One-sixth of the world’s economy has now pledged to cut CO2 to zero by 2050

emissions 2019__

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Charlotte Edmond, Formative Content


If we have any hope of keeping climate change within safe boundaries, global emissions need to fall to zero within the next three decades. That was the message of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2018. So just how far have we got to go?

Seventeen nations and 34 major companies are planning to or have already set targets to reach net zero – which means balancing any emissions by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere – putting them on track to meet zero emissions by 2050, according to research by UK non-profit the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit.

That works out as roughly 16% of global GDP being covered by targets – or $13.7 trillion.

Net zero pledges are a good blunt measure of whether or not a country is committed to delivering on its share of the climate change temperature targets signed up to by nations through the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to the ECIU.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?

Moving to clean energy is key to combatting climate change, yet in the past five years, the energy transition has stagnated. Energy consumption and production contribute to two-thirds of global emissions, and 81% of the global energy system is still based on fossil fuels, the same percentage as 30 years ago.

Effective policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to create a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure global energy system.

Benchmarking progress is essential to a successful transition. The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index, which ranks 115 economies on how well they balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, shows that the biggest challenge facing energy transition is the lack of readiness among the world’s largest emitters, including US, China, India and Russia. The 10 countries that score the highest in terms of readiness account for only 2.6% of global annual emissions.

To future-proof the global energy system, the Forum’s Shaping the Future of Energy initiative is working with projects including the Partnering for Sustainable Energy Innovation, the Future of Electricity, the Global Battery Alliance and Scaling Renewable Energy to encourage and enable innovative energy investments, technologies and solutions.

Is your organisation interested in working with the World Economic Forum? Find out more here.

Two countries, Bhutan and Suriname, are already beyond net zero – absorbing more carbon dioxide than they emit.

Norway, Sweden and the UK have written their targets into law, while Spain, France and New Zealand are currently going through the legislative process.

Alongside national efforts, a number of regions have set net zero targets, including California and some Australian states. Likewise, 23 cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, London and Barcelona, are also aiming for zero emissions.

Image: Statista

The next steps

But while it is good news that the need for net zero has reached the consciousness of governments and corporations, there is still huge variation in the strength of their commitment. For example, some countries permit international offsetting of their emissions, while others don’t.

And some targets are limited to carbon dioxide output, whereas others cover greenhouse gases more broadly.

The ECIU report points to a number of nations that are yet to make any substantial moves towards meeting the pledge, though they have all joined the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, an international body that pledges to meet net zero targets. These countries include: Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, Germany, Luxembourg, Mexico and the Netherlands.

Elsewhere, Estonia and the Czech Republic have held out on economic grounds, which the ECIU says is hard to justify given they have higher per-capita GDP than other nations that have supported the proposal, such as Bulgaria and Romania.

And most notably a number of major wealthy nations including the US, Australia and the Gulf States have yet to put net zero on the agenda. Japan, meanwhile, has only committed to achieve net zero in the latter half of this century.

Image: IEA

Is net zero even possible?

There’s no denying reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to this extent is a daunting task. To keep us on track, the aim is to halve emissions by 2030 – but they are currently rising.

And even if we do manage to curb output, an IPCC report has predicted there is only a 50% chance of keeping global warming to 1.5ºC.

That said, studies largely concur that the net zero emissions goal is attainable if we start now. Other incentives like rising carbon prices will make the process more efficient. And although there will be an economic cost, there will also be benefits such as cleaner air and less reliance on fossil fuel imports.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

First 17 “European Universities” selected: a major step towards building a European Education Area

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Business can be profitable AND drive progress on societal priorities

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

To retire at 65, American millennials need to save almost half their paycheck

UN Chief ‘strongly rejects’ Guatemala decision to expel anti-corruption body

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

GSMA Mobile 360 in Kuala Lumpur– Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

What the Fifth Industrial Revolution is and why it matters

Just transition in EU regions: support to people, economy and environment

Happiness apps: how schools are joining the fight for better student mental health

Low productivity jobs continue to drive employment growth

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

Serious concerns over Sahel, require ‘urgent action’: Senior UN Africa official

EU Budget 2019: focus on the young, on migration and innovation

How big data can help us fight climate change faster

Entrepreneurship’s key to success showcased by a serial young entrepreneur

UN Children’s Fund chief condemns ‘horrific’ Kabul bomb attack

EU presses India for a free trade agreement

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

France is bringing back national service

Silicon Valley can do more to achieve the #GlobalGoals

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

Lives at risk if wireless technology demands are not held in check: UN weather watchdog

Welfare of transported animals: MEPs urge EU states to do a better job

South Sudan famine threat: UN food security agency in ‘race against time’

How can we make entrepreneurship serve the greater good?

Abu Dhabi is investing $250 million in tech start-ups

EU cross-border payments outside Eurozone: MEPs scrap excessive fees

Restore land to save the planet, boost the economy, says head of UN body combating desertification

COVID-19: Commission provides guidance on EU passenger rights

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

All States have ‘primary responsibility’ to protect against hate attacks

End racist discrimination against Afro-European people in the EU

‘Stay at home’ UK tells people as global confirmed cases pass 380,000 – Today’s coronavirus updates

The digital skills gap is widening fast. Here’s how to bridge it

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

This Hungarian man quit his job to clean up his favourite river

What’s needed now to fight COVID-19 – Updates from today’s WHO briefing

Endocrine disruptors: A strategy for the future that protects EU citizens and the environment

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

Sudan: top UN official demands cessation of violence and rape against civilians by security forces

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

Counterfeiters are taking advantage of the pandemic. Here’s how to stop them

Investment, not debt, can kick-start an entrepreneurial Europe

Nearly four million North Koreans in urgent need, as food production slumps by almost 10 per cent

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

Food finally features in the climate debate. Now what?

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a stimulating China-EU dialogue at European Business Summit 2018

A Sting Exclusive: “Asia-Pacific response to COVID-19 and climate emergency must build a resilient and sustainable future”, by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General

From start-up to scale: This is how governments can accelerate innovation and build inclusive economies

FROM THE FIELD: Enslaved Guatemalan indigenous women wait for reparations

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

African continent ‘an example of solidarity’ towards migrants and refugees: UN chief

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s