Rector’s eNews – 03 November 2021/ Rector's eNews
I think it is really important that our boys should be alert to international movements and, to this end, in Monday’s assembly I spoke about the COP26 Conference which got underway in Glasgow over the past weekend. COP is an acronym for Conference of the Parties and it is 26 years since the first conference was held in 1995 – hence COP26. Up to 25 000 people from 200 countries have assembled in Scotland to further resolutions about how to turn back the tide on global warming. The world is growing warmer year by year as a result of fossil fuel emissions and a primary objective of the conference will be a drastic reduction in these emissions during the next decade. In the current world we have extreme weather conditions such as heatwaves in places like California and Australia which lead to rampant fires, floods in Germany and Western Europe and a range of other conditions which have emanated from the phenomenon of global warming. 200 countries agreed in 2015 to make changes to keep global warming “well below” 2C above “pre-industrial levels” and to try to aim for 1.5C. This is what is known as the Paris Agreement and it means that countries have to make bigger cuts in emissions than is currently happening.
The aim is to get to a zero growth in warming by 2050 when most of our boys will be into their forties and so the imperative is to create a better world for them, but we are not on track at present to reach that target, with China being a major obstacle to the world meeting those objectives. Issues up for discussion at the conference, we are told, will be a faster switch to electric cars, speeding up the phasing out of coal power and the preservation of fauna and flora and, in particular, trees.
We are each called to play our role in small ways and it is thought that, within each country, a 100 000 people will be needed to work in concert with each other to make a real difference to the reduction in carbon emissions.
So the challenge put out to our boys at Michaelhouse is what they can do to make our own environment more sustainable. I have asked them to come up with some thoughts and ideas on that topic so that we can merge those thoughts and ideas into the five year strategic plan which we are finalising for 2022. We want to save energy and play our role in saving the planet.