The EMEN team was delighted to attend one of the opening events in the “Walk2COP27” programme, leading the way from Glasgow to Egypt for the next COP talks in November. The event took place at the Royal College of Physicians in the city, and featured a range of speakers with a particular focus on the intersection between climate and health. Each country on the walk route, from Glasgow to various European venues and then Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, is hosting a hybrid or virtual Townhall meeting that showcases the way climate change is impacting that location and the solutions that are being deployed. The Townhalls will also include an update on Walk2COP27 and a deep dive on a particular COP27 issue.

Humza Yousaf, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, gave an opening statement, noting that in Scotland the health service accounted for between 3 and 4% of overall carbon emissions. As Sam Baker, from Walk2COP27 explained, the key to solving this is to create connections and collaborations between groups to ensure that progress can be made as rapidly and effectively as possible.

Perhaps one of the most striking contributions came from Dave Pearson of Star Refrigeration, who spoke passionately about the potential for heat pumps to transform the way our homes are heated. As Dave put it – “we don’t live in caves, we shouldn’t be burning stuff.” It was precisely the kind of vision linked to practical action which the sector needs.

The second panel was notable for the call to arms from Rhiannon Osborne, a student doctor and climate activist. Rhiannon was clear that there is no way for climate justice to exist in our current political system, and that it is only through system change that real change can happen. It might not always be what people want to hear, but we need more people like Rhiannon making this important point.

Check out Walk2COP27 for details of more upcoming events in this great series.

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