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by Duncan Clark
09 November 2021
Associate Feature: Ørsted discusses what a successful outcome of COP26 would look like

Associate Feature: Ørsted discusses what a successful outcome of COP26 would look like

What does a successful COP26 look like:
This November the United Nations, heads of governments, leaders of industry and civil society will come together in Glasgow at COP26 to agree actions to tackle climate change.  Six years after the famous Paris COP of 2015, where all the countries present agreed to take action to keep global warming under 2 degrees and as close to 1.5 degrees as possible, the world will gather again to negotiate and agree on the further actions they will take over the next five years and beyond to limit climate change.  

So, if a successful COP26 is conditional on countries making enhanced commitments about how they are going to reduce carbon emissions, how easy is it for countries to do this, and what are steps will they need to take?

What do countries need to do to reduce their Carbon Emissions:
The goal of building a net-zero-emissions society is ambitious and challenging; but it is a goal that is entirely achievable.  The production and consumption of energy are currently responsible for 73% of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions, making it essential to immediately accelerate the transition to renewable forms of energy in order to reach net zero and combat climate change.

The successful decarbonisation we have seen so far, including in leading countries such as Scotland, has come when the Government has set clear renewable-energy targets and committed to strong, mandatory climate policies. This action sends a signal to investors that the energy transition is a key priority and is why the Scottish Government’s ambitious commitments to achieve net zero by 2045 and achieve 11GW of offshore wind by 2030 are so important, backed up by practical actions such as running the ScotWind leasing round. 

To achieve these targets there are also practical steps we need to take to improve the availability, affordability, and predictability of space for wind and solar and also improve and expand electricity grids to modernise and futureproof our energy system.  Equally important is to ensure the energy transition occurs in harmony with people and nature.  To ensure that the benefits – such as creating good jobs – can be felt across all communities, early engagement and collaboration with local communities will be crucial.

Also crucial is making sure that energy intensive industries can adapt to become less carbon intensive whilst still employing their workers. For these ‘hard-to-abate’ sectors - which account for around 20% of global emissions – renewable hydrogen and green fuels must be deployed at scale.  Not only does this reduce emissions, but it ensures that these industries in Scotland and the UK can continue to operate sustainably and will be an essential part of full industrial decarbonisation in 2050.

What this means for COP26:
As world leaders and negotiators converge on Glasgow this November, everyone present - including governments, businesses, and individuals – must keep demanding more concrete climate action. 

We all have a responsibility to keep each other on track. In the run-up to COP 26, we at Ørsted hope to see more countries adopt enhanced nationally determined contributions under the Paris accord and implement policies to enable immediate action for mitigation, adaptation, finance, and strengthened collaboration.

Thousands of businesses, investors, cities, and citizens around the world have given governments the green light to hasten the green transition. We know that a net-zero economy will bring many benefits. We have the technologies to get there. The investments we need are substantial but eminently manageable within the right frameworks. We need to go all in now.

I am hopeful that COP26 talks will result meaningful policy and milestones that lead to action on climate change. I am certain that we have the technologies, the know-how and the finance available to reach net zero by 2050 and we must choose to do so. 

This article is sponsored by Ørsted.

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