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The Perth-made climate change course that’s going global and what COP26 could mean for Tayside

A Perth-made climate change training course is attracting interest from across the world.

Mike Robinson, chair of the Fair City-based Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), said the ‘climate solutions’ course “digests 100 years of knowledge into one and half hours of learning”.

It features heavy hitters such as former Bank of England chief Mark Carney and past Irish president Mary Robinson.

The RSGS created the course ahead of pivotal COP26 climate talks coming to Glasgow in November, signposting potential opportunities for the rest of Tayside.

“We’ve managed to draw upon some really influential people to help us tell the story,” Mike said.

“All it’s trying to do is help people get up to speed quickly, learn what they need to know to understand this going forwards and – most importantly – understand what the breadth of solutions are so they can play a role.”

Mike Robinson.

Huge change ’round the corner’

Veteran climate change campaigner Mike helped set up third sector coalition Stop Climate Chaos Scotland back in 2006.

He is also a member of sustainable transport group Transform Scotland and is co-chairing an independent inquiry on farming and climate change in Scotland, among other roles.

He is in talks with partners in Canada, the US, Australia and Russia about rolling the business-focused climate training out further.

“We’re also in conversations with a group who are thinking about developing an Arabic version as well,” he added.

He said there is “not a country in the world that doesn’t believe in this now and is doing something about it.”

“Every single year the effort to tackle climate change is ratcheting up so there’s an inevitability in the direction of travel.

“The sooner people wake up to that the more prepared they are for what is round the corner and the more they can help.”

What is COP26?

The SEC, most recently used as the NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital during the pandemic, will host the COP26 ‘blue’ zone in November.

Glasgow will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) from November 1 to November 12.

The COP26 summit will bring nations together to speed up action towards the Paris Agreement commitment to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Organisers postponed the event last year due to the pandemic. Planning is still ongoing for what a, most-likely slimmed-down COP26, will eventually look like.

The business end of the talks will take place behind closed doors in the United Nations managed ‘blue zone’. The building better known to Scots at the Scottish Event Campus or SEC.

The UK Government controlled ‘green zone’, or Glasgow Science Centre, will be where charities, academia, artists, businesses and others will mix and meet.


Will the talks mean anything for Tayside?

A huge opportunity still exists outside of the ‘blue’ and the ‘green’ zones, Mike suggests.

“It’s very much up to Dundee and Perth to put their hand up and claim some of that space. It’s going to come down to who makes it happen really,” he said.

The training course success shows the way local groups can have a big effect on a global level.

“One of the areas that everyone is looking to is the role of cities in tackling climate change,” he said.

“Of all the cities in Scotland, I think Dundee and Perth have significant advantages over other cities. Both in terms of some of their infrastructure, some of their commitments and also to some degree scale.

“Perth has some fantastic environmental infrastructure in place. But it can do an awful lot more, as can Dundee.

“If Scotland is a leader on the global stage, Perth and Dundee have the opportunity to be leaders in Scotland,” he added.

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