A few days ago we wrapped up the COP26 Glasgow Earth Summit, resulting in the Glasgow Climate Pact signed by about 200 nations. The agreement was less than hoped and needed, pushing for nations to come back next year for COP27 in Egypt with stronger climate national plans [NDCs]. Even still, gains were made in some important areas, including methane and deforestation reduction, and addressing the “phase down” of coal.
One of the highlights at COP26 was a new consortium of big business [called GFANZ: the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero] who advocate financing urgent carbon emissions reductions. In aggregate, the corporations comprise $130 trillion in capital. More and more, it seems business and technology is advancing the climate agenda faster than government. Boosting wealth as we redefine true value is the key to our survival. More than ever we’re witnessing this in the financial marketplace as electric vehicle stocks advance at quantum leaps in value. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement we’ve seen about $2 trillion invested into green energy and tech offerings.
Learning how to best scale and accelerate climate emissions reduction requires thought leadership and years of dedicated innovation. Today, it’s my privilege to host Ashok Gupta on my Regen360 podcast. Ashok is a rockstar for energy efficiency and clean power generation. His luminary 30 year career at NRDC, one of the nation’s flagship environmental organizations, has helped lead the transformation toward making buildings more energy efficient, and accelerating power generation to renewable energy. Ashok is a Senior Energy Economist at NRDC for Climate and Clean Energy. He served on New York City’s Sustainable Energy Policy Task Force under Michael Bloomberg. Ashok’s work has been highly recognized including the ACEEE lifetime achievement award.
In our free-flowing conversation, Ashok and I touch upon the importance of the building envelope, integrating renewable energy, and reflections on the COP26 Glasgow Summit. We reflect upon the changes on Earth since we first met three decades ago when Ashok gave me a tour of NRDC’s green building in New York, the first one in the United States, and well before the formation of the U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED Green Building Rating System, which helped inspire NRDC’s Rob Watson to steer and shepherd the world’s largest rating system.
My late Dad always said: “Do not confuse effort with results.” We’re running out of time for results in the metrics of Earth. I’m so appreciative of the spirit and relentless work of Ashok over the past three decades to pragmatically show us the way.
P.S. The world has 98 months before we’re supposed to hit the Paris Agreement’s 50% carbon emissions reduction target. More than ever, it’s time for all of us to doubledown as we learn from Ashok how to scale and accelerate transformation. Boris Johnson framed the opening of the Earth Summit as the world’s last, best chance to save the planet.