Joseph Lewis
24 November 2021

Climate Change: IES Manifesto for Transformative Change

Colourful butterfly with overlaid text: "a manifesto for transformative change"

Throughout the COP26 UN Climate Change Summit, the IES spent a dozen days fighting for transformative change. Since COP26, we have spent another dozen days spreading the knowledge gained at the summit and pushing for science-led solutions. Our ambitions for transformative change in response to the climate crisis are summarised in the Institution’s Manifesto for Transformative Change.

What happened at COP26?

For two weeks, COP26 brought together global leaders to address climate change and negotiate the new Glasgow Climate Pact. The primary objective of COP26 was to ratchet-up the Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) of the party states, mobilising enough ambition and finance to maintain the viability of limiting temperature rises to 1.5°c. The conference produced mixed results, with big agreements on a number of key issues.

However, all of this progress comes with significant caveats; change still needs to be accelerated, these commitments rely on effective delivery, and NDCs are not yet aligned with pathways which will achieve the goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°c.

What still needs to happen? 

Despite positive progress, more action is needed to create the transformative change necessary to address the climate crisis. As we continue working to drive ambition and science-led solutions, the IES has published its Manifesto for Transformative Change, setting out what still needs to happen.

Drawing on the insights of environmental scientists across sectors and perspectives, the Manifesto contains 54 recommendations which will be necessary to fight climate change. Incremental and atomistic approaches will not be sufficient to shift our systems of consumption and production which have become unsustainable. We require transformative change to create a better future for people, the planet, and nature.

To transition our systems of consumption and production away from climate pressures, a whole society approach will be necessary. To that end, these recommendations address both the need for specific sectors to transition, as well as the requirement for a joined-up approach which utilises systems thinking and considerable interdisciplinary experience.

You can read a sample of the recommendations in the boxes below:

Read the full list of recommendations.

What happens next?

Questions remain about how effective COP26 has been at adjusting the trajectory of climate change. What remains uncontroversial is the need for action, and for acceleration towards transformative change. Environmental science gives us the knowledge and tools we need to support that process of change; here are some next steps:

  • Read the Manifesto for Transformative Change and share it on social media with the hashtag #TransformativeChange.
  • Join our COP26 community to support our wider work on climate change.
  • Consider professional registration (for example, as a Chartered Environmentalist) to demonstrate your knowledge, experience and commitment to best practice on sustainability issues, including climate change.

The IES will continue to push for transformative change, sharing the Manifesto and amplifying the voice of IES members to help stand up for science, scientists, and the natural world.