What is COP26, How does it affect me and What can I do?
The up-and-coming weeks (31st October – 12th November 2021) are of the utmost importance for countries around the world as we come together for the COP26 summit. The UK in partnership with Italy will host the summit in Glasgow, bringing together parties to push forward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Paris Agreement was the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement, adopted at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015. The Paris Agreement set out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
Why does limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees matter?
At 2 degrees of global warming, there would be widespread and severe impacts on people and nature. A third of the world’s population would be regularly exposed to severe heat, leading to health problems and more heat-related deaths. Almost all warm-water coral reefs would be destroyed. What you may not know is that over half a billion people depend on reefs for food, income, and protection. As well as protecting coastlines and preservation of biodiversity. If coral reefs were gone, there would be rapid erosion of coastlines and many small island countries may even disappear.
At 1.5 degrees, the impacts would be serious however less severe than if it was 2 degrees. There would be lower risks of food and water shortages, lower risks to economic growth, and fewer species at the risk of extinction. Human threats like air pollution, disease, malnutrition, and extreme heat exposure would lower. Every fraction of a degree matters. Therefore, countries must truly dedicate their time to implementing alternatives to keep the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.
What happens at a Conference Of the Parties (COP)?
United Nations climate change conferences are among the largest international meetings in the world. There are two different zones- the Blue Zone and the Green Zone. The Blue Zone is for the people registered with the UN, tasked with coordinating the global response to the threat of climate change. This is where countries will meet for both formal negotiations and informal consultations. The Green Zone is for the public. There will be a wide range of events from workshops, presentations, and demonstrations of technology.
There are several technical issues to be finalised at COP26. For instance, the funding for loss and damage, Nature-based solutions (how forests, agriculture, and ecosystems) can become a climate solution for absorbing carbon and protecting against climate impacts. As well as Carbon market mechanisms, which would allow countries to purchase carbon credits from another country to allow the purchasing country to continue to emit within its borders.
Ahead of COP26, the Environmental Bill
Ahead of COP26, the UK Government has brought forward changes to help improve and strengthen the Environment Bill, which has just gone through the final amendments stage before Royal Assent. Part of the new bill is that it is a legislative requirement that all developments will be required to demonstrate and deliver a 10% net gain in biodiversity. It is expected that this will have to be delivered both on and off-site to ensure that the delivery of housing still meets local and national needs.
What is Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)?
Biodiversity describes all variety of life on earth. This covers individual species, communities of creatures, and entire ecosystems like forests or coral reefs. In brief terms, Biodiversity Net Gain is known as the approach to development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than before.
Increasing rather than decreasing the levels of biodiversity present on or offsite. Replanting somewhere close by to replenish what was removed during the construction process. BNG should be seen as an essential part of the process rather than another mountain to climb. Keeping the importance of nature conservation and working towards environmental priorities such as achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Where we come in
We aim to reverse climate change through technology, collaboration, and education. We are the leading technology-first organisation to connect individuals and organisations who are wanting to reduce their carbon footprints, with world-leading habitat creation and education programmes around the world.
Providing the world’s only fully integrated digital green marketplace. We also leverage our online learning pedigree to provide some of the world’s poorest communities with the agricultural and husbandry education that is so crucial for the long-term sustainability of our projects.
The Biodiversity Net Gain Partnership has developed a free, fully auditable online platform for Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), developers, landowners, and their agents to efficiently meet BNG commitments with ease.
How our system can help you
Local Planning Authorities
Our mechanism allows local planning authorities to evaluate, monitor, and if necessary, enforce the delivery of biodiversity net gain offsets associated with developments within their administrative areas.
LPA’s will be able to connect developments with available land parcels that can fulfil the required BNG units. This full auditability throughout the entire platform allows LPAs to track all parties’ progress throughout the BNG process over the full 30- year term. Our centralised platform means that LPAs are able to manage the entire end-to-end process of Biodiversity Net Gain. (To learn more about LPA benefits, read our benefits under our Biodiversity Net Gain page, or contact us directly.)
One of the likely impacts on a property developer attempting to achieve BNG net gain on-site is a reduction in the area of that site that you’re able to build on – your Gross Development Value (GDV). For a one-off fee, you can purchase offset credits directly from us and we will take on your commitment at one of our specialist ecology sites (habitat banks).
Some of the benefits for property developers include the immediate purchase options through our online portal, BNG offset sites throughout the UK, and no restriction on the number of credits you require. There is just a one-off payment and no risk due to all agreements being underpinned by English Law.
Property developers and agents alike agree the 10% of BNG will be near-impossible to do on-site. Therefore, the new Environment Bill allows developers to purchase ‘offset credits’ from a different site. This is where landowners come in. You can be paid a guaranteed, index linked, annual income of £850 per/ha for land used in the scheme. (To find out what you would need to do as a Landowner, read our benefits under our Biodiversity Net Gain page, or contact us directly.)
Importance of COP26 and How we can help
Sadly, the world is currently not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. According to research, the world needs to halve emissions over the next decade and reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century if we are to limit global temperature rises.
With this being said, the world is making progress. Around 70% of the world’s economy is now committed to reaching net-zero emissions, up from 30% when the UK took over as incoming COP Presidency. The UK is the largest producer of offshore wind energy in the world, and we have announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030.
As a country, the government have stated commitment to planting trees on 30,000 hectares of land each year by 2025.Helping rejuvenate habitat loss and deforestation. Lastly, solar and wind are now cheaper than new coal and gas power plants in two-thirds of countries around the world.
The aim of COP26 is to begin the implementation of actions to reduce emissions, strengthen adoption and resilience to climate impact and scape up finance and support. This in turn will protect and restore nature and empower actions of togetherness.
As individuals, keep pushing onwards with your contribution to work with the earth and not against it. We hope the results of COP26 for countries around the world will be of a positive notion. We as people and businesses can move towards finding the best alternatives to reach our zero-emission goal.
The BNG Partnership is committed to reversing biodiversity loss in the UK and around the world. Through our unrivalled technology, we provide the fastest and easiest, fully managed solution for property developers to purchase BNG offset credits, landowners to commit their land to the scheme, and local planning authorities to manage Biodiversity Net Gain. To learn more about the process in more detail, visit our website. (www.sequest.eco).