Two-weeks of negotiations in November 2015 led to the Paris Agreement. The culmination of 20 years of discussions, concessions and compromises. Is the Paris Agreement an important document to the hospitality industry? Without a doubt. Science-based targets driving the industry decarbonisation efforts are based on the 2°c (1.5°c) threshold as per the agreement.
COP26 in Glasgow will see countries submitting new or updated targets which is an integral component of the Agreement. A good time to take stock of how much (or little) has been achieved since 2015. Despite the pandemic, the International Energy Agency predicts that emissions are on course to surge, reversing the 2020 decline (-5.8%) due to the pandemic [1, 2]. No wonder many are asking: when are we going to get it right? .
It is with desperation that reports [4, 5] are published indicating that some large, global corporations with proclaimed climate commitment, are actively impeding stricter legislations (on fuel, carbon etc.) through lobbying. Regulation is a core component (as many argued and discussed here a few months ago: Sustainability-driven legislation: setting the right conditions for hospitality?) to ensuring a level-playing field as it is sending a decisive message that climate emergency must be dealt with, with all tools we have available.
For hotel development and operations, it is a mixed bag which can actually lead to new opportunities. In the bag are the regulatory and transition risks for inefficient assets, imminent carbon market systems for buildings, a decreasing costs of capital for sustainability-driven investment and access to cheaper technologies (e.g. market for photovoltaic).
So from your stance, experience and position, why is COP26 important? Why should our industry care? There has been talk also in this panel (see The (Green) Recovery Imperative: Hospitality Re-Set Or Bouncing Forward?) about post-COVID-19 green recovery. Is this happening and can COP26 foster this somehow?
-  IEA (2021). Global CO2 emissions rebound by nearly 5% in 2021, approaching the 2018-2019 peak. International Energy Agency: Global Energy Review 2021. https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2021/co2-emissions
-  IEA (21 April, 2021). Global carbon dioxide emissions are set for their second-biggest increase in history. International Energy Agency. https://www.iea.org/news/global-carbon-dioxide-emissions-are-set-for-their-second-biggest-increase-in-history
-  DW News (24 September, 2021). Fridays for Future demand an end to empty promises. Deutsche Welle News. https://www.dw.com/en/fridays-for-future-demand-an-end-to-empty-promises/av-59303592
-  Milman, O. (01 October, 2021). Apple and Disney among companies backing groups against US climate bill. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/oct/01/apple-amazon-microsoft-disney-lobby-groups-climate-bill-analysis
-  CERES (2021). Despite ambitious corporate pledges, major U.S. companies shy from climate policy lobbying, new report finds. https://www.ceres.org/news-center/press-releases/despite-ambitious-corporate-pledges-major-us-companies-shy-climate
COP26 is important, because if we ALL don't finally take action against climate change, things will get tight.
But what is even more important is the COP15. Am I too late or did I get the numbers mixed up? No, from October 11 - 15 the COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (the CBD) will take place - and there, unlike with climate change, it is not about the question "how will we live in the future?" but about the question "will we live in the future?"