Had things gone according to plan, 2020 was to have been the Year of Climate Action. The UK was set to host the much-anticipated UN Climate Change Conference (commonly known as COP26), and the world was set to mark not only the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement but also ten years to the deadline for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
While the COVID-19 pandemic caused numerous delays and disruption to climate action, we also saw a groundswell of new commitments from businesses and governments, and a recognition by many that the existential threat of the pandemic was a ‘warm up’ for the climate crisis. In some cases, lockdowns actually meant positive gains for the planet, as people travelled less and spent more time in their local areas. Amid the dark moments, 2020 was also a time for reflection and a year in which we learnt a lot about our priorities as individuals, as businesses and as a global society.
As we enter 2021, while the immediate need to tackle the pandemic remains, it is important that we learn from this and play our role in bringing about the change we want to see in the world.