COP26 agreement, all eyes on Trump

28th Sep 2020


There are some voices that have decried efforts to target Net Zero. They claim that other countries aren’t doing “their bit”, so why should the UK?

Now there might be a debate about the pace of decarbonisation, but Net Zero by 2050 is enshrined in UK law. There might be a valid point made that taking draconian measures, which exports industry, jobs, and carbon, being a foolish way forward but the need to achieve Net Zero is not in doubt. The UK leadership on climate change should also be applauded. The first country to legislate for a binding target of 80 per cent; real progress to date in decarbonisation; regular Carbon Budgets monitored by an independent advisory body, the CCC; legislation to achieve Net Zero by 2050 and now our leadership in hosting COP26.

And what had previously stood in the way of any agreement was the attitude taken by the two largest emitters, China at 29 per cent and the USA at 13 per cent (the UK is at 1 per cent). Last week, at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (known as UNGA), China committed itself to become carbon neutral by 2060, reaching a peak in 2030. This news has been warmly welcomed by the European Union (remember them) who have been lobbying China and could prove to be a welcome boost to the UK, as it makes it more likely to be able to reach a new international agreement under its watch (in international circles, these things matter enormously). Already some academics have calculated the impact this decision will have on global temperature change, it is that big a deal.

So all eyes now turn to the US. President Trump is against an international commitment, he’s sceptical about climate change, even though many US states are making real progress in decarbonising. This November’s election matters for any future international deal. All eyes will be on Trump (not that he is a narcissist and would enjoy that) but his defeat could mean a breakthrough for our climate and the two biggest global emitters agreeing to help save the planet.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO