Focus Shifts to Action After COP26 Promises

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COP26 Summit Composite

As the dust settles on COP26, attention is shifting to what is needed to turn climate commitments made in Glasgow into reality. This includes the various initiatives launched alongside the official climate negotiations. “Credible and predictable policies” are essential now, according to UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney. He points to examples like the UK and Europe's plans to phase out internal combustion engines by 2030 and Canada’s pledge to gradually increase the federal carbon tax to $170 per ton by 2030. But while public opinion shows support for such actions, Carney warns that it could be lost if the energy transition is not managed well. One problem is that the transition is “woefully underspecified.” Compared with “simpler elements, like scaling renewables up and coal down, “it's very fuzzy in the middle in terms of fossil fuels, and people are trying to simplify it too much,” he told a webinar this week. “We will not have a just transition if it's oversimplified,” Carney added. He said it is urgent to specify the implications of the transition, “including having a framework for responsible retirement of stranded assets” that won't live out their entire geological life.

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