COP26 has come to a close in Glasgow and the Glasgow Climate Pact has been agreed. Alok Sharma, the President of COP26, describes it as a ‘fragile win’. The world will now need to act to ensure we all safely transition to a zero carbon economy and hold global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
During this last year, it has been uplifting to see philanthropy taking a more active role in addressing climate change around the world. For example, we were part of the F20 Platforms Climate Solutions webinar (via Zoom) where we shared ideas with foundations from all around the world, especially those in G20 countries. We were invited to sign the International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change by WINGS, the global support organisation for foundations. We funded the Smart Energy Council’s Global Race to Zero Summit where we were inspired by the decarbonisation plans and achievements of many local and international presenters. In addition to granting, we have also continued to focus on our key initiatives like the Clean Technology Powerhouse and Climate Safe Homes and Nest Economy Jobs.
As we now focus on reducing emissions by at least 50% by 2030, as recommended in the IPCC report in August this year, foundations like ours can play many important roles. We can fund organisations that are developing policy solutions and demonstration projects across all the areas of our economy. Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation is already working in many of these areas especially housing, food and energy. We must support organisations to share roadmaps to zero (with 2030 and 2050 time horizons) which create new jobs in emerging and transitioning sustainable sectors. These must be good quality jobs and pathways for people already facing disadvantage must be built. As we learn to live in the new COVID normal, there are opportunities to reduce social and economic disadvantage while building our role as a clean technology superpower, as presented by Professor Ross Garnaut, Beyond Zero Emissions, the Smart Energy Council and many others.
Supporting climate resilience is critical. We must direct resources and attention to the current and forecast health impacts of climate change and prepare communities to respond to increased disasters such as floods and bushfires. For example, our Hot Spots program is preparing vulnerable communities for heatwaves.
Responding to climate change means understanding that we are at a critical moment and that every effort must be made between now and 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
There is great power in collective philanthropy and collaboration both locally and globally. Together we can contribute to funding the shifts that are required to address the climate crisis. As Alok Sharma said yesterday: “the hard work starts now”.
Dr Catherine Brown OAM
Chief Executive Officer