Last week was a big week for climate news, with COP26, Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and the launch of the Science Based Targets Initiative’s Net Zero Standard. With so much going on it can be hard to actually keep track of the details. Here’s our summary of the some of the main points from last week.
COP26 daily round up
Day 1 (Monday) :
Opening statements with UK PM declaring “One minute to midnight” while renowned naturalist David Attenborough calls for a motivation for planetary restoration based on hope, not fear and puts the onus on world leaders to rise to the challenge.
India commits to net zero by 2070, with 50% of energy generated by renewables by 2030.
Noted absence of heads of state for China, Russia and Brazil.
Day 2 (Tuesday) :
Global Methane Pledge- 105 countries including Ireland pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared with 2020 levels. US government publishes Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan, detailing their plans to meet this target.
Day 3 (Wednesday) :
Big Money makes pledge to commit to net zero by 2050.
450 organisations controlling $130 trillion dollars (around 40% of global private assets) agreed to make climate change a central focus of major financial decisions, including moving investment away from fossil fuels towards “clean” technologies, such as renewable energy.
Day 4 (Thursday) :
A coalition of 18 countries, plus dozens of banks and other institutions, will pledge to phase out coal-fired power plants domestically and to end funding for international coal projects.
Lack of commitment from the 3 largest net coal burners (China, India, USA) and Australia (largest consumption per capita)
Day 5 (Friday) :
Tens of thousands march in Glasgow to make their voices heard, including Young Climate Activists and representatives from Indigenous Communities, expressing outrage at the prevalence of climate injustices. Many criticise the conference and those in power for too much talk not enough action, while Greta Thunberg dismisses it as a “Global North Green Wash Festival.”
Day 6 (Saturday) :
Around 100,000 protestors march in Glasgow as part of the ‘Global Day of Action for Climate Justice’, with other protestors taking to the streets in cities around the world. People demand stronger action and denounce hypocrisy of world governments and corporations.
Ireland launches €125 billion Climate Action Plan.
Following the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021, which committed Ireland to net zero emissions by 2050 and 51% reduction by 2030, the Climate Action Plan is meant to provide a roadmap towards achieving these targets.
The Plan aims to achieve the following emissions reductions by 2030 – by sector:
- Electricity: 62-81%
- Transport: 42-50%
- Buildings: 44-56%
- Industry/Enterprise: 29-41%
- Agriculture: 22-30% reduction
- Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF): 37-58%
Key Measures Include:
- Increase the proportion of renewable electricity to up to 80% by 2030
- Enable 500,000 extra walking, cycling and public transport journeys per day and accelerate the pace of EV (Electric Vehicle) take-up, to reach almost 1 million EVs in the private transport fleet by 2030.
- Incentives for Farmers to adopt new changes such as reduction in chemical nitrogen and more targeted use of fertiliser.
- Bog rehabilitation, increased afforestation, and the rewetting of peat organic soils, with a new forestry programme to be prepared for launch in 2023.
Stay tuned as we will be following up with an EcoMerit review of the Plan’s details in due course.
More info: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/16421-climate-action-plan-2021-securing-our-future/
Science Based Targets Launches its Net Zero Standard
EcoMerit attended the launch of the SBTi Net Zero Standard with much interest, along with representatives from all around the world. Here are some of the key points from the launch event:
- The SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard provides the guidance and tools companies need to set science-based net-zero targets in line with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
- 1006 companies have set Science Based Targets so far
- 965 committed to 1.5 °C (as per Paris Agreement)
- Need to reset the norms of the global economy, SBTi could be the tool to achieve it.
- Emissions (Scope 1 & 2) from Business Sector make up 30% of total emissions. However, when Scope 3 are added in this rises to 80% of total emissions.
- Scope 3 challenges acknowledged- implementation of “expansive boundary approach” (https://sciencebasedtargets.org/resources/files/Net-Zero-Standard.pdf , section 4.3.2)
- Scope 3 near time targets must be aligned with best practice to staying well below 2°C
- Trials undertaken over the last year resulted in:
- Avg. SBTi companies reduced 6.4% of their Scope 1&2 emissions
- Avg. SBTi companies reduced 4.2% emissions in relation to 1.5oC scenario (i.e. incl. Scope 3)
Net Zero and Offsets:
- Use of offsets/permanent removal permitted with oversight, but abatement needs to happen first- Focus must be primarily on the Zero (reductions/abatement) before considering the Net (offsets etc.)
- Validation of company SBTi targets will start in January 2022