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UK COP26 presidency unveils visions of a global net zero future

How can different geographies and organisations work together to achieve a #NetZero future?

18 June 2021

We are very proud to be involved in a ground-breaking new international collaboration between academics, business, civil society and citizens. This collaboration has been unveiled today by the UK COP26 Presidency (Friday 18 June), aimed at helping all nations of the world envision what a climate-resilient, net zero future would look like for them.


The ‘Visions for a Net Zero Future’ will bring together academics, business, civil society and citizens to look at the innovations and approaches that could deliver a greener, carbon-neutral society. The project will develop six visions, each focusing on a different region around the world - the UK, Jamaica, Brazil, Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and India.


The project will look at issues like electricity generation, agriculture, waste and water management, building design, reforestation and ocean conservation.


It will also demonstrate the advantages of making the transition to net zero, including for health, economic growth, and security, and to create benefits including cleaner air, cheaper energy sources, green jobs, protected biodiversity, and safer communities.


The UK was the first major economy to enshrine a net zero target in law, legislating to end its contribution to climate change by 2050. Ambitious policy action has seen the UK achieve record clean growth in the last three decades with its economy growing by 78% and emissions decreasing by 44% - a faster reduction than any other G7 nation.


The six ‘visions’ from the project will be presented ahead of the COP26 Summit in November, to demonstrate the path forward and bolster the COP26 Presidency's key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and ensuring communities across the world are resilient to the risks posed by the changing climate.


COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma, said:


"The science is clear that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to put the world on a path to net zero emissions by the middle of the century.


“This wonderfully innovative project will help communities around the world visualise how they can help achieve this and inspire the concrete action we need to keep that crucial 1.5C goal within sight ahead of COP26."


UK Energy and Climate Change Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:


“This new flagship project brings together the best and brightest scientists with communities around the world, helping drive forward global efforts to tackle climate change by putting their voices at the heart of the green transition.


“The exciting visions developed through this science and innovation project will aim to inspire people across the globe ahead of COP26, improving our understanding of what net zero means for us all and the wide-ranging benefits of achieving it.”


The project is both academic and regionally driven, delivered by a global consortium led by Deloitte and facilitated by the University of Cambridge, AECOM, Radley Yeldar and One Young World. The consortium includes academic representation from each of the six regions.


The project brings together a broad group of regional stakeholders including young people, indigenous and rural communities, civil society, business, industry and government. Through a series of virtual workshops, this group will explore the evidence around different solutions, share their perspectives and determine their collective vision of the region’s future.


Hannah Routh, climate change and sustainability partner at Deloitte, said:


“The COP26 visions will help to encourage bold climate commitments as well as action, as we move towards a climate resilient, net-zero future. In the run up to COP26 and beyond, it’s incredibly important that we take a science-led, collaborative approach by involving the public, business and governments in conversations about how to reach our climate goals.


“This in turn provides decision-makers across the globe with the resources and support needed to accelerate climate policy.”


Dr Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero, said:


“This important approach to envisioning a resilient and just net-zero future recognises that each part of the planet faces different climate challenges. Cambridge Zero is pleased to support ‘Visions for a Net Zero Future’ by bringing together experts from around the world, harnessing local knowledge to provide the evidence base to inspire action and create a better future for everyone.”


Colin Wood, Chief Executive, Europe, AECOM, said:


“To tackle the climate crisis, we must all be prepared to engage, show leadership, share our net zero resilience ambitions for the good of the world; and then deliver on them. In the true collaborative spirit of COP26, the consortium that has come together to deliver the ‘Visions for a Net Zero Future’ project will bring some of the most ambitious and innovative thinking to deliver a sustainable legacy that we can all be proud to put our names to.


“We are proud to support the COP26 Presidency's key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.”


Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Adviser of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Senior Champion of the project, said:


“International collaboration in a fair and equitable way is essential in achieving a net zero world. Science for solutions will be critical in ensuring this is both sustainable and resilient. This project will bring together worldwide counterparts, working closely together, to utilise the best science to identify realistic paths to a brighter future.”


This project is an example of the UK’s ambition to help both at home and in nations around the world to tackle climate change and build back greener, building on the UK’s track record of supporting and spurring on climate action from other countries ahead of COP26.


The visions and research findings of the project are set to be published in September 2021, acting as world-class evidence-based insights that will support a solutions-focussed COP26 in which science, innovation and evidence are at the forefront. Find out more about the collaboration here, via COP26.