Los Alamos County Council Chair Ryti Attends COP26

Display from 2021 United Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Randall Ryti

Bus spotted during 2021 United Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Randall Ryti

Los Alamos Daily Post

The 2021 United Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, is an incredible affair. Oct. 31 through Nov. 12, representatives, including presidents and prime ministers, from 194 countries gathered to address the climate change crisis.

The conference may have been set on an international stage; but Los Alamos also was represented. Los Alamos County Council Chair Randall Ryti attended the COP26. Ryti was part of the Coalition of Sustainable Communities NM delegation.

He attended the COP26 along with the coalition’s founder and executive director Beth Beloff, New Mexico Lead Procurement Officer Mark Hayden and coalition member Marc Geller. Ryti attended Nov. 5 through Nov. 16; he said everything from the presentations to the crowd sizes were incredible.

“I’ve been to a lot of conferences in my career, but this was amazing,” he said. “The main benefit of being there is talking to people. It was just a great experience, and I am pleased to have represented the County.”

Ryti said he was inspired to take a few ideas back home with him to see about implementing in Los Alamos.

For instance, he said a town in Massachusetts presented about its purchase of electric school buses, which also double as battery storage. Ryti said he felt that would be a great option for Los Alamos Public Schools to pursue, especially since it could monetize the battery storage, which would generate revenue for the schools.

Another inspiring idea was the panel discussion on active mobility (walking and bicycling). Ryti said he felt this could also apply to Los Alamos since that is already being discussed locally; plus, this community does favor being active. Ryti added that he felt his experience at COP26 will be beneficial to the Los Alamos Resiliency Energy and Sustainability Task Force as it formulates its recommendations to the County Council on achieving zero carbon emissions in Los Alamos.

On a personal level, Ryti said he felt the conference encouraged action on a problem that grows more and more pressing.

“My personal perspective is that it is an inspiring thing to take action … and do it in an expeditious manner,” he said. “I understand people have questions … I think there can be hope … let’s find things we can agree on … just seeing the whole planet engaged … that is encouraging.”

Display at the 2021 United Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Randall Ryti