Caring about COP26 and the Climate Crisis

Posted by Cath Flitcroft on 01/11/2021
Photo: Shutterstock

As world leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26, here's our overview of what this means for the planet and the outdoor community, as well as our very own BMC commitments to the climate.

From 1-12 November, the UN Climate Change Conference – COP 26 – is bringing together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. COP26 will be the biggest and most important international conferences the UK has ever held.

The two intricately linked issues of biodiversity loss and the climate crisis are key threats facing the world today, and both require urgent action on a global scale. The Earth is currently on track to warm between three and four degrees Celsius in the next 30 years, with potentially disastrous outcomes, such as rising sea levels and large areas of the planet becoming uninhabitable. So, it’s clear that what happens at COP26 (which stands for "conference of the parties") matters to the world.

A 3°C temperature rise for example, increases the possibility that fragile natural systems like the Arctic or Amazon would experience irreversible changes by melting entirely, or drying out. Half of the Mediterranean area would suffer drought, and lobally, the population exposed to water stress would double. Once local temperatures reach 3°C above pre-industrial levels, nearly all crops are negatively affected, wherever they are in the world - including in temperate regions. If the world warms 3.2°C by 2050, it could lose 18% of total GDP - including about 10.5% of GDP in both North America and Europe.

As the host of this year’s COP26, the UK must champion the role that nature could play in mitigating and adapting to climate change and do this in a way that is complementary to any international agreements made under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Emphasising the climate-nature interdependencies and finding solutions that tackle both crises will be a key theme of this year’s summit.

  

Political Context

In 2015 the governments of the world came together to determine a new direction for global growth and development.  In September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed and in December of the same year, the Paris Climate Change Agreement was adopted, which came into force in November 2016. Both agreements hold the potential to stabilize our climate and reverse nature decline. A commitment was made to limit the rise in global temperatures to well below two degrees aiming for 1.5 degrees, because the science shows that that would avoid the worst effects of climate change

Last year, the UK Prime Minister set out his 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, laying the foundations for a green economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 with the UK at the forefront of the growing global green economy.  This strategy builds on the approach to keep the UK on track for carbon budgets, a 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution, and net zero by 2050.

In October 2021, Government also published the long-awaited policy paper, Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener. This strategy sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet our net zero target by 2050. This will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the UK’s second Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy under the Paris Agreement. 

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC was published in August, and left no doubt, that we need to act now and we need to act together so we can stay as close as possible to the 1.5 degrees increase in temperature that was agreed in Paris.

At home, the UK should lead by example.

Climate: Stop new fossil fuel projects abroad and at home including current proposed projects - and make all UK finance decisions support climate commitments.

Nature: Urgently rescue carbon stores like ancient peat and woodland and set strict targets in law to begin to reverse nature loss by 2030.

People: Invest to create 1.8 million green jobs in renewable energy, green homes, clean transport and nature protection in the next 3 years.

 

The BMC and the Climate Coalition at COP26

Earlier this year, The Climate Coalition, Bond, and CAN-UK produced an updated version of the Glasgow Action Plan, a set of collective asks from civil society to Government ahead of COP26 which is supported by the BMC. The asks cover a wide range of policy areas, including several asks on nature.

WATCH: The Scientist on the front line in the fight against the Climate Crisis on BMC TV

The BMC’s Commitments

The BMC has already declared a Climate Emergency.

The BMC is also a partner of Business for Nature, joining more than 1,000 businesses calling for ambitious and collective action for nature. Business for Nature’s Call to Action is asking governments to adopt policies now to reverse nature loss in this decade. In particular we have committed to:

-  Investing in protecting and restoring nature.

The BMC has also joined the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework. Sports organisations and their stakeholders / members from around the world have been invited to join a new climate action for sport movement that will set the trajectory and provide the support for sport to play a winning role in achieving global climate change goals.

READ: Why are bogs so important for a healthy planet?

The participants in the Sports for Climate Action Initiative will commit to adhere to the following five principles:

Principle 1: Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility

Principle 2: Reduce overall climate impact

Principle 3: Educate for climate action

Principle 4: Promote sustainable and responsible consumption

Principle 5: Advocate for climate action through communication

In the Office - In its day to day operations and processes, the BMC has a significant impact on the environment, through the resources it uses such as paper, power, fuel and also through the waste products it produces, such as emissions from heating and transport as well as use and disposal of BMC materials and merchandise including guidebooks and office equipment.

