Wanted: New leaders to tackle climate change challenge

News: CoP 26 has been successful in making countries commit to climate change mitigation policies. However, many issues have still been left unaddressed due to politics.

COP27, therefore, should be led by a collective of experts and leaders, who can accelerate the implementation of the action plan towards net-zero.

In this context, climate change governance needs leadership that has uncompromising commitment towards the vision of achieving net-zero.

What is the success of CoP26 summit?

– 90% of the world committed to a net carbon zero target.

– 23 countries agreed to stop financing fossil fuels by the end of 2022.

– 100 countries committed to end deforestation.

– The accounting systems for calculating carbon emissions were finalised

– The phase down of coal and inefficient fuel subsidies was accepted.

What are the issues that are not addressed yet?

– Read here: Glasgow Climate Pact – Explained, pointwise

Why the world needs to address climate change sincerely?

The NGO, Climate Action Tracker, has analysed the consequences of climate change policies.

In the absence of a climate change policy, global temperatures would rise by between 4.1 and 4.8oC above pre-industrial levels.

However, if every country implements its non-binding nationally determined commitments for 2030, the temperature rise would be 2.4oC.

If they met their binding commitments including net-zero targets, the increase would range between 1.8 and 2.1oC.

So, any laxity in the implementation of the action plan towards net-zero carbon will push the increase above an acceptable threshold with devastating consequences.

What needs to be done to bring down carbon emissions?

John Doerr (the author of a recently published book, Speed and Scale — A Global Action Plan for Solving our Climate Crisis), lays out a six-point action plan for bringing carbon emissions down from the current annual amount of 59 GT to zero by 2050.

– Electrification of transport: Improvements in battery technology.

– Decarbonisation of the grid: 50 per cent of electricity from solar and wind, no new oil and gas plants after 2021.

– Food system: no nitrogen-based fertilisers, contain methane/nitrous oxide emissions from rice farming

– Protect nature: net-zero deforestation and elimination of deep-sea trawling

– Clean up industry: reduce carbon intensity in cement/steel/aluminium)

– Remove carbon: nature-based and engineering solutions

What is the way forward?

First, the current institutions of governance have created a forum for collaborative effort, but the rules of engagement reinforce separateness. This is the reason institutions need to be redesigned.

Second, the leadership of COP27 should be handed over to experts who are not bounded by the interests of a specific country and are beyond petty politics. They must be capable of driving technological change, catalysing green investment and forging global collaboration.

Source: This post is based on the article “Wanted: New leaders to tackle climate change challenge” published in Indian Express on 6th Dec 2021.

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