What does COP26 mean for your business energy?

COP26, the 26th United Nations climate change conference held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021, is considered to be the biggest climate summit of all time. Nations and thousands of other delegates will focus their efforts on accelerating action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

The landmark agreement was signed in Paris for the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) and it directed the world on a new course for global climate action.

President Joe Biden attended the first two days of the conference and delivered a keynote speech. In his time in Glasgow, Biden announced new, bold actions that will help the US and the world tackle the climate crisis. 

America has returned to the climate fight

One of the first decisions made by Biden after defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 general election was to recommit the USA to the Paris Agreement. Now at COP26, Biden says the US is ready to be a leader again in the fight against climate change. 

His administration will “demonstrate to the world the United States is not only back at the table but hopefully leading by the power of our example.” The president took advantage of his short stay in Glasgow to unveil new climate policy actions.

Just prior to the start of the climate summit, the US rejoined the High Ambition Coalition, the group of developed and developing countries that made the 1.5 Celsius goal a primary component of the Paris agreement.

As the world’s biggest economy and second biggest emitter (behind China), the US’ return to the group is seen as a significant boost to the agenda of COP26.

“Incredible opportunity” to build an equitable energy future 

Biden delivered a speech at COP26 that emphasised his hope to transform the imminent catastrophe into opportunities for jobs and for the economy. 

“Within the growing catastrophe, I believe there is an incredible opportunity,” he said. “Not just for the United States, but for all of us. We’re standing at an inflection point of world history. We have the ability to invest in ourselves and build an equitable clean energy future, and, in the process, create millions of good-paying jobs and opportunities around the world.”

He also brought attention to the global energy crisis and the soaring energy prices, and that these events “only reinforce the urgent need to… diversity sources, double down on clean energy deployment, and adapt promising new clean-energy technologies…”

Biden announces methane reduction action plan

“One of the most important things we can do in this decisive decade — to keep 1.5 degrees in reach — is reduce our methane emissions as quickly as possible,” Biden continued in his address.

Biden pledged at the summit to work with EU and other world leaders to reduce overall methane emissions worldwide by 30 percent by 2030. 

Methane is one of seven greenhouse gases. It makes up around 10 percent of greenhouse gases emitted by the US into the atmosphere. Despite its relative low contribution by volume, methane has 80 times more warming power than carbon dioxide. 

The Biden Administration’s methane reduction plan will primarily target the oil and gas, agriculture, landfills, and other “need-to-abate” sectors such as energy, industry, and transportation. 

The US Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan will advance three aims, according to the White House:

  • Generate substantial climate benefits.
  • Create thousands of high-quality, union-friendly jobs and encourage innovation solutions in the agriculture and industry sectors.  
  • Provide improved public health and local air quality for the many disadvantaged communities affected by methane emissions. 

Other climate pledges committed by Biden

The US also pledged their commitments to other vital issues discussed at the climate summit. 

End and reverse deforestation

Garnering most of the headlines was the US and 100 other nations’ commitments to end and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. Heavily forested nations like Canada, Russia, Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are all taking part. 

Biden revealed the deal at the summit, saying that deforestation must be met with the same seriousness towards decarbonizing our economies. “The United States is going to lead by example at home,” Biden said. Early in his presidency, Biden used executive orders to set land aside for conservation.

Launch of the Net-Zero World Initiative

The US on Wednesday, November 3 launched the Net-Zero World Initiative, a Department of Energy-led initiative that brings together countries working together to accelerate decarbonization in the global energy system. 

Partnering countries—among whom are the initiative’s founding partners in Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Ukraine—will work across the US and the DOE’s national laboratories to develop and realise each country’s energy decarbonization strategy. 

Unlocking private sector financing and delivering technical expertise on implementation and market reform will be supplemental contributions made by the US in this initiative. 

Launch of the First Movers Coalition

A partnership between the US and the World Economic Forum called the First Movers Coalition launched on November 4 during COP26 deliberations. 

Members of this coalition will commit to buying low-carbon products by 2030 to help develop green supply chains on their way to meeting the world’s climate goals. 

Participating members will first target the shipping, aviation, steel, and trucking sectors—categorized as “hard-to-abate” sectors—before adding four additional sectors in 2022.

Plan your energy future with NGP Americas 

There are high hopes for participating nations at COP26 to commit to substantial policies and actions towards protecting our environment and decarbonizing our energy sector. Plans such as the US’ methane reduction strategy will have major implications for businesses across many sectors, particularly energy, agriculture, and oil. 

Those in the shipping, steel, and trucking sectors should look now to make their supply chains green. 

Our energy experts at Northern Gas and Power Americas offer world-class procurement and energy management services to businesses across the country. We want to help you transition smoothly and fruitfully to the new energy future. 

Contact us today.

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