“We need a radical change in the way we produce food, and our project in the desert in Jordan is a living example of being ambitious in the climate fight. The more vegetables that are eaten from our desert plant, the less CO2 there is in the atmosphere.” stated General Manager of Sahara Forest Project, Kjetil Stake, at a big event at Oslo City Hall on October 13.
Together with the Bellona Foundation, the Sahara Forest Project welcomed our COP26 partners from the business sector, governments and academia to discuss their expectations of the crucial and upcoming UN Climate Summit in Glasgow November 1-12. Participants included representatives from Norwegian government, Oslo governing mayor, ambassadors from UK and Italy, and a representative from the Jordanian Embassy in Oslo.
Sahara Forest Project is co-hosting a pavilion inside the COP26 “Blue Zone,” located inside of the main summit and negotiation area for delegations.
The partners of the Bellona and SFP pavilion – which is the only blue zone pavilion from Norway – are Aker Horizons, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo Municipality, the Research Council, Widerøe and SINTEF.
Oslo – a City that can take the lad
“Oslo is a very small city, but our ambition is to be a city that takes the lead and shows the way.” said Oslo City Counsellor, Raymond Johansen, in opening remarks at City Hall. He mentioned, among other things, the work Oslo has done with emission-free construction sites.
Also present at the meeting in Oslo City Hall was the host nation for COP26, Great Britain, represented by the British Ambassador to Norway, H.E. Richard Wood and the Italian Ambassador H.E. Alberto Colella was also present. H.E. Wood highlighted that new commitments must be made in Glasgow, and that COP26 is the last chance to save the planet from severe climate change.
Must be solution-oriented
The key message from both Georg Børsting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norway’s chief negotiator Henrik Hallgrim Eriksen from the Ministry of Climate and Environment was that COP26 must be solution-oriented.
Bellona founder and president Frederic Hauge took part in the very first climate summit under the auspices of the UN in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and has a long career from the UN climate summits. He says that COP26 is the most important climate summit of our time.
Sustainability director Jeanett Bergan of Aker Horizons spoke about why a major industrial player such as Aker is investing in a presence at COP26.
“A fourth of 50 gigatons of CO2 are still emitted annually in the world, and it must stop,” said Bergan. “All countries are now feeling the effects of global warming. The pandemic showed how quickly the world community can turn around when we have to. We are going to Glasgow to present solutions.”
SFP General manager Kjetil Stake emphasized how COP26 could play a role in the world’s desert areas.
“The world’s desert areas are growing 35 times faster than ever before. Solutions exist, but they must be accelerated and scaled. The Sahara Forest Project will do our part through business, awareness-raising, training and research and development”, Stake said.
Efforts in green innovation
Andreas Kollbye Aks, Director of Strategic Development at Widerøe, said that Widerøe is going to Glasgow to talk about electric aircraft, and revealed that the first electric aircraft for commercial traffic will likely be airborne by 2026.
Fritjof Unander, Area Director for Sustainability and Green Shift in the Research Council, spoke about Mission Innovation, a global initiative to accelerate public and private innovation in clean energy to tackle climate change, make clean energy affordable for consumers and create green jobs and commercial opportunities.
Nils Røkke, Director of Sustainability at SINTEF, said that there’s a significant difference in what has been done so far, and what needs to be done to achieve a zero-emission society – where COP26 plays a crucial role in coordinating the global efforts.
“There are important technologies that must be developed,” Røkke said. “We need to double our efforts on research and innovation, and we are going to Glasgow with concrete examples.”