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Countries set out 12-mth plan to speed up industry emission cuts

Climate activists stage a protest during the COP27 climate conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday. -- AFP
Climate activists stage a protest during the COP27 climate conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday. -- AFP

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Countries representing more than half of the global economy on Friday specified the steps they will take to help accelerate the low-carbon transition by cutting emissions in sectors including power, transport and steel.

Announced at the COP27 climate talks in the coastal Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the United States, Germany, Japan and Canada were among those to back a set of 25 "Priority Actions" that they aim to unveil by next year's talks in Dubai.

They hope that by collectively agreeing on a set of steps, for example agreeing a date to phase out gasoline-driven vehicles, they can send a clear signal to the market of policy direction that will encourage investors and companies to act.

Originally established as the "Breakthrough Agenda" at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, the Priority Actions also cover hydrogen and agriculture, with buildings and cement due to be added in 2023.

Coalitions of companies will join together for each sector, led by a core group and reinforced by finance and industry groups also working on the same problems.

"Radical collaboration is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C.," said Nigel Topping, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for the UK, referring to the world's climate goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by mid-century.

"The Breakthrough Agenda is the largest ever collaborative effort to drive down the cost of cutting emissions across power, transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture, in line with the 1.5°C trajectory."

Thirteen countries had signed up to accelerate action in agriculture, led by Britain and Egypt, for example by increasing investment to generate solutions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts.

"This represents a concrete international plan to decarbonise high-emitting sectors by 2030 and help developing countries seize the opportunity of low-carbon and climate resilient growth and development," said Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt.


Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, the main driver of Climate change, are on track to rise one per cent in 2022 to reach an all-time high, scientists said at the COP27 Climate summit.

Emissions from oil, fuelled by the continuing rebound in aviation, will likely rise more than two per cent compared to last year, while emissions from coal -- thought by some to have peaked in 2014 -- will hit a new record.

"Oil is more driven by the recovery from Covid, and coal and gas are more driven by events in Ukraine," Glen Peters, research director at CICERO Climate research institute in Norway, told reporters.

Global CO2 emissions from all sources -- including deforestation and land use -- will top out at 40.6 billion tonnes, just below the record level in 2019, the first peer-reviewed projections for 2022 showed.

Despite the wild cards of pandemic recovery and an energy crisis provoked by war in Ukraine, the uptick in carbon pollution from burning oil, gas and coal is consistent with underlying trends, the data suggested.

And deeply worrying, said Peters, a co-author of the study.

"Emissions are now five per cent above what they were when the Paris Agreement was signed" in 2015, he noted.

"You have to ask: When are they going to go down?" -- Reuters

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