What happened at COP26 and why it’s not just government commitments that matter

There are mixed feelings coming out of the COP26. On the one hand, there were multiple new agreements and declarations that progress in the fight against climate change. On the other, they do not yet go far enough: we’re only just keeping the 1.5°C scenario alive. Pre-COP 26, we were on course for 2.7°C warming and the announcements during the conference put us somewhere between 1.8 °C and 2.4°C, depending on which study and organisation you believe. Of course, the devil is in the detail and the implementation. There is an enormous amount of work to be done to convert these commitments into action and to work out how these commitments will be policed.

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Net zero emission targets and the carbon offset market

December 2020 was the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate accord, marked by a climate summit held in the UK with 70 world leaders. In advance of this milestone, the UK threw down the gauntlet to other countries by elevating their emissions reduction target to 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, 11% higher than the previous target. These targets are considered the second toughest in the world, following only those of Sweden.

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How to avoid a climate disaster

Bill Gates recently published his new book, a green manifesto called ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’. We’re still reading our copy but we believe a core element to this manifesto is noteworthy – addressing the price differential between a fossil-fuel-based way of doing something and the clean, non-emitting way of doing the same thing – what Mr Gates calls the Green Premium.

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Asian economics catch up on climate change

This week South Korea became the third large Asian economy to pledge carbon neutrality, marking a major milestone for the fight against climate change. All three countries, China, Japan and South Korea, are in the top 10 country emitters of carbon dioxide in the world due to a continued reliance on coal-powered energy, and together represent over a third of annual global emissions.

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California wildfires and renewable shift

California seems to be in the eye of the storm at the moment when it comes to the impacts of climate change. Images of yellow smoke-filled skies are proliferating news sources and social media, the result of wildfires that are seasonal for the state due to hot and dry weather, but that this year have burned through over 5 million acres already, worse than any year in the history books. The season for wildfires usually continues until December and may continue to force people to stay at home due to the air quality, further impacting businesses already reeling from the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

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Carbon intensity in Japan

We have written about renewable energy and the energy transition in Europe, the US and China.  Today we look at Japan, where multiple factors collude to result in government policies that support a slower transition towards green energy, a source of frustration for many and garnering criticism.

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