COP26: Race to Zero on World Environment Day
Following the postponement of COP26, the UK has launched its “Race to Zero” global campaign marking World Environment Day.
Following the announcement from the UK government at the end of last month, COP26 is now set to be delayed by a whole year to allow time to recover from the economic and travel impacts of COVID-19. An important date in the calendar of any climate conscious individual, COP26 was set to build upon the 2015 Paris Agreement signed at COP21.
However, according to the UN, the aims of the Paris Agreement were not set to be met in time for COP26. Today, in an attempt to renew commitments to the 1.5C target, the UN’s High Level “climate champions”, the UK and Chile, have launched the “Race to Zero” campaign. The campaign is set to mobilise support for net-zero ambitions in businesses, cities and nations, committing leaders and governments to net-zero targets.
Urging the need for a renewed commitment, Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said: “Complementing the urgent need for nations to submit NDCs this year, Race to Zero is not a campaign of the future, but a campaign of today,” she said. “That’s why all members are demonstrating how they’re already in the race to zero, by publishing immediate plans by COP26 and setting interim targets in 2025 and 2030.”
New data from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit’s (ECIU) Net-Zero Tracker has found that 53% of global GDP is associated with net-zero target, intended or actual. Accounting also for 2.6 billion people, the Tracker shows that 23% of global carbon emissions are covered by net-zero targets.
Dr Alison Doig, international lead of the ECIU, notes: “With the Race to Zero campaign the UN High-Level Climate Champions are firing the start gun on a race to the top on climate action. Their aim is to accelerate the groundswell of climate ambition we’re already seeing across the real economy as we invest in the recovery from the pandemic.
“This is not however about pushing climate action to some date in the future; no entity can reach net-zero in 2050 without starting now, and so it’s entirely sensible that in order to qualify for entry to the Race to Zero, participants will have to present delivery plans, including setting interim targets for the next decade, by the time COP26 opens in Glasgow next year.”
To achieve this, a variety of organisations are answering this call, including PACE: the NGO that is focused on supporting the 43,000 public limited companies globally achieve carbon net zero by 2050.
A unique NGO, PACE (Public Listed Companies towards Clean Emissions), is uniting public listed companies to take action towards net-zero targets. Viewing the carbon challenge as an opportunity, PACE represents the unique challenges of public listed companies in the pursuit of carbon net-zero.
“We have been working with COP26, UN agencies, The World Bank, governments across the world, funds and international partners to provide leaders of Public Listed Companies with the strategies, tools and resources to achieve Carbon Net Zero on a timescale of their choosing,” said PACE Founder, Ross Kingsland.
With a focus on economic growth, cost savings, minimising risk and increasing shareholder value through global partnership and supplier networks, PACE is set to accelerate the pace of change, whilst simultaneously stimulating industry.
As noted by Alok Sharma, President of COP26, “It is great to see PACE bring together major actors to leverage and increase financial commitments and strategies to existing channels and improve the way that money is spent. These plans will be integral to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement and maintain global momentum on tackling climate change.”