COP27 is badged as ‘Together for Implementation’. This reflects the expectation that the governments who have signed the international climate change agreements will work together to limit global warming.
Whilst most governments have some policies in place to prevent global warming two reports published this month by the UN The Closing Window and Too Little Too Late tell a story of how much there is to be done.
The Closing Window examines the Emissions Gap. This is the difference between the amount greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by to prevent global warming above 1.5oC and the actual emission reduction plans that each government has pledged to introduce to date.
It does not make for good reading. For us to meet the Paris Accord figure of limiting global warming to 1.5oC or less, we need to cut planned carbon emissions by another 45% before 2030, on top of the pledges already made.
This report also lists the policies that national governments must implement to cut emissions drastically before 2030. Here in the UK, we are better than most countries. We were the first country in the world to make achieving net zero by 2050 a legal requirement. However, there are a number of policies that the UN insists we must implement that we are not doing e.g.,
- Remove fossil fuel subsidies in a socially acceptable manner
- Remove barriers to the expansion of renewable energy generation
- Stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure
- Regulate toward zero carbon building stock
- Provide financial incentives to build zero carbon buildings
The second UN document Too Little Too Late looks at the policies governments have put in place to adapt to the extreme weather effects of global warming. These are happening now and will only increase in future years. This report also indicates that although a lot of national governments have planning policies in place these are also not sufficient to meet the increasing risks of climate change. This report calls for an acceleration in scientific research, innovative planning, finance and implementation and deeper international co-operation.
The COP27 ‘together for implementation’ strap line is well chosen because the task facing us all to limit global warming is huge. We do indeed all need to work together to implement the changes at a much faster pace than present to limit climate change. Let’s hope that COP27 achieves this.