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Opinion piece by Stephen Castree

An Eco-friendly recovery

As we start to look at what our world looks like following around four months of inactivity, many have commented on the improved situation in the air around major cities. It is true, with less travel, so we are seeing less pollution at ground level. We saw the same impact post the recession at the end of 2008 and into 2009 as the world pace slowed down. Following this, and following each other recession where there was a dip, and for different lengths of time, but then we subsequently reached new highs for CO2 emissions. The Independent newspaper reported in 2010 that CO2 emissions ‘reached a record 10 billion tonnes, nearly 6% higher than in 2009’.

With an eye on the future we expect that the 2020 CO2 emissions will be less than 2019 but as we seek new ways to source our power and to replace the use of fossil fuels, it is likely that economic recovery and then growth will cause CO2 emissions to increase again. We have not solved the problem and it would be expected that even with the reduced economic activity will still have put more CO2 into the atmosphere than we have removed, we may have delayed the point of no return forecast by scientist by a few months, but we have not won this battle.

The term ‘a green recovery’ has been used as leaders in the political and business sphere focus their attentions on the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the critical goal of getting to carbon neutral, where any CO2 we put into the atmosphere, is also removed. What does this mean for all of us?

In order to have an eco-friendly recovery, the countries of the world will continue to need to meet, and beat the targets set in the Paris Agreement. The 26th  Conference of the Parties (‘COP 26’), the 197 countries to have signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,  has been moved from 2020 into 2021, and this will be a critical event. Governments of the World have been tacking COVID-19 and they need to come together again to re-commit to the agreements made previously on emissions. In individual states, policies supporting the use of low carbon energy sources need to be strengthened and entrepreneurs and scientists need to be incented and motivated to drive the changes we need in our energy sector in the same manner in which our scientists have come together to attempt to identify a vaccine for COVID-19.

The biggest businesses will be mandated to be carbon neutral as regulation requires, and governments can help drive change to focus on solar panels and electric vehicles with taxation policies, but what about individuals. At an individual level, a small and medium business level, a school level, a community or club level, everyone needs to come together to help as we truly are all in the same boat here, we are all on the mother ship earth, and we all need to pull in the same direction.

At Climate Wise, we believe that choice is important, and that people, as individuals, will, and should have the freedom to choose the way they want to live their lives. We are working with all individuals and groups as we strive to provide a platform for everyone to be capable of offsetting their own, and others, footprints.

For individuals, take a look at the articles on the Climate Wise website which outline things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet, from monitoring your travel, considering your diet, your use of certain types of product. You can choose how to live your life. As we move into the next phase of our development, you will be able to estimate your own footprint on our Climate Wise Calculator. This tool will allow you to assess your personal impact that remains once you have mode your lifestyle choices.

We then provide you a simple and easy way to donate to projects which are funded by likeminded people and groups to wipe your footprint clean, or you can even help someone else to wipe their footprint clean too. Each quarter you will receive a project update and this will include a summary of your impact in terms of what you have offset.

For schools, we have developed educational materials which can be used in assemblies or to supplement any personal, social education given and at Climate Wise we are here to help at a primary or secondary level and we will work with schools as they can have a carbon neutral goal.

For businesses, the Climate Wise Business Solution allows you to offer to your staff a benefit as the business offsets the footprints of its staff members and we can work with you and your teams to assess the overall business footprint which you may also choose to offset.

There are solutions at each level and for everyone. We truly can all contribute, and we can make a difference.

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