There is a critical need for international collaboration and policy implementation to accelerate progress towards net zero in the run-up to COP26.
That was the consensus from more than 40 countries’ decisionmakers, who came together online for the IEA-COP26 Net Zero Summit yesterday.
Co-hosted by IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol and COP26 President Alok Sharma, the aim of the event was to identify how to work together to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Representatives from countries collectively covering more than 80% of global GDP, including Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Africa and the United Kingdom, joined the discussion, as well as civil society groups, private companies and government institutions.
The IEA set out seven principles to guide the implementation of net zero commitments:
1. Sustainable recoveries can provide a once-in-a-generation down payment toward net zero.
2. Clear, ambitious and implementable net-zero-aligned roadmaps to 2030 and beyond are critical.
3. Transitions will go faster when learning is shared.
4. Net zero sectors and innovation are essential to achieve global net zero.
5. Mobilising, tracking and benchmarking public and private investment can be the fuel to achieve net zero.
6. People-centred transitions are morally required and politically necessary.
7. Net zero energy systems also need to be sustainable, secure, affordable and resilient.
On 18th May, the IEA plans to publish what it claims is the first comprehensive roadmap for the global energy sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 – this will set out a pathway for what is needed from governments, companies, investors and citizens to slash global emissions.
COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “It is time for the world to move from a decade of climate change deliberation to a decade of delivery. The UK strongly encourages countries to endorse the IEA’s seven principles for achieving net zero.
“Today’s Summit clearly showed willingness from governments, civil society and businesses to work together in each emitting sector to make this happen and keep the 1.5-degree target within reach. This should not be viewed as a shouldering of a burden, but more a sharing of an opportunity. By working together, we can accelerate progress, create jobs and prosperity, and protect our planet for future generations.”
Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, noted: “Our Net Zero Summit made clear that the vast majority of the world agrees on the gravity of the climate crisis and the urgency of immediate actions to put global emissions on track towards net zero. But it also underscored the need for greater international collaboration to drive the rapid global deployment of clean technologies across all the key sectors of the economy.
“No country can do this alone. If we want the transition to clean energy to happen quickly, the world’s major economies have to work much more effectively and closely together. The Summit’s Key Principles show what needs to happen, and I offer the IEA’s full support for the UK COP26 Presidency’s efforts to strengthen the international cooperation mechanisms that will accelerate our transition to net zero.”