Collective action is our hope for COP21

  • Posted: 02 Dec 2015

This week, the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) will take place in Paris to discuss climate change on a global scale. At a time where UK politics is frustrating progress towards a cleaner, greener future, it is heartening to look at the bigger picture, and there certainly seems to be a sense of hope and resilience from COP21.

"There is an overwhelming move towards collective action as more people are becoming aware of the devastating impact of climate change." Matthew Clayton, Executive Director, Triodos Renewables

We think it should be a given that COP21 addresses the enabling of renewables. Setting ambition and targets for energy storage to complement renewable energy generation is the natural next step for governments to agree. Given what has been achieved since the ‘failure’ of the Climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009, we have reasons to be optimistic. In 2014, 48% of new electricity generation built globally was renewable(1)  and since 2010, there has been a 2.5 fold growth of renewable electricity generation in the UK alone(2) . The decision makers can no longer have concerns about the availability of the technology to deliver binding targets.

Additionally, there are plenty of other technologies which can be used to support wider renewable infrastructure. There is innovation in transport with electric vehicles able to consume and store renewably sourced energy; there are demand side management tools allowing households and industry alike to better shape demand to renewable supply; and energy efficiency measures driving down overall demand. Talking about this on a global scale will further the positive impact renewables can have.

I can’t say what the outcome of COP21 will be, but I think that there is an overwhelming move towards collective action as more people are becoming aware of the devastating impact of climate change to our environment all around the world. COP21 provides a platform for those who have experienced global warming first hand, as well as those who want to take a stand and create tangible change.

We’ve seen this surge closer to home, too. We’ve welcomed 800 new shareholders into Triodos Renewables in the past year, which shows considered interest in renewables, combating climate change, and the role of money doing good. With the millennial generation caring more about the impact of their environmental and financial actions, I can’t help but be hopeful.

The fact that there are more voices, with individuals and communities being joined by big business and finance gives me hope that the governments representing our shared future will be compelled to deliver at COP21, and in 2016 we can work towards a better, cleaner future.

2 DECC 2010 and 2015