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Presenting At The UN Climate Change Conference

Presenting At The UN Climate Change Conference

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP22) in Marrakech came to a close earlier this month.  It was an anything but ordinary experience for me as I swapped a week in the office in Edinburgh for the rare opportunity to attend and speak at the UN conference on behalf of the 2050 Climate Group, Scotland’s youth climate group.  As the only organisation from Scotland invited to present at the conference, we were very proud to be there!

I am really enjoying volunteering with the 2050 Climate Group alongside my day job as a lawyer at Burness Paull.  Despite the group’s relative infancy (having been formed just over two and a half years ago), its levels of engagement and success achieved to date are already remarkable.  My involvement began when I joined as a “Young Leader” on the group’s pilot Young Leaders Development Programme earlier this year.  This year-long programme saw 150 young professionals across Scotland, and across the private, public and third sectors, being engaged, educated and empowered in tackling climate change through the development of leadership skills and climate change knowledge.  Following my recent appointment as a Board Member to the 2050 Climate Group, I am excited to be supporting the delivery of the second programme for a new intake of 150 young professionals next year, as well as nurturing the growth of the invaluable business and social networks which were established from the first. 

Arguably, global warming has never been such a hot topic.  The historic Paris Agreement was adopted at the same annual UN conference last year, and, at the time of writing, has been ratified by 113 of its 197 parties.  Whereas last year’s conference was about raising awareness and gaining buy-in, Marrakech was about finding ways for the parties to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s promises. 

I was pleased to see that Morocco was not the only country with climate change on the agenda this month!  Much closer to home, Scotland is still buzzing following the recent visit of the UN Messenger for Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, who dedicated his speech at the Scottish Business Awards in Edinburgh (as he did with his Oscar-winning speech earlier this year) to the importance of tackling climate change. 

We are certainly living in interesting times.  The catastrophic consequences of a mere 1-2 degrees of further increase in average global temperatures are well documented.  On the plus side, it seems that worldwide momentum is at an all time high for tackling the problem.  It was particularly interesting to read that even US president-elect, Donald Trump, said last week that he has “an open mind” over US involvement in the Paris Agreement, despite having previously pledged to withdraw from the effort.  Ultimately, only time will tell.  In the meantime, however, all of us at the 2050 Climate Group will be doing everything in our power to keep this positive momentum driving forward!

Lynette Purves
Senior Solicitor

Burness admin