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Sustainable Finance

How to spot a cop-out at COP26

What credible steps, consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, could we see from the output of COP26?

The UN’s upcoming climate conference, COP26, has been billed by many as the world’s last chance to agree the ambitious commitments required to limit global warming to +1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the temperature increase which scientists agree would avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The COP26 conference has many important issues to consider, but the overarching measure of its success will be whether steps are taken to cut global emissions to net zero by the middle of the century and keeping 1.5°C within reach.

Limiting warming to 1.5°C will require deep cuts to global CO2 emissions, starting now.

Keeping 1.5°C within reach requires that we find a way to reduce the emissions intensity of economic activity, in such a way that global emissions fall even as the world economy continues to grow. This is not impossible and might not even be as expensive as commonly perceived, but more ambition and action are needed from world leaders.

In this report, we consider what to look out for at Cop26:

  • The cost of action and the switch to science and innovation
  • China’s climate targets
  • Will the US walk the walk?
  • Posturing amid Sino-US tensions
  • The environmental Kuznets curve in theory and practice
  • The transition in emerging markets
  • Mobilising finance for the transition
  • Energy and transportation
  • 50%
    decrease in the cost of solar energy panels since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015
  • 50%
    of the global carbon budget will be spent by China if emissions continue to rise at their current trend until 2030
  • $100 billion
    was pledged by wealthy countries to finance the net zero transition in emerging economies

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