Posts tagged " low carbon "

COP 23: Reflections

November 16th, 2017 Posted by Blogs, COP No Comment yet

2050 Climate Group team member,  Siri Pantzar, offers some reflections on time spent at COP 23 in Bonn, Germany this November. 

 

It is such a precious thing, this conference. People who are all passionate about climate change, discussing solutions, research, projects, and policies. Everyone is keen. Everyone is interested. Everyone is buzzing.

It’s a shame that that’s all pretty much restricted to this event though.

When we go home, we go back to the silence on climate change. Most people don’t talk about climate change in their everyday lives. People around us are concerned, but don’t voice it, don’t engage with it, and more often than not don’t see it as an immediate issue that they have to do something about in their own lives, or one that impacts them. It’s in the future, it’s those poor polar bears, it’s in the small island states and in Africa. While this motivates some people to buy clean energy, turn down the heating or vote for greener candidates, most people are more concerned about immediate issues (or ones they perceive as such): getting a job, paying their bills, getting food for your children, getting a mortgage. Climate change is indeed big and bad, but essentially something somewhere else, for somebody else with more time on their hands to do.

One of the things I’ve constantly been impressed with about 2050 Climate Group is how it really addresses this issue, through making climate change relevant for young professionals by bringing it to the sphere where we have to operate in. We might want to do something about climate change, but often focus instead on things that will pay our bills, add experience to our CVs, or build us networks. 2050 fits into that framework. It makes being a part of the global action against climate change useful and fun to us, in our own specific terms, together with other people like us.

Yesterday I attended a talk by George Marshall, and I realised how special and crucial that is. George Marshall is a climate change communicator and the founder of Climate Outreach, a non-profit research organisation supporting those that want to work on climate communications. He stresses that tailoring the message is crucial; too often we use the same polar bear and disaster images, too often the messages are tailored to us who are already keen and identify with the issue, not to those that are not. Especially as we see the global politics reaching points where major countries can elect leaders that don’t believe in climate change, we, as people who know that this should not be a partisan issue, should acknowledge that we have allowed it to become one. There are values that we all hold dear involved in promoting climate change action, but they are not the same values for those on the left, as for those on the centre right, or those in faith communities, or environmental activists, or coal worker communities, or British people or Finnish people or Chinese people. For some it’s a question of justice and planetary environment, and those messages get aired often; for others it’s about fairness, or working together, or bringing the world to balance, preserving our heritage, protecting the world that is a gift from God, or keeping champagne production possible in Champagne. Authenticity is key; we want to see people who are like us, and care about the same things as we do, tell us that we can work together to protect those things. That’s why we can’t leave talking about climate change to environmental activists; their messages are relevant for people like them, but then again, people like them are in most cases already engaged.

Most importantly, these conversations need to happen and continue to happen, outside this bubble. Often they aren’t easy; at least I often inherently assume that no-one else is interested and that I come across as nagging, which is unlikely to be true. We need to create space, and have conversations, and make spaces for conversations that are appealing and create communities. The 2050 Climate Group has provided that for many of us; now we need to continue to spread it out to everyone else.

Sustainable Growth Agreement with Scottish Environment Protection Agency

July 7th, 2017 Posted by News No Comment yet

Thursday 6 July marked an exciting milestone for the 2050 Climate Group. After being supported by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for the past three years, we have embarked on a new journey with them. We are thrilled to announce that we are the third recipient of a Sustainable Growth Agreement (SGA) with SEPA. This voluntary formal agreement will create a partnership between both organisations to share and deliver environmental outcomes which help to achieve objectives set out in SEPA’s new One Planet Prosperity – Regulatory Strategy. It will also provide the 2050 Climate Group with new opportunities to influence and lead and offer new ways for young people from all backgrounds and locations in Scotland to get invovled in achieiving Scotland’s low carbon, sustainable vision.

The agreed areas for joint working between SEPA and the 2050 Climate Group include:

  • Influencing and Leadership: Both parties will work together to create opportunities for leadership that excite, interest and support all sectors of society to deliver environmental, economic and social benefits.
  • Inclusion and Decision Making: Both parties will work to ensure young people (specifically, the target 18-30 group) from all backgrounds and locations are represented in decision making.
  • International Co-operation: Both parties will commit to increasing the ability of the 2050 Climate Group to share its work internationally; gaining more action, partners and putting Scotland on the map as a place for youth leadership.
    sga signing

    SEPA Chief Executive, Terry A’Hearn and 2050 Climate Group Chair, Richard Dryburgh, signing the SGA

On this partnership, SEPA Chief Executive, Terry A’Hearn said: “Scotland has set some of the most ambitious climate change targets in the world.  As we pursue these targets, we are lucky enough to have a group of young Scots who are trying to help tackle climate change.  They aren’t waiting for powerful institutions to take action.  They aren’t moaning about the dilemma their parents’ generation has left them.  They are getting on with it and creating innovation and action here in Scotland.  I am determined that, through this Sustainable Growth Agreement, SEPA will support these young Scots to do what they do best – make things happen.

