With climate change sitting on top of the global tourism agenda, a fair share of whose burden is borne by the event industry, it brings to light the need for renewed and post-haste actions. It is in response to the pledges made by various governing bodies, associations and businesses related to event industry at the UNCC COP26, the 26th year of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties which was held in Glasgow last year. It was the first-time ever that the event industry made an appearance or came together to address the emergency that the whole world faces today; a little too late, a little too guilty.
The pledge to commit to net-zero by 2050 serves us little to no purpose. We need to be doing that yesterday. The Climate Crisis Advisory Group
has reiterated warnings that net zero targets are no longer adequate to avoid large-scale global disaster, and urges net negative strategies. To understand the significant and critical nature of Net Zero pledges, let’s look at what Net Zero is.
What is Net Zero?
Net zero refers to a state in which the GHGs going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere.
The term net zero is important because – for CO2 at least – this is the state at which global warming stops. The Paris Agreement underlines the need for net zero, requiring states to ‘achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs in the second half of this century’.
What does the Event Industry need to do? And WHY!?
With transport being the first and food being the second largest source of emissions in the US, the conduct of the event industry ought to come under its own, vehement scrutiny. (Source: theclimatecenter.org
) The recent COVID pandemic has brought us face-to-face with the fact that at the end of the day, people need people and no matter the degrees of advancement in technology, there is no greater value than the face value in events.
Now, imagine, people not being able to travel for an event because the transport system is disrupted, or there is a shortfall of food resources and clean drinking water due to droughts and disrupted supply chains. There is only so much money can buy and only so much technology can cover up for our ruptures. In this context, it puts extra responsibility on the event professionals to reimagine their event objectives and align them with critical climate change ambitions.