Ahead of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, many countries, cities and companies have made commitments to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or 2060. In addition, many countries have submitted new “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) within the Paris agreement framework, tightening their previous targets for reductions to be achieved by 2030. However, according to an analysis by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the sum of these pledges still falls far short of what is required to limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Furthermore, as the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns, the world is already experiencing many of the effects of anthropogenic climate change, with current levels of warming 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels.
This report by the Energy Transition Commission, describes a set of actions which could be implemented during the 2020s, and which, if agreed at COP26, would make it possible to achieve the 1.5°C target. The report focuses on actions which are clearly technically feasible with today’s technology. According to the report, there are six actions which could in principle close over 90 per cent of the gap between the emissions pathway implied by the latest NDCs and what is required for the world to be on a path to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2030. These actions include: prioritising dramatic reductions in methane emissions by 2030, especially in the fossil fuel supply chain; a rapid end to deforestation, particularly in tropical regions along with starting reforestation, restoring coastal wetlands and peatlands; accelerating coal phase out in the power sector; accelerating road transport electrification; accelerating supply decarbonisation in other building, industry and transport sectors; and improving energy efficiency and productivity.
In order to keep the ambition of 1.5°C alive, the report concludes that in order to have a successful COP26, there would ideally be a set of discrete agreements between leading countries, companies and other actors which – building on the NDCs – which would create a high probability that the six categories of additional reductions could be achieved. The report envisions that through the implementation of these ambitious initiatives, it could potentially catalyse a process which could close the gap between the existing NDC commitments and the asks of being on the pathway of 1.5°C over the next few years.