Powering Net Zero Commitments

Increasing Climate Change Promises are Moving the Needle

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Recent promises concerning climate change made by major countries could bring the earth a fraction closer to the possibility of a more stable climate. This is the analysis suggested by the Climate Action Tracker group, as they say, the new proposed targets have lowered projected warming by the century’s end by 0.2C.

The forecast now stands at 2.4C, which while being a small improvement, is still higher than the 1.5C threshold the Paris Climate Agreement aims to reach. Researchers of the emissions gap have reached final calculations which state that the emissions gap in 2030 will be between the Paris pledges and a 1.5C narrowed pathway.

The largest potential contributors to lowering emissions are China, Japan, the US and EU nations. Researchers in Canada have announced a new target at President Biden’s recent climate summit while South Africa is consulting on an increased target. Argentina has increased its target, and the UK has a stronger target of 78% emissions cut by 2035.

The research does, however, come with a warning about the potential gap between achievement and aspiration. Based on the national policies in place at the moment, it is estimated that warming will be 2.9C, almost twice what nations agreed it should be when the climate agreement was concluded in 2015.

Bill Hare from Climate Analytics, one of the partner organisations for the report, said: “It is clear the Paris Agreement is driving change, spurring governments into adopting stronger targets. But there is still some way to go, especially given that most governments don’t yet have policies in place to meet their pledges.”

He also stated that Brazil, for instance, had hastened its climate neutrality goal, but altered the baseline from which it was calculated – actually making its 2030 target weaker. Certain governments continues to create coal-fired power plants, as well as increasing their reliance on natural gas for electricity. The report also identifies a big problem with automobiles as drivers are increasingly choosing bigger and less efficient SUVs.

Niklas Höhne of New Climate Institute, the second report partner, was quoted saying “The wave towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is unstoppable. The long-term intentions are good. But only if all governments flip into emergency mode and propose and implement more short-term action, global emissions can still be halved in the next 10 years as required by the Paris Agreement.”

These changes required by society will not all be driven by federal governments. For instance, the local council in Holland’s Amsterdam has imposed a ban on adverts for gas-guzzling SUVs and cheap flights on the city’s Metro.

Across various economies, pressure is been building for large corporations to, first of all, declare their carbon footprint and then lower it.

An ad agency in New York, Forsman & Bodenfors has stated that it won’t work with oil and gas companies. This latest move has been said by one executive to be a nod to the earlier decisions of ad managers to not back the tobacco industry. Oil and gas firms have been finding it increasingly difficult to recruit new graduates into a career in fossil fuels.

In summary, increasing pressure and promises are starting to move the climate needle.

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