Craig Huntbatch – Net Zero

“A big highlight for me was the announcement of the new (Glasgow) Breakthrough Agenda, with over 40 world leaders signing up to strengthen their climate action plans by 2030. The focus is on the most polluting sectors and making clean technologies affordable, accessible and attractive. Collectively this will cover more than 50% of global emissions: clean power, road transport, steel-making, affordable hydrogen and sustainable agriculture.

“There was also excellent progress towards Financing NetZero – access to funding and investment for green technologies. From a UK perspective the big step forward was the Chancellor announcing plans to make the UK’s financial centre aligned to net-zero. Under the proposals, there will be new requirements for UK financial institutions and listed companies to publish net zero transition plans that detail how they will adapt and decarbonise as the UK moves towards to a net zero economy by 2050. Many UK firms have already made commitments to reduce emissions, for example by joining the UN Race to Zero. The significant step forward now will be that organisations will have to publish their plans to an agreed standard and be open to scrutiny from shareholders and investors. This hopefully should focus firms in what steps they need to take to take and look at how they can do this effectively and affordably.

“More generally, it was great to see so many active and prominent young people at the conference, demanding action from the world leaders.” 

Alistair Davison – Renewable Energy  

“For me, the biggest positive outcome of the COP26 comes, less from the politician’s pledges, but from the uplifting, inspiring and demanding calls to governments from delegates, attendees and protestors.  Demanding the COP do more; achieve more; decarbonise more quickly. This clarion call reverberated around Glasgow in many languages, from many viewpoints and so many global communities.  

“We have seen so many times that People Power drives politics and I was delighted to see renewables of all types embraced as a must-have, mainstream building block of our future society. This was the first COP where what we used to refer to as ‘alternative energy’, is now the norm and the accepted basis of global future energy policy. 

“Another excellent area of progress is the ‘climate cash’ resolution, where 450 organisations across 45 countries pledged to move US$130 trillion of funds into investments that demonstrably work towards net zero emissions by 2050. This is a potentially transformative initiative. A note of caution however: failure to meet previous COP financial pledges hangs over the Glasgow COP. Failure a second time is not an option.”

Peter Morsink – Smart mobility 

“A very positive COP26 outcome came from the First Movers Coalition, with a vision to ‘Trigger demand to make emerging clean technologies accessible and scalable’. Trucking is one of the key sectors, and the Coalition’s 30 members agreed to make purchasing commitments to drive demand.

“Truck owners and operators have set a target for 30% of their heavy-duty and 100% of medium-duty truck purchases to be zero-emission by 2030. Retailers and manufacturers will require all trucking service providers to meet this commitment. 

“Many countries have committed to banning vehicles with combustion engines in the future. This is great progress, but there is still much room for improvement in promoting alternatives to the car including public transport, cycling and walking.”

Evert Holleman – Energy Transition

“Remarkably little has been mentioned about the role industry should play in addressing the climate challenge. Similarly, there is a lack of expectation around how industry should reduce emissions or develop technologies for the future.

“While there is general agreement to stop investing in fossil fuel activity, there was barely any focus on how the industries that currently depend heavily on fossil fuels should adjust. 

“Does that mean we are expecting today’s multinationals to lead us into the next industrial age, or are we expecting new industries to take over? What are the industrial policies that will direct the transition?”

 

COP26 – A turning point for the planet? | Royal HaskoningDHV

Rinus Vader – Energy Transition Built Environment  

“The EU Fit-for-55 approach delivers significant progress regarding carbon emissions in the built environment. It’s a clear vision and package of regulations (although still to be negotiated within its member states) to enhance energy transition from fossil to renewable sources. 

“It also includes a social vision to prevent the European population getting into an ‘energy poverty trap’, through subsidizing the costs of transition and insulation for those who can’t afford it alone.
“Yet, meanwhile, we see national governments subsidizing the import price of natural gas from Russia – money that would be better spent on energy transition and insulation.

“The exploding prices for natural gas and oil should be the driver to accelerate the energy transition. Countries putting their money into this will drive economic growth locally rather than passing capital to Russia and the Middle East. Ultimately, the cost of climate disasters on the built environment will be much greater than the cost of energy transition.”  

Jaap Flikweert – Flood/Coastal Resilience 

“We are already locked into significant sea level rise and weather extremes. With that in mind, it’s positive that adaptation was a big focus at COP. A lot of the adaptation discussion focused on the annual $100bn of support promised by developed nations, and some progress was made. In the margins of COP, initiatives like the Race to Resilience are also starting to  identify how this money can drive ongoing resilience. 

“The UK and the Netherlands are leading the way in developing adaptation options that work in practice; in the coming years these new approaches will inspire further solutions for urgent challenges worldwide.
 
“Anglian Water’s Future Fens initiative is a good example of setting out with the right ambitions from the start: bringing partners together for multi-benefit, long term solutions for climate resilience. 

“I was encouraged by the level of focus on Nature Based Solutions and engaging with communities that don't normally have a say. These topics are close to my heart, chiming with our vision of Enhancing Society Together. One challenge with resilience is that there is no single value to measure progress, unlike the degrees of global warming for Mitigation. Climate risk is inherently complex, so there is a need to recognise multiple dimensions, including for example social equality, impact on nature, change over time and uncertainty.”

Nanco Dolman – Urban Resilience  

“It is encouraging that COP26 demonstrates the growing urgency for ‘Adaptation & Resilience’ – recognising that water is at the centre of the climate change challenges. COP26 is the first ever UN Climate Change Conference to host both a ‘Water Pavilion’ and ‘Resilience Hub’. 
 
“It’s clear that cities must lead the way in climate resilience. According to the UN, 68% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050 and there’s a recognized need for fundamental change to achieve climate resilience and healthy urban living. 
 
“But progress towards climate resilience and net zero ambitions in urban areas is too slow - like the COP26 negotiating table. It is deeply discouraging to see the leaders of China and Russia absent at the summit, when we all recognise that we’re at ‘one minute to midnight’ over climate change.”