DAFFODILS, the “heralds of spring,” are beginning to bloom. A delicate yellow brush of nature reminds me of the late American conservationist Rachel Carson. Her book Silent Spring, published nearly 60 years ago was a clarion call for action. Carson said: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” Carson helped awaken an environmental movement. With the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-26) hosted in Glasgow fast approaching the global movement of today must be awake to the opportunity of producing history.

In 2016, then US Secretary of State John Kerry with his two-year old granddaughter Isabelle in his arms, walked to the stand at the United Nations to sign the Paris Agreement. After he signed, Kerry lovingly kissed Isabelle on the cheek. The next year, President Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement. On his first day in office, President Biden rejected that move, claiming back the climate policy mantle. The United States officially rejoined the Paris Agreement on February 19.

The visionary Paris Agreement came out of COP-21 in Paris in 2015. And the historic Kyoto Protocol came out of COP-3 in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. What is remembered is not COP-21 or COP-3, but what emerged from the gatherings in the forms of the Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol. While COP-26 rolls off the tongue, what the world will remember are the results and benefits of the international community agreeing upon a bold new climate action plan I deem the Glasgow Convention.

It is essential to produce an agreement that builds on Paris, Kyoto, and others. To forever link Glasgow and Scotland through a Glasgow Convention of 2021 is wholly fitting since Scotland is leading the way with ambitious climate goals and targets. Scotland has a plan to reach net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045, is aggressively supporting decarbonisation and renewables across sectors, and is encouraging communities, businesses, universities, and a rising generation of Scots to practice low carbon living.

One innovative Scottish model developed 13 years ago was The Climate Challenge Fund which the charity Keep Scotland Beautiful manages. This initiative encourages communities throughout Scotland to address climate change. Since its inception, well over 1,000 successful projects have been awarded with grants totalling over £111 million. Projects address energy efficiency in buildings, food, transport, waste, among other activities. One example of a funded project is on the Shetland Islands. The Warmer Greener Homes for Shetland is managed by Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau. They are assisting Shetlanders reduce carbon emissions by cutting home energy use and switching to renewables.

Another initiative is the Scottish Government’s Green Investment Portfolio which was created in 2019. The innovative initiative was set at £3 billion. It provides local authorities and developers the opportunity to propose large scale investment to support projects in sectors like renewables, waste, and transport. These connections with the private sector and investors are vital. Scotland is mobilising and energising collaboration. Martin Valenti, head of Climate Enterprise, at Scottish Enterprise says: “businesses won't survive the shift to net zero if they don’t prepare now for the challenges ahead.” Leaders can look to The Scottish Net Zero Community, which was established as a partnership between the Scottish Business Network and CBN Expert to provide all businesses in Scotland with practical and action-oriented steps. And there is Fuel Change which is forging apprentices in Scotland to tackle carbon challenges.

There are numerous project examples and initiatives like the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee, The HALO Project in Kilmarnock, and fleets of hydrogen and electric powered buses from Aberdeen to Inverness. There are university leadership plans such as those of Strathclyde and Highlands and Islands that mitigate carbon emissions, and entities like Creative Carbon Scotland is inspiring artists and arts organisations to imaginatively address climate change. Wind turbines in Scotland already generate enough electricity to power a significant percentage of Scottish homes.

Under the guidance of President Biden, the United States is enthusiastically back at the table. Climate change must not be politicised. The world must rely on science and data, and replicate best strategic practices. Scotland offers a model approach. Kerry, now US Special Envoy for Climate Change, recently said about Glasgow that “we really have the world’s last, most important opportunity to come together to raise ambition and to take the next step from Paris.” The world should take that ambitious step and strive for the Glasgow Convention so future generations will say of this historic moment of opportunity there bloomed the Braveheart of the world on the banks of the Clyde in Scotland.

Ian Houston has spent his career in Washington, DC as a policy advocate for diplomatic engagement, global poverty alleviation, intercultural dialogue, and as an international non-profit leader and executive. He formerly worked in the U.S. Congress on policy staff. He currently serves as President of the Scottish Business Network (SBN) in the US and SBN Ambassador in Washington, DC. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of SBN.