As negotiators sit in closed door meetings, debating Article 6, coming to agreements and finding disagreements on a number of policy issues, there is another COP happening. One where businesses, governments, NGOs, nonprofits and regulators are coming together across Glasgow, outside COP’s Blue Zone (where diplomatic discussions happen), to discuss innovations in climate action.
At the Sustainable Innovation Forum, entities from across the globe joined panels, had discussions, and networked. With today’s commitments we are making progress but there is still a gap to reach our 1.5 degrees Celsius target. It is these conversations happening here that ensure we continue to innovate, putting our climate target continuously more within reach. No matter if the discussion was energy transition, blue carbon or about building public and private partnership, key themes arose across talks:
- Scale is essential for driving down prices
- Private investment is needed to continue to build the markets that will drive this
- All of society is ready, a big shift from Paris
- We need standardization and measurements
Debate over energy sources all came down to one thing – scale and reliability as a driver of cost. However, it’s not just one thing that needs to scale, it’s many things. Renewable energy sources, standardized emissions reporting, investment, and carbon markets were just some of the solutions that were pointed to as needing scale to make climate action both accessible and affordable.
When it comes to article 6, businesses made their desire clear – they just want clarity of rules. Not only will those rules ensure accountability, they will provide the foundation for quicker action. Across every sector, a clear call for investment in businesses and innovators is seen as the essential catalyst to create carbon markets. Everyone was in agreement that it is a shift from where we were even just a half decade ago. Climate tech investors shared their view on the maturing space that is leading to more late stage investment.
Society is Ready
One of the biggest shifts since Paris – economic development and climate change are no longer two separate and distinct issues. Climate action is seen as an opportunity for economic resilience and growth. Economically disadvantaged countries are making significant commitments because a failure to do so just means increased economic cost and unrecognized opportunity. Carbon markets are appearing and this is their chance to be part of them, but the advantaged countries need to ensure the design of solutions benefits all. Success won’t come down to societal will, we largely have that, it is about private innovation, investment, and action on the commitments already made.
Standardize it and Measure it
Businesses are looking for standardization and clarity of rules. For markets to effectively function, standardized and transparent data sits at the core. Article 6, as well as other points, are critical to creating a carbon market we can trust, that doesn’t double count offsets, and provides us the path to staying under 2 degrees C.
If all the climate commitments that have been made to date are fulfilled, we would hit warming of 1.8 degrees, past our 1.5 degree Paris Agreement target but far better than our current path of almost 3 degrees warmer. To deliver and surpass promises made at COP, it will take innovations that haven’t been created yet, growth of existing markets, and holding each other accountable through standardization and measurement.