In the aftermath of COP26, Highland Councilor Trish Robertson says it is no longer enough to write down what needs to be done to tackle climate change
COP26 ended with major deforestation deals ending in nine years and phasing out coal use – laudable that this is now part of the deal, but we know action was needed about it decades ago.
With global temperatures already above 1.2 Â° C above pre-industrial levels and the world heading towards 2.4 Â° C, protesters called for action, but the challenge remained unanswered. Words are not enough, we needed an action plan to get out of this conference!
It is no longer enough to write down what needs to be dealt with. It is high time to see what action is agreed to end deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.
Planting trees and financing carbon sequestration is only a temporary solution. World leaders have not heard the voice of the people.
If any action is to be taken quickly, it will be the simple steps that individuals can take to make changes in daily life. I might suggest cutting back on car trips first.
If the distance to be covered is less than three kilometers and you choose to walk, you will have walked part of the way towards the 10,000 steps recommended for daily exercise!
The event was an opportunity to learn more about what others were doing to adapt and mitigate the contribution to climate change and exhibitors were excited about the actions their companies had planned.
Better news has come from the transportation and heavy vehicle replacement projects. Progress has been good and some of these changes will be ready for general use by 2026.
The affordability factor has yet to be addressed and concerns about the construction and materials of the batteries remain.
New cars must be simplified to reduce the price at a price accessible to all. News on design rather than adaptation for people with disabilities, a refreshing way to consider new models. Hydrogen infrastructure will require rapid deployment and autonomous vehicles will have an acceptance hurdle to overcome, all of which are very interesting considerations.
Transportation is a major cause of pollution and an area where rapid change is needed. Alternative fuels are produced and each has its place. Electric planes on shorter flights could be a reality by 2024!
Electric and hydrogen buses and trains are already in use or being tested, and green manufacturing sources are an exciting new industry to replace oil and gas. We need subsidized fares to encourage everyone to change the way they travel, from private car use to a more sustainable way.
Grant support will be difficult to understand outside of Highland.
A return to peak fare on the train for a journey of around 20 minutes costs Â£ 4.20 in Glasgow. Here in Highland, a one-way bus ticket for a similar journey costs Â£ 5, while a return ticket costs Â£ 9.
I learned a lot during my five days at the event.
Stopping population growth is the key to the climate challenge