“We have a decade now to halve emissions” – The Climate Group’s Mike Peirce on the importance of COP26

“We have a decade now to halve emissions” – The Climate Group’s Mike Peirce on the importance of COP26

  • With COP26 taking place in Glasgow, the latest episode of ABB Decoded discusses how the event helps address global climate challenges
  • Podcast explores what happens not only at COP, but in the build up
  • Explores the particular sense of urgency around COP26 and why the years ahead are so important

In Glasgow, Scotland, COP26 is under way, as governments, companies and organizations from around the world come together to highlight the myriad concerns over the global climate challenge and try to forge agreements as to how best to combat them.

One organization with insight into the challenges and possible solutions is The Climate Group, a UK-based, not-for-profit body, that works with businesses and governments around the world to accelerate climate action. In this podcast episode, the group’s Corporate Partnerships Director, Mike Peirce, assesses the chances of a positive outcome from COP26 and why the negotiations matter to us all.

COP – a year in the making

Each year, COP (Conference Of The Parties) itself is the culmination of a year-long process where a number of conversations are happening in parallel between governments, businesses and civil society groups, which leads up to the positions they will be taking.

“The negotiations during those two weeks of COP are really a key part of the process. As well as discussions between leaders taking place it is also when companies position their new strategies and policies, showing how that contributes to the goals that the governments are talking about. Indeed it is often where pressure is put on the governments by saying, actually, we need you to do more, for us to be able to deliver what we're saying we want to do.”

A climate challenge landmark

Five summits on from the Paris agreement (COP21), it feels that there is a real sense of urgency around COP26.

“We’re at a particularly interesting and important negotiation today because, this was a year in which the countries needed to come back with what are called their nationally determined contributions – effectively, what would you do as a country to contribute towards the Paris Agreement. So, we’ve seen over this year, a number of countries actually coming forward with more significant moves.”

“We have a decade now in which we need to halve emissions to keep on the trajectory to meet climate goals. So, what happens now and in the next two or three years is really important. We hope to see this urgency reflected in the tone of the conversations during COP26 and the commitments being made.”

Encouraging real change

“Since the 1950s there’s been a rapid acceleration in our transport around the world, in our communications, in levels of education etc. All of which bring many, many good things in society but have brought significant impact on different ecosystems, on the use of land, on crops on water and at the interface of all of that is climate. There has been already significant change and we’re seeing this now, this year, with crop losses and wildfires just to name two examples, so it is really evident that something is happening.”

Despite this, significant progress is being made to reduce climate impact in many sectors.

“With electric vehicles we are starting to see this, where the direct cost of an EV will match that of a petrol engine in European markets within a year or two. So we have bits of the system which are moving in the right direction because investment is made, but then a lot of areas where we can see the technology trajectory but it will take time to get there. It is vital that we find ways to accelerate through that.”

ABB has contributed to the goals of COP through its long-standing commitment to the achievement of a more productive, sustainable future. The company has taken part in two COP-related panels with Time Magazine around addressing the world’s energy challenges and embedding sustainability. In addition, Theodor Swedjemark, ABB’s chief communications and sustainability officer, is taking part in a panel discussion on November the 10th at COP26 with the CEO of Formula E, Jamie Reigle, and ROKiT Venturi Racing driver, Lucas di Grassi. The panel will explore how the sport is an effective platform to drive progress in sustainability and push the boundaries of technology. It will also look to the seasons ahead and the next steps ABB will take, alongside the team at Formula E, to maximize the positive impact we can have on the cities and countries in which races take place.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. www.abb.com

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