Sarah Sheehy, Technical Consultant at TNEI has been selected to volunteer at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021.
In the lead up to the conference we asked Sarah a few questions on her role at TNEI in helping the UK achieve Net Zero and what she is most looking forward to at the event.
Where is your favourite place in Glasgow?
For the last year it has been the parks and walkways. Glasgow has a lot of green space for a large city. I have walked many, many miles along the Forth and Clyde canal over the last year. I’ve enjoyed it in every season! Even when I fell over in the snow.
What is your favourite Glaswegian saying?
Let’s go with “the boke” – when something gives you that feeling like you’ll be sick, it gives you the boke. It was completely new to me when I first moved to Glasgow, and I have not come across an equivalent!
What do you love about Glasgow?
How friendly it is. I felt at home very quickly when I first moved here.
What do you think is the biggest challenge we face in fighting climate change?
I think it is the scale and pace at which changes need to be made. Action is needed now.
Who is your eco hero?
What steps have you taken personally to fight climate change?
I am trying to make more sustainable choices in what I buy, eat and how I travel, for example reducing the amount of single use plastics, commuting via walking or public transport etc. I have been vegetarian for over 15 years, and I have recently started to eat more vegan meals, and also buy seasonal and local groceries when possible.
Why is COP26 so important?
COP26 comes at a critical time for tackling the climate emergency - it was widely accepted that 2020 (when COP26 was originally planned to take place) was the critical point for taking action to limit global warming. The event has been unavoidably delayed, and therefore the urgency with which agreements and actions need to be taken is even more pressing.
It is also a time that the international community are looking at recovery following the Covid19 pandemic, and there is the opportunity for a “green recovery” – ensuring this is achieved in line with climate needs.
Why is Glasgow the ideal host city for COP26?
The UK, Scotland in particular, has an innovative industrial history and has recently shown that same innovative approach in working to lead the way in the renewable revolution. We have ambition, and, by developing the right combination skills and resources, we are ready to progress.
What made you sign up to be a volunteer at COP26?
I love Glasgow, feel passionately about the need for international agreement and action to limit the impacts of climate change, and I want to see a successful conference, so I was very happy to be able to volunteer my time to help out in a small way.
What is your role as a volunteer at COP26?
I am going to be a member of the travel hub team, helping attendees and the public navigate the city and make the most out of the events.
What has changed since COP25?
A lot has changed!
What outcomes would you like to see from COP26?
Ambition and action. It is looking likely that initial pledges following the Paris Agreement will fall short of the emissions reductions required.
What is TNEI’s climate challenge?
We have challenges as a business in the sector we work in, but also within our business, and then across our teams.
We work in an industry that is leading the way in powering the future. We work to deliver renewables projects and to support the network transition to net-zero. In addition to this, we are considering other contributions that we can make as a company.
A number of our team are also taking part in our internal COP26 challenge, where we are seeing how far we can walk, run, cycle (and even rollerblade!), before the start of the conference in November. For every time we complete the distance from Madrid (COP25) to Glasgow (COP26), TNEI have committed to purchasing land from the World Land Trust. We have already completed the distance once and bought our first 5 acres of woodland!
What is your role in helping TNEI respond to climate change?
I work in Networks and Innovation at TNEI, as part of the Data Science team. My background is in power and energy systems modelling, with a mix of statistics and engineering. Joining TNEI has given me the opportunity to put those skills to use in developing and delivering innovative solutions for a range of clients in the renewable energy sector in the transition to net-zero, and this will play a huge role in limiting the impact of climate change.
What is TNEI actively doing to help achieve Net-Zero?
TNEI has a Climate Action Group who meet monthly to put measures in place to reduce our impact on Climate Change and help achieve Net-Zero. For example, we are looking at ways to reduce our emissions and buying sustainable products such as food or consumables we order.
I’ve been a member of TNEI’s Climate Action Group since I joined in February. My role in the group has been to support the recording reporting of our emissions so that we can collectively work to reduce them across the business.
Describe TNEI in one word:
Are you volunteering at the COP26 event? We would love to hear from you. Please get in touch to find out more or if you want to get involved with any of our initiatives ahead of COP26, we would love to chat.