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Weekly Highlights | From COP 26 expectations to carbon markets

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. Meet the Key Players of the COP26 Climate Summit

By Washington Post

  • Some actors, the so-called Dealmakers, can have substantial influence through their power and leadership. These include John Kerry (Climate Envoy of the USA), Alok Sharma (President of COP26) and Patricia Espinosa (Executive Secretary UNFCCC)
  • Others, the “Wild Cards”, are from vocal countries which either produce hydrocarbons, such as Saudi Arabia, Australia and Russia, or rely on them extensively in their energy mixes, such as China and India
  • Finally, the “Most Affected” are from developing countries which did not contribute significantly to climate change, but will suffer its effects dramatically. These include the Alliance of Small Island States and the African Group of Negotiators

2. Can COP26 really save the planet?


  • Even if everyone sticks to their current promises to reduce emissions, we'll still be on course for a dangerous increase of 2.7C by the end of the century
  • It is true that COPs were set up specifically for governments to tackle climate change, and the annual round of conferences does remain the only forum to tackle the problem collectively
  • However, it is believed that achieving consensus between nearly 200 countries that all have very different perspectives is almost impossible for one single meeting

3. Why COP 26 Has To Succeed

By Forbes

  • The WoodMac’s Energy Transition Outlook (ETO) shows what happens if COP 26 fails to lay down the law on goals and actions to tackle climate change (assuming that policy and technology continue to ‘evolve’ much as they are doing now)
  • In this scenario, the world relies on fossil fuels for decades to come, with hydrocarbons share in the global energy mix which will still represent 70% of the total in 2050
  • The outcome of the ETO is a 2.5°C to 2.7°C pathway

4. The Largest Oil and Gas Companies in the World

By Visual Capitalist

  • Saudi Aramco is one of the five companies in the trillion-dollar club as the world’s third-largest company by market cap
  • Aramco was the world’s most profitable company in 2019, raking in $88 billion in net income, with high oil prices that could propel Aramco back to the top in 2021
  • The company is also the world’s largest corporate GHG emitter and accounts for over 4% of the entire world’s emissions since 1965

5. Optimism for Cop26: We Must Win the Climate Battle – and We Absolutely Can

By The Guardian

  • Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent for The Guardian, spoke with the president of Cop26 Alok Sharma who seems very anxious about Cop addressing the real economy
  • It is highlighted how everybody need to be vigilant against greenwashing, making sure to hold businesses to account on the target
  • The long-term goal of net zero by mid-century is still the key, and countries need to put nationally determined contributions in place by 2030

6. Innovating to Net Zero: An Executive’s Guide to Climate Technology

By McKinsey

  • While 60% of emission reductions needed by 2050 can be done by existing technologies, the remaining 40% comes from technologies that are not yet ready, creating large potential markets and investments of up to $2 trillions per year
  • Five areas, in order of importance, hold a big potential in attracting investments and abating emissions. The first two are the electrification of most transportation, buildings and industry and the second is the green agricultural revolution
  • Of lesser magnitude: the remaking power grids to deliver clean electricity, scaling up the use of hydrogen and expanding carbon capture, use and storage

7. How do Carbon Markets Work?

By The Economist

  • Carbon markets are aimed at reducing emissions by charging polluters. The government sets a cap of carbon emissions for each industry and either sells or gives carbon permits to firms, which can then exchange them based on their carbon needs
  • Carbon markets create a mechanism for which companies are motivated to cut emissions as fast as they can
  • The problem is that in most cases carbon emissions have grown even when a carbon market was introduced. This was caused by low carbon prices, carbon leakage, low fines imposed by the government and lax law enforcement

8. Businesses Rally Behind Global Carbon Pricing Strategy

By Financial Times

  • World enterprise teams have banded collectively to push for a global carbon worth technique, calling on governments on the COP26 to agree on an “efficient and truthful” carbon pricing system
  • The drive for a standard strategy comes from the Washington-based Enterprise Roundtable (BRT), the main lobbyist for large corporations within the US, the Brussels-based European Spherical Desk for Business (ERT), and the enterprise councils of Australia, Canada and Mexico
  • The companies argue for convergence on carbon pricing throughout areas and sectors, which would be vital for producers, trade, customers, buyers and monetary markets to transition in the direction of low-carbon applied sciences and actions

9. Levelized Cost Of Energy, Levelized Cost Of Storage, and Levelized Cost Of Hydrogen

By Lazard

  • While rates of decline in the LCOE for utility-scale solar and onshore wind have slowed down in recent years, the pace of decline for utility-scale solar continues to be higher than that for onshore wind
  • When U.S. government subsidies are included, the cost of onshore wind and utility-scale solar continues to be competitive with the marginal cost of coal, nuclear and combined cycle gas generation
  • Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Hydrogen Analysis (LCOH 2.0) shows that the cost of hydrogen is still largely dependent on the cost and availability of the energy resources required to produce it, such as electricity

10. Here Are 12 Reasons to Be Optimistic about Climate Change

By The Irish Times

  • Many of the best climate scientists believe keeping global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees this century, a critical target set out in the Paris accord is still achievable – though the pathway is narrowing. This means halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050
  • These are the 12 reasons for which we should be optimistic: Cop process is giving concrete results, some solutions already exist, key goals are reachable (e.g., 1.5 degrees), science has brushed aside climate deniers, technology will progress, fossil fuels are being phased out, we have politically active youth, nature is resilient and will help us, giant corporations are pivoting, renewables are established, we can create sustainable agriculture and restore biodiversity
  • The scale of change requires facing up to the horrible truths of interlinked climate and biodiversity crises. These 12 essential ingredients then need to be added to succeed
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