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Urgent action required

1 November 2021

Urgent action required

The Prince of Wales gave a very succinct analysis of the scale and severity of challenges the world faces in a speech today at the opening of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

He said that accelerating nature-based solutions and leveraging the circular buying economy will be vital to the efforts required. This should certainly resonate with the hire industry, which helps ensure equipment is used sustainably for its maximum life. 

“As we tackle this crisis, our efforts can’t be a series of independent initiatives running in parallel,” he continued. “The scale and scope of the threat we face call for a global systems-level solution based on transforming our current fossil fuel based economy to one that is genuinely renewable and sustainable.

“My plea today is for countries to come together and create an environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required. We know this will take trillions, not millions, of dollars. We also know that countries, many of whom are burdened by growing levels of debt, simply cannot afford to go green. 

“Here we need a vast military style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector with trillions at its disposal – far beyond global GDP and, with the greatest respect, beyond even the governments of the world’s leaders.” 

He said that it was necessary need to bring together global industry to map out in very practical terms what it will take to make the transition, and that a pipeline of sustainable solutions was needed on a sufficient scale to make them a viable proposition for investment if the world is to transition from coal to clean energy. 

The Prince added that the pandemic has shown how the private sector can speed up timelines dramatically “when one agrees on the urgency and the direction.” 

That raises a key point. Surely we need to standardise approaches wherever possible, yet in many cases well-intentioned manufacturers pursue individual systems and strategies. 

There can also be a tendency to pitch one system against another, such as we are seeing in ding-dong arguments between advocates of batteries and hydrogen to power vehicles and machinery, when the reality is surely that we need them all, choosing the most appropriate depending on the application.    

Let’s hope that by the end of the fortnight, the summit goes some way in producing clear strategies that encourage innovation without undue duplication, with recognised standards and approaches. 

After all, the costs involved are astonishingly high. And time is pressing. 

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