Climate Action takes centre stage
Julie Longton, Head of PR & Campaigns, gives her views on the next two weeks and why they are crucial for climate action
As we approach COP28, heads of state, government officials, industry leaders, academics and civil society will take centre stage again to assess progress on tackling climate change. This year, the first Global Stocktake will reveal if we are on track to achieve our climate goals, the first time since adopting the Paris Agreement in 2015. This will allow nations to work out what action needs to be taken to bridge the gaps… And unfortunately, it does feel like there are lots of gaps.
There has been real concern over the past few months that countries are backsliding on green measures that will limit global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The fact that the goalposts may be changing is a worry.
But rather than dwell on the negatives, there’s cause to be positive too about action that is being taken.
This week, a Virgin Atlantic flight flew scientists, aviation leaders, politicians and journalists from London Heathrow to New York JFK powered by used cooking oil – or as it is now better known, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Although the flight has faced criticism for claiming to offer ‘guilt-free flying’, it does show appetite to develop more greener fuels with Government aiming to have five SAF plants under construction by 2025.
At a local level, we’re seeing first-hand how small solutions can make big impacts. A toy charity in Caerphilly that collects unwanted toys and donates them to children across the Valleys has saved 9000 kg of plastic from landfill in just 2 years. The Toybox Project works in conjunction with CreateCaerphilly to recycle incomplete games or puzzles, with Repair Café Wales to repair any broken electrical or wooden toys and with Sauring Supersaurus to recycle plastic toys that are broken beyond repair into jewellery and household items. It’s a brilliant initiative that helps low-income families as well as reducing the amount of single use plastic going to landfill.
We look forward to hearing about more inspirational initiatives like this as part of Wales Climate Week – which brings people together to consider policies and regional delivery solutions for tackling climate change. This year, the theme is fairness, addressing how we can ensure that benefits associated with climate policies are distributed fairly across society.
Climate change affects everyone, but the impacts will be felt disproportionately by children and young people; older adults; people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, people of colour and people living on a low income.
Local government, businesses and organisations across Wales are putting in place adaptation planning to reduce how people will be impacted. Our health and wellbeing depends on the air we breathe, the food on our plates and safe homes – these are all things now at risk from extreme heat and flooding. So, the next two weeks are going to be critical ones for finding solutions and demonstrating the political will to act.
There are many things that each of us can do as individuals. Go to climateaction.gov.wales to find out more.