But commitment is one thing. Delivery is different.
Recall that in 2020, a pandemic temporarily closed billions of companies around the world to understand the challenges of achieving the required emission reductions. When offices, factories and vehicles were idle, global CO2 emissions were reduced by about 7%.
Now, imagine this. The United Nations states that the same amount of emissions will need to be reduced each year for the next decade to keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
These reductions cannot be achieved by closing the world economy again. Instead, we must rebuild the world economy through the transition of a green industry that will change the way we live and work.
COVID has brought another benefit to the climate by kickstarting a key element of its transition. The crisis has forced governments to stimulate the economy, creating opportunities for wise leaders to spend large amounts on climate control. For example, Biden’s $ 2 trillion mega-infrastructure stimulus includes support for electric vehicles, renewable energies, and clean electrical standards that require the US power system not to emit electricity by 2035.
Similarly, the European Commission has promised to spend 30% of the EU’s recovery package on energy transitions and climate change. Canada’s COVID Stimulation Program also focuses on renewable energy generation and zero-emission transport infrastructure.
The pandemic also showed that our civilization can tackle big problems. It showed what is possible when we trust scientists and back technology.
Australia’s Energy Minister Angus Taylor has the right to recognize that technology is an important part of climate solutions. It is neither feasible nor moral to blame lasting poverty by asking developing countries to use less energy or slow economic growth. Our only solution is innovation that gives developing countries access to cheap and reliable clean energy as an alternative to fossil fuels.
The amazing speed and effectiveness of the COVID vaccine development should inspire us to invest more in climate-friendly technologies. Technological advances have already reduced the cost of solar power by 40% and the cost of offshore wind by more than 70% in 10 years. We now need more breakthroughs in industrial processes, materials science, green agriculture, carbon capture, ground storage, hydrogen and batteries.
COVID has given us a lucky break in the climate for all that terrible things. It established the Glasgow Summit for success and gave us the confidence to tackle the big global challenges guided by science and technology. Now we need to double down. Glasgow needs to fix ambitious government promises. The baton is then passed on to us as a company, community and individual to make it happen.
Dr. Andrew Charlton is Accenture’s Managing Director and Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University’s e61 Institute. He was the economic adviser to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
How COVID forced the luckiest rain check on the planet
Source link How COVID forced the luckiest rain check on the planet