured this with Georgia Rae Taylor of EcoAge saying “Fast fashion is dead, legislation is going to rise, as fast fashion businesses are based on systems of exploitation. Are you comfortable wearing the blood and sweat of someone who made your clothes?” she asked.
Urban drones as a net zero last mile delivery solution? This is a possibility put forward during the International Travel & Transport panel, and Duncan Hopkins of Urban Airport reinforcing that the “entire delivery system from factory to the door needs to be reconsidered for supply chain options”. Heavier passenger vehicles and long haul logistics remain a challenge with e-fuels a possibility for after 2030 and hydrogen fuel cells post 2040.
“What we need to achieve is an avoidance of emissions, rather than just a taxation of carbon output,” commented Marcel Fujike of Kuehne+Nagel, “otherwise it just becomes a calculation of the easiest option for companies.”
Seabed and rooftop solar are set to become popular options, along with windy energy and solar energy, the Energy panel highlighted. Nick Woolley of ev.energy commented, “[we need] a clear incentive today for an electric vehicle owner to charge using their own solar produced energy”. He added, “The electric vehicle could double the energy consumption of the average household, so we need to figure out how to manage that energy use in a flexible, sustainable way.”
In the Gender, Diversity & Decarbonisation panel, Nisreen Elsaim of The Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, commented on the situation in developing nations where “women and girls are on the front line of the climate crisis because women are more burdened with household issues, so if there is a drought, it is the women who are walking 10 kilometres a day to get water”. Nikki Flanders of SSE BE said, “We have to develop nuanced solutions for sustainability which are accessible to a diverse range of communities.”
Viewing of the live stream of the Decarbonisation Summit is available online as follows: