COP26: US Progress on Climate Action

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As the second week of COP26 concludes in Glasgow, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, reinforced America’s commitment to climate action by raising global climate ambitions.

Actions include accelerating the transition to clean renewable energy, and creating millions of jobs in the new green economy, both in the United States and abroad.

Net-Zero World Initiative

In the U.S. pavilion on the COP26 stage, Secretary Granholm was joined by the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, to announce the Net Zero World initiative –— the Department of Energy’s flagship contribution to President Biden’s Build Back Better World (B3W) mandate.

The Net Zero World initiative is a whole-of-government approach between the United States, partner countries, and private entities to create and implement tailored, actionable road maps and technological investment strategies that will turn net-zero into reality. Some of the participating philanthropic groups include the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Breakthrough Energy, Lynne and Marc Benioff, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Founding member states include Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Ukraine, with more countries expected to join the initiative.

Carbon Negative Shot

To meet the ambitions of Net Zero World, Secretary Granholm launched the Carbon Negative Shot — a major United States initiative to reduce cost and scale up carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. The Carbon Negative Shot’s goal is to advance innovation in the new and expanding CDR field to remove gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and durably store it for less than $100/ton of net CO2-equivalent.

Tackling Methane Emissions

The past week saw President Joe Biden along with the EU Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen, and several world leaders announce a global partnership to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030 - from 2020 levels.

Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases and is responsible for a third of global warming caused by human activity. The global partnership to reduce methane emissions was first proposed by the US and the EU in September and since it’s inception, more than 100 countries have pledged to the initiative. This pledge covers neatly half of all methane emissions, making up 70% of global GDP.

In an interview, Ursula von der Leyen stated that methane was one of the most effective ways to reduce near-term global warming and is known as a "low hanging fruit" and to buy more time in the fight against climate change.

Increased Carbon Reduction Targets

President Joe Biden has also committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent compared to 2005 by 2030 in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. Biden’s ambitious climate plans involves billions of dollars of funding in clean energy, renewable technology, and investing heavily into electric vehicles with 50% of all automobile sales in the United States to be electric-powered vehicles by 2030.

Phasing out Coal

John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate, predicts that the United States will be coal free by 2030. The U.S. has a long way to go to meet that timeline. Currently, about 25% of the U.S. is powered by coal and the shift away from the fuel will be driven by market forces from renewables sector which are seen as more cost-effective power sources. Those trends are getting a significant boost from Biden’s plan to have the U.S. power grid carbon-free by 2035.

How NUS Can Help

Our sustainability team work with a number of US-based corporates (from across the chemicals, food and drink, and manufacturing sectors) to produce and implement Net-Zero Strategies. With expert knowledge of opportunities across the country and individual states, we can advise on the best ways to decarbonize business operations and meet stakeholder/client expectations.

More: Research Notes, CO2, Coal, COP26, Net-Zero, Sustainability

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