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COP26: Time for bold action on climate and nature

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As COP26, the global climate talks, approach, the Partnership’s Communications and Partnership Manager, Claire Jacob, reflects on the importance of this moment and gives an overview of the Partnership’s messages and activities during this time. 

With the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) making for sober reading, and the horrific scenes of flooding and wildfires in China, western Europe and Greece, the global climate talks taking place in Glasgow this November – COP26, feel even more critical.

Rising to the challenge

While eyes are on national governments, I hope that COP, and the reminder from the IPCC report of the urgent need for rapid and radical change, will help galvanise action here in Bristol.

The report warns that we can expect to hit 1.5 C warming within the next 20 years, leading to further increases in extreme weather, and that this warming will continue without rapid, significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the urgency and scale of the challenge, but there is also hope in the report, that with immediate and large-scale action we still have the opportunity to halt further warming and potentially even see some reversal.

We need to grasp this hope and use it to accelerate our response to the climate and nature crises, ensuring that economic and social injustices are tackled at the same time. People must be at the heart of decision making and climate action, as called for in the recent Institute for Public Policy Research report Fairness and opportunity: A people-powered plan for the green transition.

Bristol has already shown ambition through being the first local authority to declare climate and ecological emergencies and the development of the One City Climate and Ecological Strategies, and a range of activities and events are planned for this Autumn to amplify the existing work already taking place in the city. It is now time to match that intention and scale up efforts with increased action.

Supporting bold, transformative action

In the run-up and during COP, the Partnership is calling for a step change in efforts to tackle the climate and nature crises, for justice and inclusion to be at the heart of how change happens, and for collaboration to be key to the approach.

We want to see bold, transformative action, with those with more resource, and more responsibility for emissions, taking greater responsibility. We want local communities to be empowered and enabled to shape the transition, especially those who will be most affected by climate and nature breakdown and the changes needed to tackle them. And as we can only tackle these challenges if we work together, we want everyone to think creatively about how they can engage and support others.

At the Partnership, our contribution to this work is:

  • Supporting and empowering communities to develop co-created Climate Action Plans that deliver climate and quality of life benefits for communities through the Community Climate Action project;
  • Investing in environmental leaders from diverse communities through the Black & Green Ambassadors programme to challenge perceptions, create new opportunities and work towards a more inclusive and representative environmental movement;
  • Supporting organisations to reduce their carbon emissions through the Climate Action Programme, including through the Climate Leaders Group;
  • Sharing information and best practice, offering opportunities for collaboration and connection, and amplifying voices through our core programme.

Get involved

We have several events/opportunities planned over the coming months, to inspire action, inform, and showcase some of the amazing work that is already taking place across the city. Booking for these events will open soon, he best way to stay up-to-date about these and other opportunities is to sign up as a Partnership member.

  • COP26: Cities vs the Climate and Nature Crises, 29 September, 9.30am – 11.30am
  • Climate Action Breakfast: Creating a Climate Action Plan, 12 October
  • Festival of Future City 2021: Just Transition, 20 October, 1.30 – 4.30pm
  • Special Green Mingle to launch Annual Review 20/21, 4 November, 5.30pm – 7pm
  • Climate Peer mentor opportunities: Supporting community partners with the development of their Climate Action plans

We also want to promote the work of our members during this time, so do let us know what you’re up to and how we can help amplify your efforts.

Let’s use the opportunity of COP26 to commit to collectively taking bold and fair climate action in Bristol. It’s time to rise to the challenge.

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