COP26 observers Reena Sayani and Suma Mani tell what they hope to see happen at COP26. Plus they explain how their research into woodland creation and renewable energy relates to climate change.
Reena Sayani is a Grantham Scholar from the School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield. Her research is on sustainable energy for all. Specifically, she works on off-grid, renewable energy sources for communities in developing nations. If you want updates from Reena at COP26 then you can follow her on Twitter. And if you want to learn more about Reena’s work in renewable energy read How to make sustainable energy for all.
I want to witness the world stage of climate change talks. I’m interested in how climate risk is communicated across various regions, societies and cultures. Particularly, how leaders debate issues around climate change and what actions they want to take to mitigate and adapt to changing climate.
I am looking forward to hearing from leaders of developing countries (from both government and civil societies). Their needs for finance, past experiences and future opportunities for sustainable development while managing growing economies.
Ironically, I am afraid that the group of leaders I am looking forward to hearing from are the ones probably missing from COP for various reasons.
COP is a singular platform which gathers the world leaders together to talk about climate change. It’s a platform for civil societies, governments and scientists to come together to act and amend plans to make the world resilient and sustainable.
There might be a bias in opinions because the body of the UN itself has a disproportionate distribution of decision makers. Moreover, COP involves Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) from countries around the world but they are still pledges instead of ‘lead by example’ or ‘evidence based’ action plans.
Also, I am sceptical about mobilising finance – transparency on the $100B pledge is needed. If the money is not clearly communicated, then COP negotiations may slide to the other side of optimism.
Negotiations that can support equitable resource distribution and just technology transition for the Global South.
I am hopeful of COP delivering its promises but will it bring meaningful change? It’s too early to say.
My research is on energy access by decentralised renewable energy sources for communities living off-grid in developing nations. Through my research, I aim to understand energy needs of people living off-grid and provide techno-social solutions to energy access which can potentially make them self-sustainable and resilient to climate change.
The communities I work with, and others like them, are some of the most vulnerable to climate change. Yet they are marginalized in terms of resource distribution and economic development. Energy access is vital to enable inclusive and equitable futures, and technology transfer to these societies is key to energy access.
Suma Mani is a Grantham Scholar from the School of Biosciences at the University of Sheffield. Her research looks at opportunities and constraints for woodland creation in the Peak District. Recently, Suma contributed to POSTnote 636 Woodland Creation (POST is UK parliament’s in-house source of analysis of public-policy issues).
My (interdisciplinary) research (comprising ecology and social sciences) focuses on local woodland creation and rewilding programmes by various stakeholders in land management to help satisfy Net Zero goals in the UK and improve biodiversity.
As a researcher, I’m keen to witness the official negotiations and outcomes of COP26.
Also, for me networking is a great plus.
Overall, I’m excited to witness what emerges for climate action to tackle the greatest challenge of our generation. Especially given that the pandemic has added to the ongoing climate emergency.
World leaders and major polluters.
I’ll be able to answer this better once I attend COP. I’d like to witness the levels at which each group engages (such as indigenous peoples).
What the outcomes of COP26 means for the UK (and India – my home country) and how it relates to my research.
I believe meaningful change is possible through collective action. COP certainly provides a platform for this.
The main image is of Suma Mani.
If you want more from our observers at COP26, then you find them all here: Grantham Centre at COP26
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