International energy and climate leaders from more than 40 countries took part in the IEA-COP26 Net Zero Summit to identify how to work together to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The Net Zero Summit, which took place on 31st March is a critical milestone on the road to COP26 in Glasgow in November, as it brought together representatives of countries covering more than 80% of global GDP, population, and emissions.
Co-hosted by IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol and COP26 President Alok Sharma, the virtual meeting brought together high-level representatives of energy and climate ministries from countries including Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, the EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Africa, UK and many others.
Today’s Summit clearly showed willingness from governments, civil society and businesses to work together in each emitting sector to make this happen and keep the 1.5 degree target within reach. This should not be viewed as a shouldering of a burden, but more a sharing of an opportunity. By working together, we can accelerate progress, create jobs and prosperity, and protect our planet for future generations,
…said Alok Sharma, the COP26 President.
During the meeting, many IEA member governments supported the Seven Key Principles presented by the IEA at the Summit to guide the implementation of net-zero commitments. The principles cover essential areas, such as the need for sustainable recoveries from the Covid-19 crisis, the critical importance of implementable emissions reduction roadmaps for the current decade, and the development of stronger mechanisms for international coordination to accelerate innovation and deployment in each major emitting sector of the global economy.
Seven Principles for Implementing Net Zero
- Sustainable recoveries can provide a once-in-a-generation down payment toward net zero: As countries stimulate economies and build back after the Covid-19 pandemic, they also have a historic opportunity to jumpstart progress toward achieving net-zero emissions.
- Clear, ambitious and implementable net-zero-aligned roadmaps to 2030 and beyond are critical: Governments can increase international confidence in the transition by setting out national roadmaps for action over the next vital 10 years, which incorporate each country’s diverse circumstances and utilize a variety of low-carbon technologies and options to enhance steady implementation.
- Transitions will go faster when learning is shared: A wide range of real-world implementation challenges are holding back transitions, including meeting the energy needs of underserved populations and improving safe and sustainable energy access for the poorest and most vulnerable groups. The IEA’s Clean Energy Transitions Programme is supporting governments to navigate the technical and economic transition risks and chart an actionable course towards a sustainable and inclusive energy system.
- Net-zero sectors and innovation are essential to achieve global net-zero: Today’s early-stage technologies will likely need to contribute almost half of the emissions reductions required to set the world on an ambitious path to net zero. The development and deployment at scale of a range of climate-neutral energy technologies, combined with energy efficiency, can enable rapid, sustainable, and deep energy transitions across all major energy use sectors – many of which involve complex value chains that cross national boundaries. Stronger, consolidated public-private mechanisms for international coordination are needed to accelerate innovation and deployment within sectors.
- Mobilizing, tracking and benchmarking public and private investment can be the fuel to achieve net-zero: There is an urgent need to shift gears on climate-neutral energy investment to put the world on track for net-zero. By 2030, the amount of investment required in electricity (generation and grid/storage) needs to rise to more than $1.6 trillion per year to be on track for net-zero emissions by 2050. Major international efforts are required to increase capital flows for climate-neutral energy in emerging markets and developing economies. Public and private sector actors need to be brought together to create the necessary enabling environments to further catalyze sustainable and socially acceptable energy investment.
- People-centered transitions are morally required and politically necessary: As countries seek to advance their shifts to clean energy technologies, the success of these efforts will rest on enabling citizens to benefit from transition opportunities and to navigate disruptions. This includes social, environmental and economic impacts on individuals and communities, as well as issues of affordability and fairness. A focus on training and skills development to equip all citizens to participate in the net zero economy is also critical. Governments should continue to share best practices and, where useful, explore and step up new ways of sharing best practices for designing climate-neutral energy policies that are people-centred and inclusive, including as part of the IEA’s Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions.
- Net zero energy systems also need to be sustainable, secure, affordable and resilient: Governments, companies and other key actors need to both anticipate and manage existing and new energy security challenges, including ensuring uninterrupted flow of energy, even as variable power sources increase. This will require ensuring a diverse, sustainable and socially acceptable clean energy and technology mix; making best use of existing infrastructure; and addressing emerging challenges such as climate resilience, cyber risks and the availability and security of critical minerals. Governments should work together to analyse where new mechanisms can contribute to further strengthening the security and resilience of the global energy system alongside a swift net zero transition.
To support stronger government actions, the IEA on 18 May will publish the first comprehensive roadmap for the global energy sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Requested by the COP26 Presidency as a key input, the roadmap will set out a pathway for what is needed from governments, companies, investors and citizens to put global emissions on a path in line with a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees. The roadmap will help decision-makers to prioritise urgent action in the lead-up to Glasgow.
Our Net Zero Summit made clear that the vast majority of the world agrees on the gravity of the climate crisis and the urgency of immediate actions to put global emissions on track towards net zero. But it also underscored the need for greater international collaboration to drive the rapid global deployment of clean technologies across all the key sectors of the economy. No country can do this alone. If we want the transition to clean energy to happen quickly, the world’s major economies have to work much more effectively and closely together,
…added Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director.
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