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Reflections On COP26, One Year On – EVs And Renewable Energy

As COP27 draws closer, we reflect upon last year’s COP and discuss the recognition of electric mobility and renewable energy at Glasgow’s Conference.

Reflections On COP26, One Year On

Since 1995, the Conference of the Parties has represented at international level the pressing need to work together to challenge the climate crisis.

The Conference, or ‘COP’, is the ‘supreme decision-making body’ of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The annual conference sees negotiation and discussion surrounding climate commitments, as well as assessments of the progress made by signatories of the UNFCCC towards reducing the threat climate change presents.

This year, the year of COP27, delegates will gather in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 7-18 November 2022. Before the COP begins, we share our reflections on COP26 and return to the pledges made last year, looking at how the Glasgow Climate Pact captures the importance of electric transport and renewables in tackling the climate crisis.


The Role Of EVs and Renewables In Challenging Climate Change

Electric vehicles (EVs) and the use of renewable energy are fundamental to the fight against global warming and climate devastation. The Glasgow Climate Pact reminds us that more than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from road transport. This foreboding figure is followed by the more positive note that the decarbonisation of transport could see a 2.6 gigatonne reduction of CO2 per year by 2023.

At the COP26 World Leaders Summit, more than 40 countries endorsed the Breakthrough Agenda, an international clean technology plan to help countries work towards achieving 1.5C. The Agenda centres around five sectors of the economy, one of which is road transport. The goal for this sector was to make zero emission vehicles ‘the new normal’ by ensuring they are ‘accessible, affordable, and sustainable in all regions.’ Such amplifies the vital role EVs are to play in the achievement of net zero and the targets of the Paris Agreement.

Reflections On COP26, One Year On – EVs And Renewable EnergyMeanwhile, renewable energy is a driving force against pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The Pact states that the power sector is responsible for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, with coal being the largest contributor to human-made climate change.


Reflecting On COP26

The four core pillars of the Glasgow Climate Pact were:

  • Mitigation: reducing emissions,
  • Adaptation: helping those already impacted by climate change,
  • Finance: enabling countries to deliver on their climate goals,
  • Collaboration: working together to deliver even greater action.

Discussion around EVs and renewables featured in mitigation and collaboration.


EVs At COP26 – What Was Pledged?

‘COP26 must be remembered as the COP that kick-started the mass market for zero emission vehicles.’ – The Glasgow Climate Pact

One of the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals is to ‘substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius while pursuing efforts to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees’. In order to ensure 1.5C can be achieved, the Pact states countries must take ‘concerted and immediate action to deliver on their commitments’. Amongst the noted methods by which countries can act was the acceleration of the EV transition.

Before and during COP26, targets were set and promises made:

  • In the COP26 Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to 100% Zero Emission Cars and Vans, it was declared governments would work towards seeing the sale of new cars and vans being zero emission by 2040 or sooner, and not after 2035 in leading markets.
  • Over 110 companies signed up to the EV100 pledge, making the commitment to fully zero-emission vehicle fleets by 2030.
  • Whilst two years previous to COP26, almost no vehicle manufacturers had committed to phasing out fossil-fuelled vehicles, manufacturers accounting for over 30% of the global market committed to the phase out.
  • Jaguar, Volvo, Volkswagen, Ford, General Motors, Audi, and Fiat in Europe, major players in the automotive industry, set the target of 2035 for ensuring 100% zero-emission vehicle production.

Also at COP26, an Action Plan was launched by the ZEV Transition Council (ZEVTC). In it, the ZEVTC laid out its priorities for the coming year, which included a recognition of the need for further investment in charging infrastructure for zero emission vehicles, and a commitment to laying out a vision for charging infrastructure for both light and heavy-duty vehicle on a global scale.


Renewable Energy At COP26 – What Was Pledged?

‘[We] must move further, faster to decarbonise electricity earlier in line with the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero pathway and ensure no one is left behind in the clean technology transition.’ – The Breakthrough Agenda

The Pact spotlights the recognition of the need to reduce our dependency and on fossil fuels across the energy sector, as 34 countries and 5 public finance institutions made the commitment to terminate direct public support for ‘the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector’ by the close of 2022.

Amongst the highlights stated in the Pact is the ‘Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet’, a new $10 billion energy fund that, by 2023, aims to bring reliable renewable electricity to a billion individuals and avoid 4 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Reflections On COP26, One Year On – EVs And Renewable Energy

The power sector is another of the key focus points for the clean technology development in the Breakthrough Agenda. It promised to ‘turbocharge’ existing progress in support of the clean energy transition.

Within the Global Coal To Clean Power Transition Statement, supporters committed to scaling up their ‘deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures in our economies’.


Looking Forwards – COP27 2023

‘Combined with increased ambition and action from countries, 1.5C remains in sight, but it will only be achieved if every country delivers on what they have pledged.’ – The Glasgow Climate Pact

COP26 conveyed how electric driving and the use of renewables are fundamental parts of the effort towards achieving net zero.

Next month, world leaders will unite once again at COP27 in Egypt. Within the programme for the COP are ‘Decarbonization Day’ and ‘Energy Day’. The presence of these themes reinforces how imperative a low carbon economy and a dependence on green energy rather than energy from polluting sources are to the fight against climate change, and how zero emission transport and renewable energy production remain as important as ever.

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