What scientists are saying about COP26

Young people want action on climate change - but what do scientists really think about the progress at the UN conference, COP26?

Australia has been slammed about insufficient action at the world’s biggest climate conference since the Paris Accords, despite committing to net zero emissions by 2050. Read on to find out what scientists are saying about COP26 and climate change and what the UN Climate Change Conference currently being held in Glasgow can achieve.

Kate Dooley, Research Fellow, Climate & Energy College, The University of Melbourne

“What really matters is changing policy domestically; if countries don’t change what they are doing at home to bring emissions from fossil fuels to zero and restore degraded lands, declarations like this [deforestation agreement signed by 123 countries] are meaningless.”

“Once intact forests are gone, we can’t regain the carbon lost. It is known as “irrecoverable carbon”. So protecting existing forests is the top priority, especially given the critical time frame we are in now to keep climate change under the 1.5℃ or even 2℃ thresholds.”

Read Kate’s full article on The Conversation here.

READ MORE: Climate change is “fundamentally altering” young people’s identity

Mark Howden, Director, ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions, Australian National University

“[The debate] focuses attention on the wrong time frame for action – the next decade is far more important for climate action than 2050.

“…simply through delaying action, the world could feasibly reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050, but still fail to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – keeping average global temperature rise below either 1.5℃ or 2℃ this century.

“Carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions last a very long time in the atmosphere so they accumulate. Consequently, net CO₂ emissions need to decline sharply as soon as possible if we’re to limit temperatures to 1.5℃ or 2℃ above pre-industrial levels.”

Find out what scientists are saying about COP26 in Mark’s full article on The Conversation here.

READ MORE: A day in the life of an energy and climate analyst

Sarah Boulter, Associate professor of climate adaptation, University of Tasmania

“A clear lesson from the devastating 2019-20 bushfires was to invest in reducing and avoiding risks before disaster unfolds.

“It makes good social and fiscal sense to avoid leaving the fate of people and lives to chance, and facing expensive recovery operations, when climate-related disasters occur.

“Adaptation is as important as reducing emissions. The new strategy outlines part of the plan needed to get us there – but some opportunities have been missed.

“If research, policy and practice continue to work together, I believe we can build an Australia that can survive climate change.”

Read Sarah’s full article on The Conversation here.

READ MORE: Study reveals climate change is the most pressing issue for girls and women

Want to work in climate science and help to create a better future for the planet? Download our free Future Energy Specialist Job Kit.

Heather Catchpole

Author: Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs

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