Our Chairperson, Richard Dryburgh said: “The 2050 Climate Group is delighted to enter into this innovative partnership with SEPA. Our SGA offers young people from all backgrounds and all areas of Scotland the chance to lead on climate change action. We must thank SEPA for their support which has been invaluable to our organisation and an important factor in our success to date. Through this agreement, we look forward to further developing our relationship to create a more sustainable future for Scotland.

“Globally as well as nationally, climate change needs leaders to radically change our current trajectory. I firmly believe that by working together, Scotland’s future leaders will both make critical impacts now but also be connected and engaged for years to come. With this success, Scotland can be a true leadership example on the world stage.”

The 2050 Climate Group will continue to be a platform to empower young people to shape their future and lead the transition to a low carbon country. By working with SEPA, we will also be able to source new partnerships and collaborate with businesses from different sectors, ensuring that Scotland’s future are at the forefront of decision making.

The Sustainable Growth Agreement marks the beginning of our future collaboration. Working with SEPA, we will explore new ways of working together for environmental, social and economic success.

View the full SGA document signed by SEPA and 2050 Climate Group and find out how we will work together. Also see SEPA’s guiding principles document outlining the broader aims of SGAs.

National Economic Forum 2017

May 19th, 2017 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

Last Friday, as our new cohort of Young Leaders prepared to travel to Glasgow for the first climate change module of this year’s Young Leaders Development Programme, I stayed up in the Highlands for the National Economic Forum and travelled up to a sunny Inverness.

The event kicked off with an opening address from Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, and a business keynote address from Mark Gregory, chief economist at Ernst & Young, followed by a Q&A session with the both of them. As most likely the youngest person in attendance, it was great to represent all of the Young Leaders in the 2050 Climate Group, and to be able to ask the First Minister a question regarding some of the issues that are important to the group as a whole:

“How will the government ensure that the Circular Economy package will deliver skilled employment opportunities throughout the whole of Scotland?

How will the Curriculum for Excellence prepare the next generation for employment within the Circular Economy?”

Declan asking his questions (Photo from @Aurora_Cons)

The First Minister feels there is a massive opportunity for skilled jobs in the Circular Economy across the whole of Scotland, particularly in rural areas, and Mark Gregory pointed out that already, directly and indirectly, there are 50,000 jobs in Scotland engaged in lowering carbon emissions.

The point about the Curriculum for Excellence was one that the First Minister thought was the most important. With a school system able to produce confident and informed individuals, well prepared for careers in the Circular Economy in the future.

After lunch, I participated in a workshop about the future of energy in Scotland, led by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, and Nick Molho, Executive Director at Aldersgate Group. With so many people in the room from the energy industry it was great to hear their thoughts on the draft Scottish Energy Strategy, and the ambitious plans for renewables and low carbon energy sources to play their part in Scotland reaching its emissions reduction targets as set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which requires an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the Scottish economy between 1990 and 2050.

My biggest takeaway from the whole event, and the one aspect that fills me with the most positivity, is this: they didn’t postpone it! Let me explain. The date for this 18th edition of the National Economic Forum was set a while back, and this time of year was expected to be a quiet one for Scotland politically. In hindsight, they couldn’t have been more wrong! Despite the event taking place during the run up to a general election, they didn’t postpone it. Instead, the First Minister and 5 MSPs were in attendance, including Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, who kindly spoke at the launch event of this year’s Young Leaders Development Programme. The government saw these economic discussions as vital, and that it was key for the drive towards a low carbon economy to be at the centre of these discussions. This clear demonstration of commitment towards the sustainable development goals, in the midst of a hectic political period, I believe, can give us hope that our ambitions for 2050 will be met.
Blog contributed by: Declan Gallacher. 2050 Climate Group, Operational Team Member: YLDP & Alumni Subgroups
Header photo submitted by Declan, @DeclanGallager

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