At the end of the COP26 UN Climate Conference, the European Commission has supported the consensus reached by over 190 countries after two weeks of intense negotiations. According to the European Commission, COP26 has resulted in the completion of the Paris Agreement rulebook and kept the Paris targets alive, giving a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Now, the question is – how far has the conference been able to come out with satisfactory resolutions? In the next paragraphs, we will get to see an overview of that.

Ashden is a London-based charity that works in the field of sustainable energy and development. The organisation has been spotlighting and supporting climate and energy innovators in low-income countries and the UK since 2001.

At COP26, the 2021 Ashden Awards honoured nine outstanding low carbon innovators from the UK and around the world. These organisations are creating change in areas including energy access, natural climate solutions, green jobs and skills, and community engagement in climate action. With 254 climate champions so far having been celebrated through the awards, the majority of the winners are still expanding their reach and impact, and many of the alumni attended COP26 to present their solutions at various events.

Nine trailblazing climate pioneers from around the world stand with the President of Costa Rica, at the Ashden Awards ceremony at COP26. Their innovations help local communities decarbonise and gain livelihoods…
Credit: Andy Aitchison/Ashden

Expressing his take as the COP26 draws to a close, Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb said, “At COP26 in Glasgow, leaders have pledged action tomorrow – when we need radical change today. The proven, practical solutions that can deliver lower emissions and climate justice already exist. With COP done and dusted, we need far more support for the frontline innovators proving climate action is realistic and creates benefits for all, such as new and better jobs.

They are the ones retraining the UK’s plumbers and builders, bringing clean energy to Africa’s villages and refugee camps, and helping people protect their fields and forests. The difference in attitude between these pioneers and those in power is wider than the River Clyde.

A woman paints a modular roof with heat-reflecting white paint in India. Mahila Housing Trust gives advice and access to credit and subsidies for locally-appropriate solutions and roof materials specially designed to reduce heat…
Credit: Ashden

It’s also time for a greater focus on young people, and the communities already taking on the climate emergency. We simply must get behind the world’s true climate leaders.”

In Ashden’s award ceremony, President of the Republic of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado was the event’s keynote speaker. He said, “So many of the things I’ve seen in terms of announcements to stop deforestation, to stop emissions, protect forests and oceans, require an additional key element – we can’t agree on global multinational solutions if we don’t have local appropriate implementation.

Harriet Lamb
CEO, Ashden

Experience tells us that one-size fits all tends not to help people but to create new problems… The heart of a people is within a community, it is not abstract as a global meeting. The real centre of the world is wherever your heart, or household or family is. The heart of the world is not where the global leaders meet.”

Carlos Alvarado
President of the Republic of Costa Rica

According to Ashden sources, green heating and home upgrades are key to building a zero carbon world – and can also provide rewarding and sustainable jobs around the world. Green skills, jobs and livelihoods are crucial to climate action around the world.

Beyond the award winners, Ashden has also been highlighting their successful Let’sGoZero campaign – which has united over 700 UK schools aiming to become zero carbon by 2030, with more joining every week. COP26 has seen a host of events at and with Glasgow schools, conversations with the UK Department for Education.

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