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The future we choose

TEDxGlasgow curator Gurjit Singh Lalli looks at what global thought leaders have achieved since COP26
The future we choose

This article first appeared in our COP27 special issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 11 November 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

It’s almost 12 months since COP26, when the world’s leaders gathered in Glasgow and pledged to limit global warming to 1.5°C. But what climate action has been taken since then?

In September the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued a report warning that without greater action, the impacts of climate change will be ‘increasingly devastating’.

Commenting on the report, UN secretary-general António Guterres said we are approaching ‘unchartered territories of destruction’. This against the backdrop of a turbulent 10 months of geopolitical events, a cost of living and global energy crisis and a change in UK government leadership, which has stoked the debate around fracking and drilling for gas and oil in the North Sea.

As we mark 10 years of TEDxGlasgow, we’re sharpening our focus on climate action. Our local, self-organised events are part of the not-for-profit global TEDx talks and the mission to ‘spread ideas worth doing’.

By engaging learners and sparking ideas globally, we have made an £11.5m social and economic impact in Glasgow.

Significantly, we have engaged people in learning, with 17.1m in talk views, while training 1410 volunteers, making a great impact in Scotland and the UK.

We recognised it was time to put climate action centre stage at TEDxGlasgow when António Guterres stated 2021 was a ‘make or break’ year.

Commitments from thought leaders

During COP26, our mission was to interview a diverse range of global thought leaders. We asked them what they learned and what they are going to deliver on – not by 2030, but within the next 12 months.

Sharan Burrow, CEO of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and vice-chair of The B Team, highlighted that the time is now to make plans for climate-friendly jobs with a just transition.

The ITUC said it would be fighting for people in communities in a race against time to protect the planet.

Elim Sritaba, chief sustainability officer of Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), explained how APP is innovating in economic and environmental protection, why collaboration is essential and how APP overcame a key challenge for businesses through stakeholder engagement.

PwC global chairman Bob Moritz commented on a change to renewable energies, managing travel, behaviour change at government level, the global population and reporting metrics to judge progress.

Jens-Peter Saul of Ramboll Group offered a systematic evaluation of where clients in the construction industry can do better. A transition to hydrogen and 40 projects are underway; over time, Ramboll aims to halve the CO2 generated by its employees and how things are designed.

Jesper Brodin, CEO of IKEA, said renewable energy investments, circular solutions and customer engagement are all parts of the solution. Everyone needs to be involved – through transport, raw materials, products, retail and lifestyles.

Sharing ideas for the future

Inspired by COP26, we successfully implemented our ‘Make or Break’ Climate Action Initiative (CAI) to foster collaboration, and several exciting joint ventures were born as a result.

TEDxGlasgow’s CAI enabled Asia Pulp and Paper and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to collaborate on GCU’s first Climate Justice Programme Advisory Group, which feeds into the Masters in Climate Justice and supports the development of employment and career opportunities in climate justice.

Our new theme, ‘The Future We Choose’, will explore this in detail and continue to foster collaborations to accelerate climate action. It will spotlight actions worth doing to meet the needs of the most vulnerable while supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for an inclusive, climate-resilient transformational plan across health, wellbeing, energy, food, industry and society.

A call to action

‘The Future We Choose’ is our response to climate change and a call to action to government and leaders of public and private organisations to work with us on shared ideas for securing our future.

We are determined to effect more change that is both significant and authentic, and we can only achieve that by working together.

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