The president of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Dr Adam Read, has called for global leaders to recognise the crucial role that recycling and resource management has to play in supporting decarbonisation, branding the lack of ‘resources and waste’ representation in the COP26 programme a ‘critical oversight’.
During this week in Glasgow (31 Oct-12 Nov), COP26 will focus the world’s attention on the mechanisms and commitments needed for delivering net zero worldwide and mitigating the rise in global temperature. By collaborating across multiple sectors – including energy, finance and transport – the event seeks to unify efforts and promote opportunities between governments, businesses and the public to enable the delivery of these high-level objectives.
However, despite waste and resource management being an integral component in meeting global targets, Dr Read says the industry has been “overlooked and left with no seat at the table”. He went on to say: “Whilst we welcome the recent publication of the UK government’s net-zero strategy and recognise COP26 is a fantastic opportunity to get global, coordinated action on climate change, the fact resources and waste has to all intents and purposes been left off the agenda has me completely stumped.
“In 2018, sector activities resulted in almost 50 million tonnes of CO2 emissions being avoided across the economy – the equivalent to taking 10 million cars off British roads.
“Creating a circular economy and a world beyond waste – where resource efficiency is maximised, the waste hierarchy adhered to, and our materials put back to use – could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 39 per cent.
“The fact that the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 (COP26) hasn’t fully recognised the integral part the resources and waste sector has to play in helping to reach net-zero targets, not just in the UK, but globally, is a critical oversight on their part.”
In response to there being so little relating to the resources and waste agenda on the official COP26 programme, several ‘fringe’ events will be taking place in and around Glasgow and the UK that are dedicated to raising the important role that resources and waste have to play in any serious attempt to reduce the UK’s GHG emissions.