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Blog Post 12 November 2021

What did we learn at COP26?

Our experts went to Glasgow to learn from others. Find out what they’re bringing back to their teams

Jennifer Cameron, environmental and quality officer

My highlight was attending the panel event ‘Not without us! Pathways to a gender just transition’. It was great to hear experiences from women around the world who are working to achieve a social-ecological transformation. I learnt about the importance of including different voices, particularly those from marginalised groups, when discussing ways to combat climate change. I also learnt about why some people are more engaged with the climate crisis than others. Understanding this will help me when speaking to those who don’t recognise the urgency.

Stew Horne, head of policy

My highlight was hearing about innovation in heating. Heat is such a big part of what we do at Energy Saving Trust and it’s incredible to see such powerful and important innovation being deployed in Glasgow. You can read about in this in my blog. My second highlight was learning more about Rolls-Royce’s 100% electric racing plane. What has COP26 achieved? Well, there are commitments on paper but do these go far enough? No, but this is considerable progress that can and will need to be ratcheted up.

Laura McGadie, group head of energy

I got the sense that there is real coalescing of wills and resolve to work together across all sectors to tackle climate change with real urgency. We only really have nine years to make massive changes. It was a reminder of how important it is for our work to start with local problems and challenges and find solutions that have multiple benefits. Being at COP26 has taught me to keep at it, and to do more to influence others.

Katie Woodward, content editor

The fact the COP26 took place in the UK has really drummed up awareness. I hope it inspires more people to reduce their own impact. While many may be sceptical of the ability of governments and leaders to get the job done, I think it’s shown that if everyone plays their part, collectively we can make a big difference. For me, it’s highlighted the importance of listening and reacting to the climate conversation on social media. Our best engagements with our followers have been where we reacted to external events. By listening to what our followers and readers want to know about, we can give them a better user experience.

Tim Anderson, group head of transport

The streets and venues were full of different viewpoints but with a collective sense of purpose that the world needs to change now. I have learnt that collaboration is the only way we can tackle this emergency. Focusing on ourselves does not deliver the scale of action required and while we can achieve good things on our own, we can achieve greater things together. I will be looking to build stronger partnerships, deeper coalitions, and better friendships to meet the challenge and take Energy Saving Trust to the next level.

Sarah Hambly, partnerships and communications manager

Being at COP26 has re-emphasised the importance of international collaboration. Forging positive working relationships with colleagues around the world was a critical part of delivering our events programme and indeed attending the conference itself. Collaboration has always been an important part of my day-to-day work on Efficiency for Access, but I am going to look for new ways to expand the international community that I work with.

Angela Howarth, group director of marketing and communications

There’s momentum to move quickly, and the next decade is about action, but young people are not feeling heard and getting frustrated. I learnt about some great projects, such as tree planting in Freetown, and listened to an amazing discussion with Yuval Noah Harari, author of 21 Lessons, who questioned why global governments could not simply take 2% of GDP to address climate change globally. Finally, I was proud to hear examples cited from across Wales and Scotland because it’s this work that matters to Energy Saving Trust and it’s now being talked about on a global stage.

Emilie Carmichael, head of international

Seeing what has been over a year’s worth of collaboration and hard graft for our International Team come to fruition at COP26 was a proud moment. In our role as co-secretariat of the Efficiency for Access Coalition we organised three well attended events that have raised the Coalition’s profile and mission to accelerate clean energy access for the world’s poorest people. On a personal note, hearing from youth activist at the ‘Friday’s for the Future March’ has made me think about what else I can do to raise awareness of the climate emergency in my own community.

Last updated: 15 November 2021