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COP26: Another Attempt to Avert Climate-Change Catastrophe

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Monday, November 1, 2021   

AUSTIN, Texas -- As climate scientists warn time is running out to reverse the worst effects of climate change, some Texans will be among those looking for solutions at the Conference of Parties, or COP26, underway in Glasgow, Scotland.

About 30,000 people are expected to attend the annual summit, including heads of state, environmental activists and business leaders.

Brigid Shea, a Travis County Commissioner will represent the Austin area.

"The national governments have to partner with local governments to really achieve the greenhouse gas reductions that have to happen in order to reverse climate change," Shea contended.

The 26th climate summit is considered the most important since a United Nations report declared "a code red for humanity" earlier this year. The summit continues through Nov. 12.

Shea said 2017's Hurricane Harvey was a climate-change wake-up call for Texans, and now its effects are being felt by everyone.

"The crazy wildfires, the massive flooding, the increasing intensity of hurricanes," Shea outlined. "I think people are seeing and feeling the impacts of climate change and realizing this is something deadly for humanity."

Shea believes the pandemic forced a real-time experiment, on a grand scale, to prove how well telecommuting could work to reduce fossil-fuel consumption contributing to climate change. According to Shea, Travis County government has saved more than $1 million on utility bills by allowing 75% of its workers to telecommute.

"We've reduced greenhouse gas emissions from our employee commute by over 30%, and we've increased productivity, improved employee morale," Shea pointed out.

Shea added the pandemic inadvertently illustrated how quickly environmental damage from carbon pollution can be reversed.

"There were so many reports from India that people could finally see the night sky, and they'd never seen it before, and it was so beautiful and amazing because everybody wasn't driving all over and choking the air with fossil-fuel emissions from their cars," Shea observed.


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