We will seek to quantify these effects and implement measures to ensure day to day office practices have as small an impact on the environment as is possible.  We are already:

  • Single use plastic free
  • Utilising a renewable energy provider
  • Making energy saving improvements to the BMC office in Manchester
  • Encouraging the use of web conferencing and remote meetings to reduce the need to travel
  • Ensuring that meetings, events and competitions organised by the BMC can be accessed by public transport and by promoting car share options and mechanisms to achieve this
  • Sourcing and selling only ethical products in our shop
  • Off-setting our own carbon footprint by supporting a scheme that invests in a UK based, landscape wide programme.
  • Utilising a pension investment strategy based on the Aviva Stewardship fund.

We can and will be doing more however by:

  • Developing a Zero Pollution and Zero Waste Pathway: minimising waste and pollution and looking to circular economy principles
  • Influencing though Procurement and Partnerships: sharing our approach and working with our partners to develop pathways for the whole industry.
  • Producing guidance for members, events, clubs and office: outlining the steps needed to ensure we move towards zero waste and zero pollution.
  • Working with clubs and other sector interests to help reduce energy use. In particular, supporting hut owners to install off-grid renewable energy sources and/or install measures to reduce energy use, particularly at huts using oil or bottled gas as heating sources.
  • Working towards implementing an Environmental Management System which conforms to ISO1400
  • Continuing to support and embrace nature-based solutions to enhance climate resilience
  • The BMC currently bank with Barclays but this is under review.

Why should I care?

COP26 matters, because the decisions made in Glasgow will be felt all across the globe. The future of our sports, livelihoods, communities and outdoor sporting and recreational spaces depend on what is discussed in the negotiations to protect our planet and keep ‘1.5 alive’.

Met Office data shows that last year the UK experienced one of the most significant heatwaves of the last 60 years in southern England, the highest August rainfall ever recorded at one station, two of the three wettest days recorded since 1891, and some of highest summer winds recorded in last 50 years.

Global sport faces major disruption from climate change in the coming decades. Across the world we are already seeing the sports we love being impacted by the likes of extreme weather, wild fires, coastal erosion and lack of snow for winter sports. No sport will be exempt from impact of climate change, and the time to act is now.  At the recent International Sport Positive Summit, which the BMC attended, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President, European Commission, responsible for the Green Deal stated:

“Avoiding or reducing greenhouse gas emissions using cleaner, more efficient materials, fuels or processes and compensating for the greenhouse gas emissions that are unavoidable need to become common practice for all in sports.”

“In our fight against the climate and biodiversity crises, organizations must change how they operate and act in a climate responsible manner. managers and leadership have to lead by example, and build their organization on sustainable business principles. Sustainability cannot be the playing field of a few colleagues in a green department, but needs to be at heart in all management and operational decisions of an organization. This is just as true in the world of sport. “

The BMC will provide a daily update on our social media channels translating what is happening at COP26 into language that is easily understood and will publish an article following COP to highlight the key outcomes / commitments that Government must achieve.

Interested in COP26 events?

From 1st - 12th November 2021, the COP26 Green Zone will be open to the public and you can join many of the events online.

Sustainable Steps

The BMC and our members must therefore play our part in addressing the threat of biodiversity loss and climate change. Our focus over the next 12 months will be to try to address this from providing members information on simple steps to reduce their own carbon footprint to supporting and working with partners to help conserve, restore and protect our peatland landscapes (which are important carbon sinks) in the UK.  All of this information alongside useful articles will be accessible through our Sustainable Steps campaign.

“The world must adapt to cut its emissions in half by 2030 and sport must play its part. Sport has shown how to do this by the way it has adapted on COVID. It has the power to mobilize communities to do the same on climate.” - Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)


WATCH: The Climate Project - help fight climate change on our moorlands on BMC TV

💮 Donate to The Climate Project 🌱

The BMC's Climate Project supports the work of Moors for the Future.

Your support will help:   

🌱 Actively fight the climate crisis

🛡️ Protect endangered wildlife

❌ 🔥 Reduce wildfire risk

❌ 🌊 Reduce flooding risk

It costs £25 to plant one square metre of sphagnum moss and create a healthy moor. hanks to you, we’ve raised £30,000 for The Climate Project so far. This will restore 1,200 square meters of sphagnum on our Peak District moors.


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