Last month, world leaders, scientists, CEOs, and activists alike gathered in Glasgow, Scotland for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to discuss global progress in the fight against climate change and determine how to move forward and ensure accountability on climate commitments. COP 26 centered around an accelerated shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, focusing on “phasing down” coal and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. Despite the urgent emphasis placed on phasing down coal, though, it remains unfeasible to eliminate coal in the short-term. In fact, many coal-reliant countries will not eliminate coal usage until the 2040s or later, due in part to industrial and heavy industry sectors which are notoriously hard to decarbonize.
From October 31 to November 12, approximately 20,000 people from around the world will meet in Glasgow, Scotland for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as the COP26. This is the 26th annual Conference, and the widespread recognition of climate change and the heightened sense of urgency to act on mitigating its worst impacts is much more ubiquitous now than previous years. In fact, the premise of COP26 centers on the understated fact that, we are “currently not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”
Twenty years ago, when we first started working on a different approach to sequestering carbon dioxide, few people understood or cared. I was fortunate that my uncle, Dr. Tom McGee, a geophysicist deeply interested in the earth’s natural processes, had explained to me in the 1990s how critical global warming would become in my lifetime. He was right.