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COP26 and Beyond: Taking Stock of the Race to Zero


COP26 and Beyond: Taking Stock of the Race to Zero

  • COP26 and Beyond: Taking Stock of the Race to Zero What specific actions do we need to take to achieve the COP26 outcomes?
  • Date: Dec 02, 2021
  • Category: Sustainability
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Net zero commitments roughly doubled in 2020 – corporate commitments alone in the Race to Zero campaign now cover over 15% of the global economy and US$9.81 trillion in revenue. At a national level, new countries have also stepped up, including China, the US, EU, UK, South Africa and Chile to name a few.

But science indicates this is not enough and that systems transformation is required to deliver a zero-carbon world in time. The annual UN Emissions Gap Report also reported that the G20, a group of 20 industrialised countries which includes some of the biggest emitters, is not on track to meet its existing pledges. With time running out and the COP26 being seen as humanity’s last chance against climate change, what else can we do, and must we do, to stay within a 1.5◦C limit?

The World Economic Forum(WEF) organised 'Taking Stock of the Race to Zero | Climate Breakthroughs2021’, convening leading climate experts and corporate leaders to discuss the critical next steps needed in the race to zero. Speakers include:

  1. Antonia Gawel, Head of Climate Action, WEF (Host)
  2. Alok Sharma, President of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference
  3. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency
  4. Sheelah Patel, Director SPARC, Global Ambassador for Race to Zero and Race to Resilience
  5. Jesper Brodin, Chief Executive Officer of Ingka Group
  6. Feike Sybesma, Honorary Chairman of Royal DSM

Listen to selected highlights below from the speakers, to answer three pressing questions.

1)  What Systems Transformation Are Needed in The Race to Zero? (5min 24s)

As the world inches closer towards an environmental catastrophe, world leaders, businesses, and civil society members are realising the necessity for a change in our current economic systems that gave rise to this climate crisis in the first place. A systems transformation across the globe is needed to decarbonise every facet of the economy, particularly in industries that have historically been highly pollutive. Both developed and developing nations are expected to participate in decarbonising efforts and this includes Malaysia. Malaysia had recently announced a 2050 carbon-neutral goal and will be working in tandem with the private and public sector to drive this change.

During a roundtable on the potential for carbon pricing and green finance in Malaysia last August 2021, Chairman of Bursa Malaysia, Tan Sri Wahid, emphasised on the need for the private sector to adopt climate-friendly policies in order to align themselves with the national ambition. Some of the key actions, covered in this video, that Malaysian businesses can consider in their journey to net-zero are:

  1. All actors must step up in parallel to transform our systems and recognise the connected roles between natural, economic, and societal systems (00:53)
  2. Fully utilise existing clean energy options such as solar, wind, energy-efficient options, electric cars, and scale up these options (01:31)
  3. Support nascent clean technology and innovation that are currently being tested such as carbon capture, advanced biotechnology, and various hydrogen applications. (01:54)
  4. Reduce use of fossil fuel in a dramatic way (02:43)
  5. Provide minimum energy amenities for rural and vulnerable communities and structurally include them in climate conversations (03:31)

2)  Where Are We on The Journey to COP26? (3min 5s)

Though COP26 has concluded, the journey towards net zero remains. To meet the 1.5°C global warming target, which is the boldest climate target, global carbon emissions need to reach net zero around mid-century. Preliminary analysis shows that the full implementation of all the commitments would still not be sufficient to get the world to the 1.5°C global warming target and that more ambitious effort will be needed now more than ever. Malaysia is actively pushing its economy towards a green transition as well. In addition to the goal to be carbon neutral as early as 2050, the government is planning to set up a voluntary carbon market, domestic emissions trading scheme, increase the renewable energy installed capacity target and eliminate EV import duties, excise duties and sales tax, amongst other initiatives. To better understand where the world is currently at on this journey, this video will cover some of these key points:

  1. The time left to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and 1.5◦C limit is diminishing, and rapid climate action is needed across the economy (00:15)
  2. We must halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 (00:24)
  3. Pledges to climate reduction must translate into action, particularly in the energy sector, to convince markets, investors, and citizens (01:04)
  4. International collaboration between all nations is required and richer nations should support developing nations in reducing their emissions (01:40)

3)  What Specific Actions Can We Drive to Achieve the Outcomes of COP26? (4min 40s)

Ambitious climate targets must be backed by bold action across all sectors. This includes moving away from products and services that are known drivers of climate change. Malaysia is currently driving this change through plans like having renewable energy being 40% of its total installed energy capacity by 2035 and for
EVs to make up 20% of the total vehicle sales by 2025 and 50% by 2035
. Businesses must also participate in this global effort. International clients are expecting business partners to adopt climate policies, and this would be an additional imperative for businesses to make this transition. Therefore, Malaysian companies should be proactive in setting climate targets for their business and provide products and services that can help the local and global economy to reduce their carbon footprint. In this video, the speakers highlight other steps that are needed to reach the global agenda of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Some of the specific actions include:

  1. Companies should commit to net-zero by 2050 and set a roadmap with intermediate reduction targets (00:55)
  2. Be transparent on emissions and climate-related financial matters and embrace all kinds of low carbon policies (1:17)
  3. Increase the proportion of electric car sales to 60% by 2035 (02:55)
  4. Increase the proportion of synthetic and biofuel in aviation fuels by 2040 (03:05)
  5. Cease new investments into fossil fuel projects from 2021 onwards (03:14)

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World Economic Forum

  • Tags : sustainability

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