Connect with Beccy
Beccy Speight is CEO of the RSPB.
In the run up to the globe's most important meeting on climate
change, the #CIWEMtalksCOP26 series asks thought leaders from the water
and environmental industry and beyond to answer a common question: what
do you most want COP26 to deliver? Here we'll be serialising their answers.
Beccy Speight became the RSPB's Chief Executive in August 2019, having held the same position at the Woodland Trust for five years. Prior to that, Beccy worked for the National Trust for 14 years. Beccy's role as Chief Executive is to lead the organisation, build relationships with key partners, represent the RSPB's views externally and work with the Council and Executive Board to develop the charity's forward direction and ensure the RSPB delivers that plan. In November 2020, Beccy was included in the BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Power list.
“Everyone is feeling the effects of the nature and climate emergency. In the UK and around the world we are seeing more extreme weather events, and more of our wildlife being pushed to the brink. Without urgent action domestically and globally we are heading for disaster.
"The Prime Minister has spoken of the UK demonstrating global leadership, and the upcoming climate COP26 in Glasgow and the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 in China are our opportunities to lead by example. As host of the climate COP, we can ensure the global community recognises what the latest science makes clear: that these crises are interlinked and that we cannot tackle one at the expense of the other.
"We should guide world leaders to think global and act local, and close the gap between rhetoric and action. Important pledges, including net zero commitments, and the suite of ambitious commitments under the Leaders Pledge for Nature, must now be translated into reality, and the UK must lead by example.
"Key action on the ground should include significantly greater investment in and scaling up of nature-based solutions; actions to protect, restore and sustainably manage vital areas such as coastal and marine habitats, peatlands and woodlands can help to address the nature and climate emergency, while supporting local communities. For example – RSPB’s managed coastal realignment project at Medmerry, in partnership with the Environment Agency, not only helps protect local communities from flooding but has created 184ha of new intertidal habitat that supports wildlife and stores carbon.
"Vitally, these actions must come alongside urgent global action to reduce greenhouse gases and decarbonise our economies.
"Hence at both COPs, we not only need ambitious commitments from our leaders and a clear recognition of the role of nature in mitigating and adapting to climate change, but for these promises to be backed up by real, integrated action at home. That includes setting robust legally binding targets for nature’s recovery in law, investing in high quality nature-based solutions, such as protection and restoration of our most special places, and supporting a rapid shift to nature positive and net zero farming now.”
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