“The future depends on the results of the climate summit in Glasgow,” said Oslo City Councilor Raymond Johansen when he welcomed representatives of business, government, academia, diplomacy and the media to Bellona’s meeting on COP26 at Oslo City Hall on Wednesday.
Together with the Sahara Forest Project (SFP), Bellona gathered partners and key players to discuss their expectations of the all-important Glasgow summit. Bellona will host a pavilion within the COP26 “blue zone,” located inside the negotiation area. The partners of the Bellona pavilion – which is the only blue zone pavilion from Norway – are Aker Horizons, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo Municipality, the Research Council, Widerøe and SINTEF.
A demanding task
“We have a demanding task ahead of us,” Johansen said in opening remarks at City Hall. “Oslo is a very small city, but our ambition is to be a city that takes the lead and shows the way.” He mentioned, among other things, the work Oslo has done with emission-free construction sites.
Also present at the meeting in Oslo City Hall was the host nation for COP26, Great Britain, represented by the British Ambassador to Norway, Richard Wood. The Italian Ambassador Alberto Colella was also present. Italy, together with the United Kingdom, holds the presidency of COP26.
Wood emphasized in his speech that new commitments must be made in Glasgow, and that COP26 is the last chance to save the planet from severe climate change. Colella said it was critical that all countries negotiating in Glasgow show a willingness to compromise during COP26.
Must be solution oriented
Director General Georg Børsting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who has a long career as a negotiator at UN climate conferences, spoke about why the climate summit is important for Norway and for our position in the world. Norway’s chief negotiator Henrik Hallgrim Eriksen from the Ministry of Climate and the Environment, who recently returned from the pre-COP event in Milan, gave a status from inside the negotiations just under three weeks before it kicks off in Glasgow.
Bellona founder Frederic Hauge participated in the very first climate and environmental summit under the auspices of the UN in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and has a long career from the UN climate summits. He says that COP26 is the most important climate summit of our time.
Change absolutely necessary
Sustainability director Jeanett Bergan of Aker Horizons talked about why a major industrial player such as Aker is investing in a presence at COP26.
Fourth to 50 gigatons of CO2 are still emitted annually in the world, and it must stop,” said Bergan. “All countries are now feeling the effects of global warming. The pandemic showed how quickly the world community can turn around when we have to. We are going to Glasgow to present solutions.”
SFP General manager Kjetil Stake emphasized how COP26 could play a role in the world’s desert areas.
“We need a radical change in the way we produce food, and our project in the desert in Jordan is a living example of being ambitious in the climate fight,” he said. “The more vegetables that are eaten from our desert plant, the less CO2 there is in the atmosphere.”
Efforts must increase fivefold
Andreas Kollbye Aks, Director of Strategic Development at Widerøe, said that Widerøe is going to Glasgow to talk about electric aircraft, and revealed that the first electric aircraft for commercial traffic will likely be airborne by 2026.
Fritjof Unander, Area Director for Sustainability and Green Shift in the Research Council, spoke about Mission Innovation, a global initiative to accelerate public and private innovation in clean energy to tackle climate change, make clean energy affordable for consumers and create green jobs and commercial opportunities.
Nils Røkke, Director of Sustainability at SINTEF, said that there is a big difference between what has been done so far and what needs to be done now in order to achieve a zero-emission society.
“There are important technologies that must be developed,” Røkke said. “We need to double our efforts on research and innovation, and we are going to Glasgow with concrete examples,