Climate efforts, enough climate talks!

November 9, 2021

Under the UN framework set out in the Paris Agreement, all signatories must report what their domestic reduction plan is to cut emissions by 2030.

Last October, the UNFCC published a report updating climate action plans disclosed by Paris signatories. For all available Nationally Determined Contributions Plans (NDC) of all 192 parties taken together, an increase of about 16% in global GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 is anticipated.

This confirms an assessment by International Energy Agency that delivering on those non-binding plans would put the Earth on track to warm 2.1°C by 2100, above the targeted 1.5°C. The message is clear: countries must urgently intensify their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal by 2050.

Progress, but not enough

While Russia and China have decided to stay home, some of the larger emitters have drawn action plans. The EU’s “Fit for 55” (1) package proposes legislation to meet the Europe’s climate ambitions, the US is planning to spend more than USD 500bn on climate measures.

But we need the world commit to net zero as a whole. And because early abatement will be decisive, we need a way to incentivize high emitters to commit to a low-carbon future today. The collaborative and non-binding cooperation approach seem to have reached its limit. To incentivize the spread of renewable energy, the development of hydrogen and other necessary alternatives, a clear regulatory framework is necessary.

As NDCs will likely remain intangible and not provide a global coordinated action plan, we need to put a global price on carbon. On one hand, this could provide the right signal to private sectors to shift R&D and investment programs. This will make capital allocation to fossil fuel projects less appealing and will support renewable energy and low-carbon options.

And secondly, a price on pollution, as expressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speech in Glasgow, will ensure that those who are leading on fighting climate change will not unfairly be penalized. His call to impose a global price on carbon by 2030 covering 60% of the planet's GHG emissions carries the same spirit the agreement on the 15% minimum corporate tax recently adopted to stop funneling profits through low-tax countries. When coordinated political actions fail, we need to adapt the game rules.

1: 55% emission reduction target set for 2030

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