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COP26 & Climate highlights 2021

COP26 - The Glasgow Declaration 

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. It is a global threat to people, planet and welfare. If we don’t act now tourism CO2 emissions could rise 25% or more by 2030 compared to 2016.1

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a 7% global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, which is a step in the right direction as a 7% annual reduction in emissions will be required in the next decade.2 But as emissions could rebound rapidly once we are able to travel again, the need to step up climate action in tourism remains urgent.

During a side-event at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, The Glasgow Declaration has been established which is a commitment to a decade of tourism climate action. It proposes a coordinated plan for tourism in support of the Paris Agreement to halve emissions by 2030 and reduce them to zero by 2050.

The Glasgow Declaration3  is aligned with 5 pathways: 

(1)    Measure: Measure and disclose all travel and tourism-related emissions, aligned with the guidelines on measurement, reporting and verification.

(2)    Decarbonize: Set and implement targets in the areas of transportation, infrastructure, accommodation, activities, and catering that are linked with climate science. The voluntary carbon sector plays here an important role. It is not THE solution to climate change but is PART of the solutions.

(3)    Regenerate: As most of tourism is situated in climate-vulnerable areas, it's critical to assist visitors and hosts in balancing their interactions with nature: restoring and protecting ecosystems, supporting nature's ability to absorb carbon, and ensuring biodiversity, food security, and water availability.

(4)    Collaborate: Work together and share evidence of dangers and solutions to strengthen capacity for action at all levels with stakeholders.

(5)    Finance: Ensure that we have sufficient resources and capacity to meet objectives set out in tourism climate plans, including the financing of training, research, and implementation of effective fiscal and policy tools to accelerate transition.

ÿ          1 https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/book/10.18111/9789284416660

ÿ          2 https://unfccc.int/news/cut-global-emissions-by-76-percent-every-year-for-next-decade-to-meet-15degc-paris-target-un-report#:~:text=Cut%20Global%20Emissions%20by%207.6,Paris%20Target%20%2D%20UN%20Report%20%7C%2

ÿ          3 https://www.oneplanetnetwork.org/sites/default/files/2021-11/GlasgowDeclaration_EN_0.pdf

Climate highlights 2021 

 As we are approaching the end of the year, it's time to look back at 2021. 

Climate change is scary and it is sometimes difficult to find hope in such an often disheartening fight. However, there are some climate wins that happened in 2021 that bring us hope into the new year!

(1)    COP26—the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Glasgow

Few would describe the Glasgow Climate Summit as an overall “win” - but progress was made.

More than 100 leaders agreed to end deforestation by 2030 as part of an agreement to conserve the world's forests.

Over a hundred countries have also declared a new strategy to reduce methane emissions by 30%. This is another step in the right direction, as methane is becoming more recognized as one of the most potent greenhouse gases.

(2)    The first legal definition of ‘ecocide

It refers to the destruction humans knowingly do to the environment, from deforestation to ocean plastic pollution.

(3)    A mega marine protected area (MPA) was created by Panama, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica. These countries agreed to join their marine reserves to form one huge corridor where sea turtles, whales, sharks and rays can safely migrate.

(4)    It is the first time that a major fossil fuel company is held accountable for its contribution to climate change. Shell has to radically change course and reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030.

(5)    The European Central Bank has announced a new strategy to take the first steps in stopping the financing of companies that use fossil fuels. We know that this is only the beginning and that the Bank still has much more to do to address the urgency of the climate crisis. But this sends a clear message to banks around the world that the era of fossil finance is coming to an end.



We wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy 2022! 

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