Four reasons why 2021 may be a crucial year in the fight against global warming

If the world is to avoid the worst effects of climate change, countries have only limited time to take action. Here are five reasons why 2021 may be a crucial year in the fight against global warming.

New crown pneumonia is a big problem in 2020, and there is no doubt about it.

But hopefully, by the end of 2021, vaccines will start to work, and we will talk more about the climate than the coronavirus.

For tackling climate change, 2021 will undoubtedly be a difficult year.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres considers this to be a "success or failure" moment.

So, in the spirit of New Year’s optimism, I think 2021 may confuse doomsdayists and see a breakthrough in global ambitions on climate issues.

1. Key climate meetings

In November 2021, world leaders will gather in Glasgow to participate in the follow-up meeting of the landmark Paris Conference in 2015.

The Paris summit is important because it is the first time that all countries in the world have come together and agreed to help solve this problem.

The problem is that the country's commitment to cut carbon emissions at that time was far from reaching the goal set by the conference.

In Paris, countries all over the world have agreed that by the end of this century, the global temperature increase will be controlled at a level 2 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial level to avoid the most serious impact of climate change. The goal is to keep the temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius as much as possible.

We are off track. According to the current plan, the global temperature will exceed the upper limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius in 12 years or less, and reach 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

According to the terms of the Paris Agreement, countries promised to come back every five years to increase their carbon emission reduction targets. This will be held in Glasgow in November 2020.

The pandemic caused all this to be in vain, and the meeting was postponed until this year.

Therefore, Glasgow 2021 provides us with a forum where we can accelerate the pace of carbon reduction.

2. Countries have signed agreements to reduce carbon emissions

Last year's most important statement on climate change was completely unexpected.
At the United Nations General Assembly in September this year, China announced that China’s goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Environmentalists are shocked. Reducing carbon emissions has always been considered an expensive task. However, as the most polluted country on the planet-which accounts for about 28% of the world's total emissions (mainly because of the world's highest population)-it has done it unconditionally. Such a promise, regardless of whether other countries follow suit.

This is completely different from past negotiations, when everyone was worried that they might end up bearing the cost of decarbonizing their own economy, while other countries did nothing but still enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

China's greenhouse gas emissions account for about 28% of the world's

However, China is not alone.

In June 2019, the United Kingdom was the first major economy in the world to make a legally binding net zero emission commitment. The EU will follow suit in March 2020.

Since then, Japan and South Korea have joined the ranks of more than 110 countries estimated by the United Nations, setting a net zero goal by the middle of this century. The United Nations stated that these countries together account for more than 65% of global emissions and more than 70% of the world economy.
With Joe Biden's election as President of the United States, the world's largest economy has rejoined the chorus of carbon reduction.
These countries now need to elaborate on how they plan to achieve their lofty new ambitions-which will be a key part of the Glasgow summit agenda-but they have expressed their desire to achieve this goal, which is a very important change.

Glaciers are seriously being affected by rise in global warming 

3. Renewable energy is the cheapest energy ever

There is a good reason why so many countries are now saying that they plan to achieve net zero carbon: the collapse of renewable energy costs has completely changed the decarbonization calculation.

In October 2020, the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization, concluded that the best solar power generation plan currently provides "the cheapest source of electricity in history."

In many parts of the world, it is often cheaper to build new power stations with renewable energy than fossil fuels.

If countries around the world increase investment in wind energy, solar energy and batteries in the next few years, prices may fall further, because their prices are very cheap, and it will begin to close and replace existing coal and natural gas power stations.

This is because the cost of renewable energy conforms to the logic of all manufacturing industries-the more you produce, the lower the cost. It's like pushing open an open door-the more you build, the cheaper the price.

Half of electricity from renewables by 2050 Source: BBC

Think about what this means: investors don't need to be coerced by environmentalists to do the right thing, they just follow the money. Governments also know that by expanding the scale of renewable energy in their own economies, and by making renewable energy cheaper and more competitive everywhere, they can help accelerate the global energy transition.

4. Business is also going green

The decline in the cost of renewable energy and the increasing pressure from the public to take action to combat climate change are also changing the attitude of the business community.

There are sufficient economic reasons for this. Why invest in new oil wells or coal power stations? These new oil wells or coal power stations will be eliminated if they cannot recover their investment within their 20-30 year lifespan.

Indeed, why is there carbon risk in their investment portfolio?

This logic has been reflected in the market. This year alone, Tesla's soaring stock price has made it the world's most valuable auto company.

At the same time, Exxon's stock price-once the world's most valuable company-fell so deep that it was swept away by the Dow Jones Industrial Average of major U.S. companies.

At the same time, the movement to encourage companies to incorporate climate risk into their financial decisions is gaining momentum.

Its purpose is to force companies and investors to show that their activities and investments are taking the necessary steps to transition to a net-zero world.

70 central banks are already working hard to achieve this goal, and incorporating these requirements into the world financial system will be a focus of the Glasgow Conference.

This is still all challenges.

Therefore, we have every reason to hope, but this is far from a foregone conclusion.


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