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Economics trip to COP26

Early on Wednesday 10th November, ten Lower 6th economists, accompanied by Miss Gueganton and Mr Davidson, headed to Glasgow for a day at COP26. Tiger L one of the Lower 6th students who attended has written his account of this momentous day.  

At the COP26 Green Zone in the Glasgow Science Centre, we attended talks and exhibitions, meeting experts of innovation and technology who proposed ideas for tackling the climate crisis.

The morning began with a fascinating talk given by Ekaterra, the tea subsidiary of Unilever which is the biggest tea company in the world (with their brands including Lipton, PG Tips and Pukka). The speakers discussed how they would achieve restorative forestation and implement digital technology into agriculture. Sebastian Pole, the founder of Pukka, also emphasised the importance of collaboration between companies to create ‘conservationist commerce’. A key learning was that sustainability must be part of a business model otherwise your business plan will soon become defunct.

Following this, we enjoyed a planetarium show about how ‘we make our future’. We were taught the engineering design process and how this could be employed to find climate solutions. Innovation in technology was a key theme and we discussed how different design models could be implemented to create a circular economy where we repurpose our waste to better the world.

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to explore the many exhibitions held by businesses such as Microsoft, NGOs including WWF as well as universities. I found one of the most interesting exhibitions was from the National Grid, which demonstrated how much power could be harnessed from offshore wind farms. We were surprised with the scale of operations and also intrigued by how wind power is used in conjunction with hydroelectric power to create a reliable and sustainable energy source as shown by SSE. Another highlight was the Rolls Royce exhibition on electric aviation and hydrogen engines. The plane on display was able to achieve 300 mph on battery power alone and this proved the possibilities of expanding the technology into commercial airlines. Hydrogen batteries were also on display, and we learnt about how they could be implemented into vertical take-off and landing aircraft.The exhibitions were also a chance for us to network and ask about future opportunities in the sector too.

The trip to COP26 was inspiring and insightful offering us a glimpse into what was being done and how we, as the next generation, can protect our planet.

Tiger L (L6th KI)