By Vishal Gulati
Bonn, Nov 14 : The new technology industrial revolution will provide a major boost to speeding up climate action but only if business commits to it and governments back it with stable policy and new incentives, said delegates at the ongoing UN Climate Change conference here on Tuesday.
In an example that embodies all these essential components of successful innovation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched below50 initiative hubs in North America, South America and Australia to create much bigger demand and markets for sustainable fuels.
Getting ideas into action is a major theme of this Global Climate Action day where representatives from business, government and civil society are delving into technological and policy innovation and new ways of collaborating to get the world on track to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.
“Global climate policy must provide the framework necessary to encourage the private sector to increase investment and spur innovation to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” International Chamber of Commerce Secretary General John Danilovich said.
The International Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organisation with a network of over six million members in more than 100 countries.
The central goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the average global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.
About one degree of that rise has already happened, underlining the urgency to progress much further and faster with the global clean energy transformation.
Meeting the Paris goal is also inextricably linked to the success of the 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, in this case particularly Goal 9 — to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.
Launching the below50 initiative is a global collaboration that brings together the entire value-chain for sustainable fuels – that is, fuels that produce at least 50 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than conventional fossil fuels.
The goal is to create the demand and market for these fuels to scale up deployment.
Transport accounts for nearly 18 per cent of all emissions worldwide, and over 90 per cent of the sector is still dependent on carbon-intensive fossil fuels.
To date, only three per cent of transport fuels are low-carbon.
According to the International Energy Agency, in order to satisfy economic growth and limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius, 10 per cent of all transport fuels must be low-carbon by 2030 and 30 per cent by 2050.
“We are standing at the cusp of a new industrial revolution. Forward-looking businesses are exceeding their climate targets by using innovation to help them reduce their carbon footprint,” said Freya Burton, Chief Sustainability and People Officer at LanzaTech.
Meanwhile, the transition to a low-carbon economy has set in and accelerating globally.
A total of 320 global companies, comprising six companies headquartered in India, have now committed to set emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative.
This year, more than 90 new companies have joined, demonstrating that the private sector is committed to aligning their efforts to tackle climate change with the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) board on Tuesday approved a total of Euro 9.2 billion of new financing for 38 projects in 16 European Union countries and around the world in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
This includes support for transformational investment to harness onshore and offshore wind energy, expand high-speed mobile broadband and strengthen industrial innovation.
New schemes to improve water infrastructure, build new hospitals and construct new high-speed rail links were also approved.
“The projects we approved range from backing solar power in India to reforestation in China and climate-relevant investment in the EU, including under the Investment Plan for Europe,a an official statement quoting EIB President Werner Hoyer said.
(Vishal Gulati is in Bonn at the invitation of the Global Editors Network to cover COP23. He can be contacted at email@example.com)