As COP26, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, wraps up this Friday, we’ve gathered early takeaways relevant to industrial sectors. As companies prepare for stricter climate disclosure regulations and turn to technology solutions to automate environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, here are several highlights from the summit:
- Net-zero goals of 40+ countries account for 85% of global emissions cuts, but the watchdog group, Climate Action Tracker (CAT), found that only 6% of those emissions were backed up by concrete plans, under what are known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- In spite of numerous climate pledges, it is reported that predicted global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2030 are on track for 2.4 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels.
- With plenty of buzz about the financial sector’s ability to pressure companies to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) a group whose members control over $130 trillion in assets, formed earlier this year to address the disconnect between climate pledges and investment flows, aiming to establish science-based trajectories, goals and ensure transparency and accountability with funding going to more climate-friendly alternatives over fossil fuels.
- The U.S. climate envoy is seeking to negotiate an agreement on the rules for carbon credits and offsets to bring transparency and accounting rigor to the world of offsets and to help companies cut emissions. Additionally, with support from the U.S. State Department and the World Economic Forum, the envoy aims to decarbonize heavy-emissions industries focusing on aviation, shipping, steel and trucking; four sectors that have been historically difficult to abate.
- Success of this COP will be judged upon participants’ ability to create a system to ensure that emissions pledges are made more consistent with the Paris Agreement targets. As the remaining days unfold, the summit will likely act as a testing bed for whether all countries of the world can “work together through a voluntary system to rein in global warming before it worsens more significantly.”
As Data Gumbo CEO and Founder, Andrew Bruce, surmised in a contributed article at The Hill last week, “‘Getting every nation to agree on a state of policies’ is an uphill battle, but accelerating change is the only certainty — and congruence outstanding, companies are better off getting ahead of the pack by embracing the technologies that can measure, track and prove emission reduction commitments today.”