The race to net zero is on!
The overarching goal of COP26 was to limit global warming to 1.5 instead of 2 degrees Celsius. With the conference in Glasgow just ending last weekend – what are the most important take-aways?
There has been progress in some singular areas as heads of state, policy-makers, and industry representatives came together to discuss new pledges and goals to limit the effects of climate change. India announced a net zero target until 2070. The US and China announced a (quite superficial) joint agreement to increase efforts in this decade. More than 100 countries promised to end deforestation by 2030. A similar number of nations agreed to cut methane emissions by 30 percent within the same timeframe. Additionally, more than 40 countries committed to phase out coal-fired power production between 2030-2040.
Some participants speak of a generally positive atmosphere and community spirit at the conference and the feeling that the race to (net) zero is on. With average global temperatures today already 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the urgency to achieve a 1.5-degree world also translated into a final agreement in Glasgow. In this agreement, the Glasgow climate pact, a majority of nations aim at intensifying efforts to mitigate climate change. They also ought to come back to the next conference in 2022 (instead of 2025) with more concrete plans to achieve this goal. In the years since the Paris accord, the global North has fallen short of its promise to transfer €100bn/year to help protect the global south from the effects of climate change. The Glasgow agreement urged wealthy nations to double their funding until 2025.
Clear targets and measures are missing
And while the signal the Glasgow climate pact sends, is crucial for progressing to net zero, the decisions itself are non-binding until they are translated into the respective nations’ legislative frameworks. Without concrete targets and measures it remains all but hypothetical if we can reach the goals of the agreement. Those targets and measures remained missing on COP26 in Glasgow. The question about the feasibility to keep 1.5⁰C within reach becomes even more prevalent when looking at the climate data countries submit as basis to forecast climate change scenarios.
Data quality of sovereign emissions is weak
A recent Washington Post report found that global emissions seem to be underreported by at least 16 to 23 percent. For some countries, emission numbers are occasionally out-of-date, nations use various approaches to calculate their emissions, use different emission factors to translate events such as wildfires into their annual numbers or do not report them at all. In other words, the calculation basis for reduction pathways is all but certain and could be re-adjusted the closer we get to the global tipping points and more accurate global carbon accounting standards.
Make data quality your top priority
As a company, it, thus, becomes even more paramount to work with solid data to create clear reduction pathways to net zero (the deadline of which might come even sooner, based on an adjusted global carbon budget). Anything other than a well-conducted corporate carbon footprint will not only eventually increase costs but render a large number of efforts useless.
DFGE provides holistic support in the field of carbon accounting, be it a corporate carbon footprint, climate or net zero strategies using science-based targets. Data quality is a top priority, which is one reason why we are the first official SBT partner of CDP in the DACH region. DFGE supports numerous companies from DAX, MDAX to SMEs in the calculation, analysis, and introduction of SBTs. DFGE helps to choose the right strategies based on your needs. Find out more or feel free to contact us using or call at +49 8192-99733-20.