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The Problem with the Proposed Climate Change Action Initiatives after COP26

The Conference of the Parties number 26 (COP26) ended with a number of new pledges and targets made. We touched on some of these in our last blog and they included a phase-down of coal and the Global Methane Pledge.

The Global Action Agenda

Other pledged-based programs adopted included the Global Action Agenda on Transforming Agricultural Innovation and the Zero Emission Vehicles Transition Council: 2022 Action Plan.

The Global Action Agenda on Transforming Agricultural Innovation aims to:

  • Increase investment in agricultural research and innovation to create more climate-resilient, low-emission technologies and practices.
  • Ensure at least a third of agricultural research and innovation investments deliver demand-driven solutions across food systems, to protect nature and limit climate change.
  • Showcase successful business models and promote public-private partnerships that deploy these innovations on the scale needed to meet the climate and food security challenge.
  • Forge consensus on the evidence of what works and facilitate inclusive dialogue among food and climate champions around the world.
The Global Action Agenda

The Global Action Agenda secured more than 160 diverse allies including the World Bank, WWF, World Food Programme, UN Foundation, Columbia Climate School, Bayer, Rainforest Alliance, World Economic Forum, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, CDC Group, Rabobank and the Environmental Defence Fund. It is also supported by Indonesia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Guinea, Lesotho, Vietnam and the UK and relevant government ministries or national agriculture research institutes of Australia, Uganda, Laos, India, Philippines, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malaysia.

See the full list of allies at:

zero-emission vehicle

The Zero Emission Vehicles Action Plan

The Zero Emission Vehicles Transition Council: 2022 Action Plan is designed to support the transition to zero-emission vehicles via:

  • More global investment in charging infrastructure for light and heavy-duty vehicles starting with the establishment of a task force of automotive manufacturers, energy network providers and charge-point operators to consider actions needed to facilitate deployment.
  • This will include working with electricity grids to ensure they are prepared to support the increased demands of electric vehicles charging and how increased electric vehicle uptake can support balancing our grids with greater green power.
  • Development of fuel efficiency standards and regulations that will accelerate the deployment of zero-emission vehicles, mobilise investment, and reduce costs.
  • Develop options for enhancing support for developing countries in the global transition to zero-emission heavy goods vehicles.
    Ensure the ZEV transition is truly global.

Other COP26-approved initiatives

These include:

International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition which commits countries to work together to advance ambitious actions to reduce aviation CO2 emissions at a rate consistent with efforts to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C (only 24 countries signed to this one and it did not include Australia).
Clydebank Declaration to support the establishment of green shipping corridors – zero-emission maritime routes between 2 (or more) ports.
Urban Transitions Mission to deliver by 2030 at least 50 large-scale, integrated demonstration projects in urban environments around the world, providing a pathway for all cities to adopt net zero carbon solutions as the default option.
Carbon Dioxide Removal Mission to enable carbon dioxide removal technologies to achieve a net reduction of 100 million metric tons of CO2 per year globally by 2030.
Net Zero Industries Mission for heavy industries like steel, cement, and chemicals which require extremely high temperatures and use massive amounts of energy, to assist them to unlock emissions by nearly 60Gt and help put industrial sectors onto a net zero emissions pathway by 2050 (Australia was a co-leader for this mission).

Here’s the problem!

All these initiatives sound great, filled with a whole bunch of ambition. However, the problem is that this ambition is still insufficient to bridge the gap to reach the 1.5°C warming limit.

Climate Active Tracker
problems after cop26

The Climate Active Tracker graphic above summarizes the situation. The pledges and targets (if they are enacted) are estimated to only hold the earth to 2.1°C warming.

The next from Climate Active Tracker shows 2100 warming projections under different scenarios. You nearly need to be a rocket scientist to understand it, but the key takeaway we get from it is that the world is currently emitting approximately 50Gt of carbon emissions each year and to hold to 1.5°C warming, global emissions need to be half that i.e. 25GT per year.

That’s the problem!

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