Positive Tipping Points for Transformative Change (Plenary)
The first plenary session on Positive Tipping Points for Transformative Change at the GLFClimate hybrid conference alongside COP26 demonstrated the need for a multisectoral and integrated approach towards keeping warming to 1.5°C. Everyone has a role to play by committing to lowering their emissions.
The Glasgow city council leader, Susan Aitken, illustrated the role cities play in galvanizing emissions and cities being locations for challenges and solutions.
“Over half the world’s population live in cities, and they generate over 70% of greenhouse gases,” Ms. Aitken said.
She added that so much of the climate emergency is an open agenda; within this agenda are nature-based solutions, which are vital in creating safer, cleaner, and more liveable places.
Sharing highlights from a report on Physical Science of Climate Change, Ko Barrett, the Vice-chair of the IPCC and Senior Advisor for Climate at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reiterated that climate change is widespread, rapid and intense.
The report demonstrates the causal links between human activities and extreme climate events, many of which are intensifying. Ms. Barrett indicated that as the climate continues to change, the world experiences more frequent and extreme events such as heatwaves, storms, floods, and droughts. While it is possible to reduce emissions still, there is a need for urgent action.
Ms. Barrett said, “it requires us to enact rapid large-scale reductions in the emissions of all greenhouse gases to reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, if we don’t, we will surpass not just 1.5°C of warming but even 2°C or higher of warming by the end of this century.”
Galina Angarova, the Executive Director of Cultural Survival, highlighted indigenous women’s significance in the climate space and natural resource management. She delivered a strong message that women possess knowledge beyond performing reproductive and household chores.
“We don’t only carry water or babies, but we carry solutions, we carry the future, we uplift our families, our communities, and our societies. We are not only storytellers or traditional knowledge holders; we are also land defenders and water protectors, that is why it is important to support indigenous women’s leadership,” Ms. Angarova stated.
Indigenous communities hold a close relationship with nature and champion for her conservation, protection, and preservation to serve the current and future generations.
What are the conditions needed for change to happen? What is the magic, what is the solution?
Ms. Angarova said, “it is the local brilliance of the people who live on the land that guides us to protect our land. The land informs our people on how to protect.”
The need for political goodwill was another key point raised during the plenary session. Protecting natural resources and fighting climate change ought to support and amplify the voices of indigenous communities, the youth and women.
Developing and implementing climate adaptation and mitigation interventions requires financing. Dr. Kelly Levin, the Chief of Science, Data, and Systems Change at Bezos Earth Fund, shared insights on climate finances, the need for systems change, and the use of data to inform solutions.
According to Dr. Levin, the Bezos Earth Fund has made a 3billion dollar commitment to have a 3-part approach to climate action and ecosystem restoration: 1. conservation protection, 2. restoration agenda, 3. sustainable food management and food systems and agriculture.
Dr. Levin pointed out that effecting change has no silver bullet but a series of puzzle pieces: right policies, right incentives, and behavioural change, where it will sometimes require these puzzle pieces to align with windows of opportunities.
Tony Simmons, the executive director for CIFOR-ICRAF, wrapped up the session with a proclamation that the tipping points are not just climatic, geographical, or ecological but also societal, political, scientific, financial and logistical.
Dr. Simmons lauded the value of hybrid conferences while calling for action, “let’s keep it digital to make sure we are keeping under 1.5°C.”
The #GLFClimate Conference: Forests, Food, Finance – Frontiers of Change is ongoing and various topics around, climate, restoration, food and people are being discussed of which Enviro Wild Initiative is a media partner. This summary was developed by Caroline Kibii, Environmental Scientist, Researcher and Science Writer.