Why are you going?
I’m going to COP26 to assert, and ensure, that science is actively engaged in informing deliberations, negotiations, and decisions that are rigorous and durable — strong enough to withstand geopolitical challenges.
What do you expect or want out of it?
I hope for a renewed commitment by nations, most especially high-emitting nations, to the upscaled targets set forth by most heads of nations during the April 2021 Global Climate Summit hosted by U.S. President Biden. While global enforcement mechanisms do not exist, I would like to see an accelerated level of accountability by nations to make the changes necessary to avoid irreversible levels of catastrophic climate change and to avoid unimaginable human and ecological suffering, damage, and loss.
What do we need to move the planet forward?
We need the courage and unwavering focus by nation leaders to act, and lead by example so other nations follow, and also constituencies follow as well. Science-informed policies and actions coupled with human courage, ingenuity, and relentless commitment can get us moving in the direction we need to, to achieve the future we choose. A level of grit and resolve by everyone, most especially those people and places who are less vulnerable and more able to act, is the top priority to move the planet forward.
About the author:
Michelle Wyman, who will be at COP26, serves as the executive director of the Global Council for Science and the Environment, an international nonprofit that spans the boundaries between science, decision-making, and the environment. She has worked on clean energy, climate, and environmental policy with all levels of government for over two decades, developing strategic and tactical solutions to implement energy, climate, and sustainability strategies and solutions. Before joining GCSE, she served as the director of intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. She led the Governors’ Accord for a Clean Energy Future, Applied Solutions-Local Governments Building a Clean Economy, and ICLEI USA, nonprofits that engage directly with state and local governments. Earlier in her career, she helped design and launch a public sector law practice at a major international law firm focused on proactive environmental management, worked as the natural resources director for the City of Fort Collins, Colorado, and recycling coordinator for the City of Euless, Texas, and as a park ranger with the National Park Service. She serves in a variety of advisory roles with domestic and international organizations to increase the recognition of and reliance on science in service to the environment and society
Editor's note: Please check back every day, leading up to the beginning of COP26 on Oct. 31, for new pieces from climate leaders in the Planet Forward network.