Like its predecessors, COP27 offered mixed results. As the conference’s detractors have long lamented, if COPs were truly effective, we wouldn’t have needed 27 of them. Still, there are some genuine marks of progress to celebrate. A landmark “loss and damage” fund will come as welcome news for the many vulnerable countries that have been disproportionately affected by climate change. But compensating for damage isn’t the same as preventing it, and the continued reluctance of major nations to outlaw or even cut back on fossil fuel projects suggests there will be no shortage of fresh damage in the future.
Welcome as public discussions around climate change like COP may be, words alone are insufficient. Until leaders start turning promises into actionable policies, each conference will be marred by the sense that more could have been done. One of the great frustrations is that tangible solutions exist. They are fully formed, just waiting for forward-thinking leaders to put them into practice. City and business decision makers serious about demonstrating their sustainable credentials have an obligation—and an opportunity—to turn the tide.
One of those tangible solutions is LED lighting conversion. It’s also one of the easiest and most overlooked means of making measurable progress toward climate goals quickly. For example, if a mid-sized industrial town upgraded all of its approximately 1,000,000 conventional light points to LED, carbon emissions could potentially be reduced by over 18,000 tons of CO2 per year—equivalent to the amount of CO2 saved by taking 7,000 fossil-fueled cars off the road.