Much of the news coming out of the U.N. climate conference has focused on the spectacle, and how countries’ pledges aren’t on trackTo stop dangerous climate change. There is still hope.
As falling costs make renewable energy accessible, many countries are already in the process of energy transition. more affordable than fossil fuels. A growing number world leaders have agreed to the climate summit. reduce methane emissionsSet a goal for zero emissions. More than 40 countries committed to phase out unabated coal powerIn the next two decades.
Now, the challenge for government officials is to figure out how to increase clean energy while simultaneously reducing fossil fuel emissions and still meeting the environmental goals. rapidly growing energy demandsbillions of people in emerging and developing economies. With an ongoing energy crisisIt has led to shortages and record-breaking prices in several countries. To navigate this stage of the transition, it is necessary to have thoughtful policies and prioritized plans.
1) Expand carbon pricing and markets
Only a handful countries, states and regions currently have a carbon priceThat is enough to make polluters reduce their emissions.
A price on carbon, often created through a tax or carbon market system, captures the cost of harms caused by greenhouse gas emissions that companies don’t currently pay for, such as climate change, damage to crops and rising health care costs. It is crucial for power production and other energy-intensive industries.
The Glasgow negotiations have one goal: to create rules that will allow carbon markets to function efficiently and transparently. That’s essential for effectively meeting the many net-zero climate goals that have been announced by countries from Japan and South Korea to the U.S., China and those in the European Union. It also contains rules about the use of carbon offsetsThese allow individuals and companies to invest in other projects to offset their own carbon emissions. Carbon offsets are currently available highly contentiousNot delivering reliable emissions credits.
2) Pay attention to the most difficult-to-decarbonize areas
Shipping, road freight, as well as industries like aluminum, steel, cement, and steel, are all possible difficult places for cutting emissions, in part because they don’t yet have tested, affordable replacements for fossil fuels. There are some innovative ideas, competitiveness concerns – such as companies moving production out of the country to avoid regulations – have been a key barrier to progress.
Europe is trying to overcome the barrier by establishing a carbon border adjustment mechanism, which would tax imports of goods that didn’t face the same level of carbon taxes at home.
At the summit, both the United States of America and the European Union stated that they would be working together to negotiate a global accord. reduce the high emissions in steel production.
3) Get China and other emerging countries on board
It is clear that coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, needs to be phased out fast, and doing so is critical to both the U.N.‘s energy and climate agendas. There is no other way to put it than this. half of global coalChina’s actions stand out. However, other emerging economies like India and Indonesia are also critical.
This will not be an easy task. Notably half of the Chinese coal plants are less than a decade old, a fraction of a coal plant’s typical life span. China has increased its climate commitments. This includes pledging to reduce emissions by net zero by 2060 and agreeing that it will continue to end financing of coal power plants in other countriesIts not a problem. current pathwayThis decade will not see any significant reductions.
A major announcement from India’s prime minister at the COP around a net-zero goalIt is a win for his country by 2070 with interim targets to reduce its emissions before then.
Vietnam and Indonesia joined the pledge to phase out unabated coal powerHowever, Indonesia had some caveats. It said it would “consider accelerating coal phase-out into the 2040s,” but made that conditional on receiving more international financial and technical assistance.
4) Put the emphasis on innovation
Innovation has been a catalyst for cutting-edge renewable power and electric cars much faster than expected. It is possible to do more. For example, offshore wind, geothermal and carbon capture green hydrogenThere are many new developments that could make a significant difference in the years ahead.
At the climate conference, a coalition of world leaders launched what they call the “Breakthrough Agenda” – a framework for bringing governments and businesses together to collaborate on clean energy and technology. The Glasgow BreakthroughsInclude making electric vehicles affordable. bringing down clean energy costsBy 2030, we plan to increase hydrogen storage and reduce steel production to near zero emissions.
Countries and companies that lead the development of new technologies will reap economic and growth benefits. There are many more opportunities. market design, social acceptance, equity, regulatory frameworks and business models. Because energy systems are interconnected with social issues, it is essential that the solutions to these problems look beyond technology and consider societal needs.
5) Prioritize green financing
In another alliance, over 160 banks and investment firms are part of it. put pressure on high-emissions industriesBy linking lending decisions to the goal for global net-zero emission by 2050
Ramping up green financing will require transparent taxonomies, or guidelines, for defining green and clean investments; science-based transition plans for companies and financial institutions; and a hard look at portfolios of financial institutions given the risk of substantial stranded fossil fuel assets, such as coal power plants that haven’t reached the end of their life spans but can no longer be used.
The Meeting transition funding needs of developing economiesPrioritizing this task should be a top priority.
6) Reduce short-lived greenhouse gas emissions
The Biden administration announced a sweeping set of rulesNov. 2, 2021, to reduce methane (a greenhouse gas much more potent that carbon dioxide) from leaking oil and gas infrastructures, coal mines, agriculture, and landfills. Methane doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long, so stopping emissions can have faster climate benefits while carbon emissions are reduced.
This type of coalition, which is based on a narrow issue, can lead to significant emissions reductions in areas that are less likely than others to support wider climate agreements.
There is no one solution
It is likely that U.N. climate and energy deliberations will continue in fits and starts. The real work will be done at a more practical level, such in states, provinces, and municipalities.
If there is one thing that we have learned is that mitigating the effects of climate change will take a lot of work. While it’s uncontested that the benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation far exceed the costsPoliticians need to demonstrate that the energy transitions occurring are beneficial for communities and economies, and can generate long-lasting jobs as well as tax revenue.
This story is part of The Conversation’s coverage of COP26, the Glasgow climate conference, by experts from around the world.
The Conversation is here for you to clarify the air and get reliable information amid a flood of climate news stories and news. Read more of our U.S.And global coverage.
This article was updated Nov. 4, 2021, with the countries agreeing to phase out unabated coal power and Indonesia’s caveats.