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A Project for the COP26 – and Beyond - Systems Change Alliance

A Project for the COP26 – and Beyond

In early 2020, Arkbound Foundation began putting together a landmark publication on climate change for the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. The summit was postponed to November 2021, giving us even more time to prepare!

Climate change is an existential threat to humanity and all other species on Earth. Scientists have been saying this for over a decade: in 2019 the Union of Concerned Scientists (representing more than 11,000 scientists from 156 countries) warned that:

Planet Earth is facing a climate emergency. To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.’1

Back in September 2018, the United Nations underscored the same, with Secretary-General Guterres saying:-

There is no more time to waste. We are careering towards the edge of the abyss […] every day that passes means the world heats up a little more and the cost of our inaction mounts. Every day we fail to act is a day that we step a little closer towards a fate that none of us wants – a fate that will resonate through generations in the damage done to humankind and life on earth.”2

Despite this, for the most part, the world continues on a ‘business as usual trajectory’. Emissions are increasing, with the brief interlude of COVID-19 being nothing more than a temporary and insufficient dip. Time is running out. We cannot afford for the next COP to be like every other before it: one of insufficient promises, often themselves left unfulfilled, as CO2 emissions rocket.

Graph of climate emissions with each COP26 summit marked.

The challenges of truly addressing climate change are interlinked with our socio-economic model. In order to prevent extinction, we need to seek fundamental societal transformation. The era of exploiting one another and the planet itself is drawing to a close – the world simply cannot handle more of the same. In its place, we can look to working examples of different models. From self-sufficient ecological communities, to local currencies and cooperatives, the knowledge and experience of making a transformation already exists!

By drawing together all these accounts into one publication, we hope to set a new course for the forthcoming COP26, where localisation and systems change take precedence. Rather than pursuing minor tweaks and reforms which only serve to keep power structures in place and make little difference to emissions, a new dialogue is needed.

All too often in publications about climate change there is also a lack of representation for people from certain backgrounds – ironically, those most likely to be hardest hit first. Women in the Global South and those from non-white backgrounds are particularly under-represented. Therefore, as part of our project, we have reached out to and engaged a diverse number of people from these backgrounds to ensure their voices are properly heard. We are proud that the book contains more content from women and people of colour than that of any other climate change publication.

We hope to set a new course for the forthcoming COP26, where localisation and systems change take precedence. Rather than pursuing minor tweaks and reforms which only serve to keep power structures in place and make little difference to emissions, a new dialogue is needed.

However, simply publishing a book is not enough to change things. Even though we will be looking to produce videos, podcasts and events, we need on-going engagement, interaction and dialogue to ensure the issues covered get noticed. If you are part of the Systems Change Alliance, or just generally interested in its work, the chances are this project will strongly resonate with you. We welcome you to find out more and get involved, with more details at https://arkbound.ac.uk/cop26-2020-2021-project/

1 https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/70/1/8/5610806

2 https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/09/1018852

Photo by USGS

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