In a statement today, Dr Read called for global leaders to recognise the “crucial role” that waste and recycling management has to play in supporting decarbonsation.
He said the fact the industry is “barely featured” in the programme is a “critical oversight”.
“Whilst we welcome the recent publication of the UK government’s net zero strategy and recognise COP26 is a fantastic opportunity to get global, coordinated action on climate change, the fact resources and waste has to all intents and purposes been left off the agenda has me completely stumped,” he said.
Dr Read added: “Creating a circular economy and a world beyond waste – where resource efficiency is maximised, the waste hierarchy adhered to, and our materials put back to use – could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 39%. The fact that COP26 hasn’t fully recognised the integral part the resources and waste sector has to play in helping to reach net zero targets, not just in the UK, but globally, is a critical oversight on their part.”
Running from 31 October to 12 November in Glasgow, COP26 will focus the world’s attention on the mechanisms and commitments needed for delivering net zero worldwide and mitigating the rise in global temperature. By collaborating across multiple sectors – including energy, finance and transport – the event seeks to unify efforts and promote opportunities between governments, businesses and the public to enable the delivery of these objectives.
The lack of recycling featured on the COP26 agenda has been raised regularly in recent months.
Last month, David C Wilson, a professor in resource and waste management at Imperial College London, said some people on the sector have tried to “get themselves inside meetings”, but the efforts have been in vain (see letsrecycle.com story).