COP26 Update: New Climate Ambitions & International Cooperation

As COP26 approaches, Brevia will be tracking the latest milestones in the UK’s preparations for the upcoming climate conference. This week’s developments focus on the series of new global pledges to tackle climate change.

 1.  NEW CLIMATE AMBITIONS

As the US Leaders Summit on Climate took place on Thursday and Friday of this week, a number of countries took the opportunity to set out their updated climate ambitions.

Ahead of the event, the UK Prime Minister confirmed the Government’s adoption of the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget, committing to reducing emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 on 1990 levels. The previous target was a 68 per cent reduction by 2030. Crucially, this will also include shipping and aviation emissions for the first time.[1]

Speaking at the opening address on Thursday’s Climate Summit, the Prime Minister highlighted the UK’s new emissions reduction commitments – the most ambitious to be set in law – and encouraged other countries to follow suit. [2]

The UK’s announcement was followed by a commitment from the EU to cut carbon emissions by 55 per cent by 2030. The 2030 reduction target had previously been set at 40 per cent. Japan also announced a new target of reducing carbon emissions by 46 per cent by 2030 compared with 2013, a noteworthy step up from its previous goal of 26 per cent.

Coinciding with Earth Day and the launch of the Leaders Climate Summit, the US President also unveiled plans to cut its carbon emissions by between 50-52 per cent by 2030, meaning that governments that oversee half of the global economy now have targets in-keeping with the 1.5 °C Paris goal.[3]

2.  GLOBAL POWER SYSTEM CONSORITUM LAUNCHED

This week also saw the UK and US jointly launch the new Global Power System Consortium (G-PST).[4]

The initiative brings together power system operators and leading research organisations from around the world to collaborate and share best practice in bringing forward net zero power systems. Both the UK’s National Grid ESO and Imperial College London are members of the new consortium.

The initiative signals the commitment to the international cooperation required in order to successfully decarbonise energy networks across the world.

The G-PST consortium is made up of the National Gris ESO, the Australian Energy Market Operation (AEMO), California’s ISO (CAISO), Ireland’s EirGrid, as well as Denmark’s Energinet.

A recording of the launch event, along with the comments made by both the UK and US Energy Secretaries of State, can be accessed through here.

3.  CLIMATE PLEDGE MEMBERSHIP DOUBLES

This week, Amazon and Global Optimism announced that over 100 companies have signed up to The Climate Pledge, with an impressive 52 new signatories signing the Pledge on 21 April 2021. The new signatories include well-known brands operating across 25 industries and in 16 countries, such as Visa, Sainsbury’s and PepsiCo. A total of 105 companies have now signed the pledge.[5]

The initiative was co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019 and commits signatories to reaching the net zero goal 10 years early.  The Pledge is split into three areas of action, including: transparency in measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, decarbonising through business innovations and carbon emission elimination strategies, and lastly, working towards an accelerated pathway to net zero for 2040.

The news follows Amazon’s commitment to run on entirely renewable power by 2025, as it unveiled plans for nine new utility scale and wind solar projects. The plans will see Amazon become the largest corporate purchaser of renewable Energy in the UK, as well as in Europe. The nine renewable projects include a 350 MW wind far off the coast of Scotland. [6]

 

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Notes

[1]  Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035, 20 April 2021, link

[2] Prime Minister’s Office, Speech: ‘PM statement at the Leaders Summit on Climate’, 22 April 2021, link

[3] The Guardian, Oliver Milman, ‘US vows to cut its emissions at least 50% by 2030 ahead of climate summit’, 22 April, link

[4] National Grid ESO, ‘New consortium of power system operators commits to decarbonisation action’, 21 April 2021, link

[5] Amazon, ‘The Climate Pledge celebrates surpassing 100 signatories’, 21 April 2021, link

[6] Amazon, ‘Amazon Becomes Europe’s Largest Corporate Buyer of Renewable Energy’, 19 April 2021, link

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