International energy and climate leaders called for global collaboration to limit the temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius, and to make this decade a period of delivery of actions to meet net-zero emissions targets by 2050 during the virtual International Energy Agency (IEA) - COP26 Net Zero Summit on Wednesday.
Several countries, representing the vast majority of global GDP, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, took part in the summit, which aims to act as a critical milestone on the road to COP26 in Glasgow in November.
"We need to invite particularly the developed world to the table and the biggest emitters, US, Europe and China together account for well over 50% of the emissions in the world," John Kerry, the US special envoy on climate said.
"We do not want the developed countries repeating the mistakes we have made since the 1800s. So this goes back but the reality is that none of us can get there alone. We must do this together. That is what we did in Paris," he said.
He maintains that science has for years been telling that the climate crisis should be prevented.
"The planet is screaming every single day to get this one [to limit global temperature rise], not to mention the next generations likewise will be screaming at us saying that 'hey adults, please be adults and make the decisions,'" he said.
Despite the shared goals that were ratified in the Paris Agreement in 2015, Kerry said even if countries did what they promised to do in Paris, the earth's temperature would still rise by 3.7 degrees Celsius.
He further warned that if not enough is done this decade, it is unlikely that the global temperature rise will be kept at 1.5 degrees or that even a roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050 will be possible because he said: “No country can reduce the emissions sufficiently with the curve after 2030."
"… We are actually heading over 4 degrees and the science is telling us we are heading to this curve. We have to speed up. We have the greatest economic opportunity for transition to clean power and technologies," he warned.
- "Make this a decade of delivery"
COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said the world will not be on course to reach net-zero emission by the middle of the century as pledged in the shared goal in Paris in 2015 or to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and closer to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
"Now, 70% of the world's economies have net-zero targets and that is positive but we call on all countries to commit to net zero," he urged.
Sharma also raised the alarm on the world temperature rise to over 3 degrees on the current goals because not enough is being done to meet the net-zero emissions target.
"In many cases, it will be a catalyst for an apocalyptic future. We must do much more now to turn targets into immediate action. We need to halve global emissions by 2030. We simply cannot afford another decade of deliberation. We need this to be the decade of delivery and countries to act by making credible plans to meet net zero targets," Sharma said.
He beseeched for international collaboration at all levels to end the use and financing of coal and other polluting sources, as well as the shift to clean sources, clean transportation and technologies.
"Without finance and international unity, the task ahead is impossible," Sharma stressed.
- Innovation is the magical word!
The IEA head, Fatih Birol, also appealed to countries for greater unity and efforts to commit to net-zero emissions and to reach 1.5 degrees target, saying no country can reach these targets alone.
"The amount of challenge is huge and it can only be achieved with global cooperation of the countries," he underlined.
He emphasized the importance of making use of existing clean technologies and getting new advanced technologies, such as carbon capture and batteries, into the market.
"Innovation is the magical word here," Birol said, noting that through innovation these new technologies will be boosted.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya