It’s been a depressing few weeks when it comes to making progress on climate change, for the graphics business as well as everyone else. The recent COP25 [Conference of the Parties, the UN’s Climate Change Conference] was widely panned for the lack of consensus on some pretty basic issues, and for a paucity of outcomes for the event. The biggest disappointment has to be the fact that nothing was done to set up rules for an international carbon trading system. That has to be the foundation for emissions management and control, but ideas for how to do it failed to achieve consensus.

Not much was done to increase the ambition of plans already in place to reduce emissions. Instead, many countries somewhat grudgingly agreed to review their pledges. Tepid at best and there was no pressure on countries to update their commitments, rather the reverse, with both China and Brazil opposing obligations for countries to enhance their pledges.

So effectively not much has changed, even though countries are committed to closing the emissions gap in 2020, sort of. It seems as though no progress is being made, but progress needs process and process is what we had in Madrid. Even though not much was agreed, a lot of opinions and positions were well and truly aired, and this means that the next Conference of the Parties shindig has the bones of an agenda.

COP26 takes place in November 2020 in Glasgow. The COP26 president, Claire O’Neill has publicly committed to ‘getting clarity and certainty for natural carbon markets and will work with everyone including the private sector for clear rules and transparent measurement.’ This should be a wake up call for printing and publishing industry associations in the UK to start thinking about what impact carbon trading will have on their members.

That further funding was required was also agreed at COP25 for 2025. The period 2020 to 2025 has a promise of US $100 billion per year, for developing countries. But maybe developed countries should be directing funding to industries who want to cut emissions, such as printing and publishing. Progress starts at home.

– Laurel Brunner

This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa GraphicsEFIFespaFujifilmHPKodakRicohSpindrift, Splash PRUnity Publishing and Xeikon.