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 prevent dangerous climate change. There is hope behind the scenes.
Many countries are already in the energy transition, as rising costs make renewable energy more accessible. more affordable than fossil fuels. A growing number global leaders agreed at the climate summit. reduce methane emissionsAttempt to achieve net-zero emission.
Now the challenge is for government officials to figure out how to scale up clean energy rapidly while reducing fossil fuel emission and still meeting the environment. rapidly growing energy demandsbillions of people in emerging and developing economies. With an ongoing energy crisisThis early stage of the energy transition has created shortages and record high prices in many countries. It is important to have well-planned policies and prioritized plans.
As climate policy expertsWe have decades of experience in international energy policies and identified six strategic priorities to help countries navigate this difficult terrain.
1) Increase carbon pricing and market access
Only a few countries, states and regions currently have a carbon priceThis is enough to encourage polluters to 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 especially important for energy-intensive and power production industries.
One of the goals of the Glasgow negotiations was to develop rules to ensure that carbon markets operate smoothly 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 includes rules for 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 overcome this 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, the United States and the European Union announced that they would work together to reach a global agreement. reduce the high emissions in steel production.
3) Get China, and other emerging economies aboard
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. This is more than a simple fact. half of global coalChina is the most important emerging economy, but other emerging economies like India, Indonesia, and Vietnam are also critical.
This will not come easily. 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 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.
4) Place emphasis on innovation
Innovation has brought cutting-edge electric vehicles and renewable power much faster than expected thanks to the support of innovation. There is more to come. For example: offshore windGeothermal, carbon capture and green hydrogenNew developments can make a huge difference in the coming years.
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 BreakthroughsMake electric vehicles more affordable. bringing down clean energy costsAll this is possible by 2030.
Companies and countries that are leaders in the development of these technologies will reap economic benefits. This includes jobs and economic growth. 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 finance
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.
Meeting the transition funding needs of developing economiesIt should be a top priority.
6) Reduce short-lived greenhouse gas emissions
The Biden administration announced a sweeping set of rulesNovember 2, 2021: To reduce methane emissions. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide, which comes from leaking oil infrastructure, coal mines and agriculture. Methane doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long, so stopping emissions can have faster climate benefits while carbon emissions are reduced.
The U.S., along with the European Union, launched a global pledge. cut methane emissions by nearly one-third by 2030. Over 100 countries have signed on.
This type of coalition is based upon a narrowly focused issue and can result in significant emissions reductions in locations that are less likely support larger climate agreements.
There is no single solution
It is likely that U.N. Energy and Climate deliberations will continue to move 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 to help you understand the climate news and stories. Read more of our U.S.And global coverage.
This article was updated Nov. 3rd 2021 with more than 100 countries signing on to the methane pledge.