Adapting to the new normal

While countries are still struggling to contain COVID-19, another problem is also occurring — climate change. The UN Climate Change Conference has outlined net zero goals for emissions by 2030, but Peter Fitch and IOI Palm Wood strive to go beyond that by becoming Climate Positive, to create an environment beneficial to the atmosphere.

By Peter Fitch

We are facing the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over four million people so far. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisis occurring in the midst of another challenge – climate change. For many people throughout the world, health and economic recovery have been top priorities. While climate change has not made any sensational headlines, it is a very serious long-term challenge. Former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon once stated: “We are the first generation that can end poverty, but the last that can end climate change.”

On last year’s World Environment Day held on 5 Jun 2020, the Race to Zero was launched to bring together a coalition of net zero initiatives in the race to a zero-carbon economy to build a healthier, cleaner, safer and more resilient world for future generations. The next UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) will be a virtual session chaired by the UK at the end of October. Ominously, the current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “Rather than progress, we are moving farther away from our goals. And with the global temperature increase already at 1.2 degrees, we are on the verge of the abyss.”

COP26 has the following stated goals:

1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.

To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

  • accelerate the phase-out of coal
  • curtail deforestation
  • speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • encourage investment in renewables

2. To protect communities and natural habitats

The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects.

At COP26, we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:

  • protect and restore ecosystems
  • build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives

Climate Change is a global fight, but the important point is that everyone needs to step up and play their part.

The full article is published in September/October 2021 edition of Panels & Furniture Asia. To continue reading, press here.