Race to Zero Dialogues launched as UN Climate Action Pathways map to a zero-carbon economy

By Asitha Jayawardena

The High-Level Champions for Global Climate Action are convening the Race to Zero Dialogues online, in collaboration with the Marrakech Partnership, from 9 to 19 November 2020. It is a two-week series of nearly 100 virtual events, examining how to mitigate climate change while building resilience to its impacts. It will bring together major leaders, including Heads of State, Ministers, CEOs, Mayors, Governors, and other international figures.

Roadmaps to limit the rise of temperature to 1.5oC

The granular roadmaps will achieve the Paris Agreement across 8 sectors, namely energy, industry, transport, human settlements, oceans, water, nature-based solutions and land use and resilience. These developments will achieve zero emissions by 2050 (i.e. net-zero target) and avert the worst impacts of climate change, according to the Climate Action Pathways report. It was published by the UNFCCC High-Level Climate Champions and the Marrakech Partnership.

The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, under the leadership of the Champions, have produced the pathways. This partnership is a global alliance of more than 320 major initiatives and coalitions — including the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Oxford University, World Economic Forum, the World Health Organization, and WWF — located across 27 countries.

The pathways outline the near- and long-term milestones to limit the global temperatures to 1.5°C in the sectors of energy, cities and other human settlements, industry, land use, oceans and coastal zones, transport, water and resilience. They will collectively provide the coordinated climate ambition in the run-up to the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow in November 2021. The Paris Agreement in 2015 calls on the countries to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 while limiting the rise of global temperature within 1.5C.

The plan of 8 sectors

The plans of 8 sectors are as follows:

Energy:

  • Green hydrogen: 25 GW of capacity under construction, achieving $1.5/kg, with an investment of at least US$100 billion by 2025
  • 90 utilities and developers and eight major oil and gas companies adopting verified net-zero commitments aligned to 1.5°C and in 2021
  • Building on growth in generation from wind and solar technologies already on Paris-compliant trajectories, with renewables cheaper to build than fossil fuel power plants in 85% of the world

Industry:

  • Retailers increase sales of circular products by 50% and transition their entire large-goods vehicle fleets to 100% zero carbon by 2030
  • Fast-moving consumer goods (or packaged goods) companies ensure zero deforestation from their sourcing of major commodities, cut waste by 50% within their operations and from consumers, and sales of circular and plant-based products increase by 50% by 2030
  • Problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging is eliminated (100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable) by 2025

Transport:

  • Markets commit to 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2035
  • 10 industrial-scale zero-carbon ship demonstration projects realized by 2025
  • 85% of CO2 emission reductions needed to meet the 1.5°C target achieved with existing and emerging policies and technologies, such as electrification and efficiency improvement

Human Settlements:

  • All new buildings operate at net zero carbon and are resilient to future projected climate shocks by 2030
  • Widespread energy efficient retrofit of existing buildings is well underway by 2030, with increased renovation rates to net-zero carbon standards of at least 3% per year
  • 70% of cumulative CO2 emission reductions in the built environment can be achieved by deploying solutions available on the market today

Oceans:

  • Overfishing and destructive fishing practices are ended by 2021, and science-based management is implemented to restore fish stocks in the shortest time possible
  • 30% of fully and highly protected Marine Protected Areas are designated and implemented by 2030
  • Increased resilience and adaptive capacity of ocean-dependent coastal communities (fisheries and aquaculture) and vulnerability assessments conducted by 2025
  • The stable market of zero-carbon fuels by 2030

Water:

  • Double the share of sustainable renewable energy used in water extraction, supply, treatment and reuse by 2025
  • Water and wastewater utilities fully decarbonised and climate resilience improved through climate risk management by 2030
  • 30% of Earth’s water-related natural ecosystems are protected and restored by 2030

Nature-Based Solutions & Land Use:

  • Full 37% contribution of the land-use sector to the Paris Agreement by 2050
  • Loss and degradation of remaining primary forests and other natural terrestrial ecosystems dropped by 70% by 2030, with deforestation ended by 2025
  • Finance for nature-based solutions reaching US$100 billion/year by 2030

Resilience:

  • Early warning systems in place for 1 billion people in developing countries and cities have heatwave action plans in place by 2025
  • By 2025, risk finance and insurance provided to 500 million vulnerable people
  • US$6.9 trillion annually invested in infrastructure is more climate-resilient and 600 million slum dwellers resilient and lifted out of poverty by 2030

Praise from the leaders

The Dialogues have received the recognition from the leaders of the UN as well as the COP26.

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “I thank the High-Level Climate Champions for convening these Dialogues on the original dates of COP26. The postponement highlights the disruption the COVID-19 pandemic has caused and that climate action is more urgent than ever.”

Alok Sharma, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and COP26 President, said: “Over the next 9 days, I hope that these Race to Zero Dialogues will spark new ideas, alliances, and action which will drive progress. It’s great to see the Dialogues include such a wide range of voices, from civil society organizations, young people, businesses and investors.”

More…

Kicking off Race to Zero Dialogues

Race-to-Zero November Dialogues Programme https://unfccc.int/climate-action/race-to-zero/race-to-zero-november-dialogues-programme

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