Sociological Studies graduate discusses hopes for COP26 on BBC Radio Sheffield
The 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will take place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021 and will bring together parties from 200 countries to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Ness, who graduated from the BA Digital Media and Society course in summer 2021, is now the Welfare and Sustainability Officer for Sheffield Students’ Union and is looking forward to heading up to Glasgow for the conference.
Speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield this week, Ness commented: “This COP has been deemed as our ‘best last chance’ and I think that’s exactly it. Time is ticking; we’ve had the science and the facts for a while now. The Paris agreement was a few years ago and these big commitments were made but, to be honest, not much has happened since and if we are to make actual change to meet our targets around limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, we do need to act now. I think it’s very rare that global leaders come together, so we’re putting them on stage and trying to ensure they’re held accountable.
“I think that if we’re going to tackle the global warming crisis, it needs to be a global initiative, so I hope we come out with time-bound, ambitious targets that people are actually going to commit to. Ones that are realistic, measured and that people have put thought into.
“We know a lot of the signs and we know what needs to change, and COP is a good opportunity to get that written down and get that commitment from people.”
When asked about her role as the Students’ Union’s Welfare and Sustainability Officer, Ness said that it is important for her to ‘do what’s best for people and planet’.
She added: “I was part of the sustainability committee at the Students’ Union because I have a passion for engaging in these conversations and seeing what you can do, and this is the perfect position to bring your voice in and make change where you can.
“When I came to Sheffield for university, I started climbing and going out to the Peak District and just being at peace with nature really made me appreciate it more. As I started to appreciate nature and make that connection with it more, that made me want to protect it. My desire to make change has been fuelled a little bit by anger and confusion about how we could just let this go.
“I feel as though I can add value to the movement; I think everyone can and it’s needed.”
In the run-up to COP26, Sheffield’s Students’ Union is hosting a week-long ‘Festival for the Future’, including panel discussions, sustainability sit-downs, and the SU will be joining the Sheffield Climate Justice protest. You can find out more about the Festival here.
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