World leaders take 3 positive steps at climate conference

 In Air Pollution, News

Political leaders are moving in the right direction after taking three positive steps to cut the world’s carbon footprint in the first week of the environment summit in Glasgow.

That’s the view of Midlands energy expert Ron Fox who said reducing dependence on coal, a 30 per cent cutback in methane emissions and a pledge to tackle deforestation were very encouraging. But he added that a lot more still needed to be done, in this second week of COP26.

Firstly, more than 40 nations have committed to shift away from coal, which is the single biggest contributor to climate change.

“The good news is that major coal-using countries such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile are among those who have made the promise,” said Ron, on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire. 

“The bad news is that some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent countries, such as Australia, India, China and the USA, did not sign up.” 

Those who have agreed will end all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally and to phase out the fuel for major economies in the 2030s and for poorer nations in the 2040s.

“The beginning of the end of coal is in sight, particularly as dozens of organisations, including several major banks, have agreed to stop financing the industry,” added Ron.

But he pointed out that coal still provided around 37 per cent of the world’s electricity in 2019 and countries, including South Africa, Poland and India, will need major investments to make their energy sectors cleaner.  

Secondly, more than 103 countries agreed to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

“This is very significant,” said Ron, “as methane is the planet’s second most polluting greenhouse gas and, if fully implemented, could limit global warming by 0.2C by 2050. However, China, Russia and India have yet to sign up to this.”

Thirdly, more than 100 countries have signed a pledge to halt and reverse deforestation globally by 2030, backed by £14 billion of public and private money to help protect the Amazon and tropical forests in Indonesia and the Congo.

Ron said around 11 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and the loss of other natural eco systems. He added that an area of forest the size of a football pitch is still being lost around the world every minute.

“What is particularly encouraging about this,” he added, “is that those putting their names to this agreement own 85 per cent of the world’s forests, which can absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide. Also, it is backed by twice as many countries as signed the New York agreement in 2014, with Brazil, China and Russia, who didn’t support the previous declaration, but have now signed this one.”

Ron, of Noreus Ltd, concluded: “It has been a positive first week at COP26; I only hope world leaders make even more agreements in the second week.”

To find out more about green energy and environment issues call Ron on 0845 474 6641.

Caption: Branching out – more than 100 countries have promised to halt and reverse deforestation globally by 2030. 

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