Is COP26 Relevant?
The COP26 Climate Action Conference ended with 31 significant pledges and statements of action. But do they matter? This is not the forum to debate that position, however, it is important to understand the core action required to achieve even the smallest of these goals – stronger communication that facilitates the breakdown of silos that segregate data in businesses and institutions. When we have secure mechanisms to facilitate information sharing, where authorship and provenance are recorded without risk, we will accomplish global de-carbonization.
As an example, achieving the goal of making Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) the norm by 2030 will require a global investment in charging infrastructure, standardization of manufacturing and operating systems for electric vehicles, and a global adoption of emissions standards that eliminate fossil fuels as a viable energy source. Developing 196 separate versions of these three components will result in a massive failure to realize global adoption and the economies of scale required to achieve the goal. And this is just one of the pledges made by global leaders at the conference.
As important as ZEV’s, it is critical we make our building infrastructure more resilient and less dependent on fossil fuels for energy, materials, and transport. 37% of carbon emissions are generated in some form from our building infrastructure, during and after construction. The conference pledge to decarbonize our urban environments recognizes the major role building infrastructure plays in global warming. Yet, to accomplish this goal, we must share more information about building performance, create materials with less embodied carbon, and develop systems that can capture and sequester carbon in the urban environment. No small task for the almost 5.5 billion people who live in cities around the world.
What is relevant is that the statements, commitments, and pledges were not just made by political leaders; global business leaders, investors, and manufacturers signed on to the same goals. The media made much about the larger presence of polluters at the conference (including representatives from global fossil fuel companies, automakers, and oil rich countries) than attendees most heavily impacted by climate change but having these contributors a part of the commitment holds promise that they will be part of the solution.
What is also relevant is the role the larger industrialized nations must play in achieving these goals. The days of blaming others for the problem must end – we are all in this together. The commitments made for funding must be met, as the developing world lacks the financial capacity to invest in meaningful change. And the commitment to share must be upheld, we will only get better if we can all participate.
So, let’s get clear about what actions must happen first. At the top of the list is information sharing. Global industrial and business leaders must be comfortable with sharing their “secret sauce”, they must have confidence that what they share will be protected, that there will be value in the sharing, and that they can leverage that value for their own purposes. After all, business is business.
Perhaps it might seem odd that a platform like Concert would be discussing these issues in this space. However, we are a platform built on information sharing. We are a platform built on protecting what is shared. We are a platform built to support a wide range of digital information transfer, and to do it with the knowledge that the record of what is shared will survive all future derivations of technology and the information is owned by its author – forever.
So, as we settle into the start of the global holiday season and move rapidly towards the start of a new year, lets commit to expand our knowledge sharing, but do it in a way that retains the provenance of the author, while creating an immutable platform to achieve all our goals, regardless of our nation, our business, or our allegiance.
Let’s all make COP26 relevant!