COP27: Countries representing over half of world GDP back new decarbonization measures

Countries representing over half of global GDP have launched a package of measures at the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt to speed up decarbonization in power, road transport and steel, scale up low-carbon hydrogen and accelerate a shift to sustainable agriculture.

The actions agreed under the “Breakthrough Agenda” established at COP27 in Glasgow in 2021 build on measures agreed at the summit.

“Since we launched the Breakthrough Agenda at COP26, the world has changed and we are facing a perilous geopolitical and economic situation,” the UK’s COP26 President Alok Sharma said in a statement Nov. 11. “That only makes international collaboration more urgent.

“Now, it is vital for all to deliver and demonstrate real progress as we move forward. This is integral to achieving the 2030 goal of making clean technology affordable, available and accessible to all.”

The actions are supported by the G7, European Commission, India, Egypt and Morocco, amongst others.

A series of multilateral agreements include actions on:

— Common definitions for low-carbon steel, hydrogen and sustainable batteries.

— Phasing out polluting road vehicles, consistent with the Paris agreement, with “significant” backing for 2040 globally and 2035 in leading markets.

— Ramping up large-scale net-zero emissions industrial plants and hydrogen valleys and cross-border power grids.

— Strengthening financial and technological assistance to developing countries to support energy transitions.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the cost of producing renewable hydrogen via alkaline electrolysis in Europe at Eur15.18/kg ($15.60/kg) Nov. 10 (Netherlands, including capex), based on month-ahead power prices, down from a peak of over Eur30/kg at the end of August.

Global passenger electric vehicle sales in September of 915,000 units accounted for 14% of total light duty vehicle sales, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights’ monthly EV Essentials report.

With data available through nine months, China was on track for year-end EV sales of over 6.7 million vehicles, an annualized global market share of 27.8%.

S&P Global projects that by the end of 2022, EV sales in the US alone could approach 750,000 vehicles, with 2023 seeing sales eclipse one million vehicles for the first time ever.

Further actions in the cement and buildings sectors are expected to be added to the Breakthrough Agenda in 2023.

Coalition of the committed

The model seeks to drive climate change mitigation through “coalitions of committed countries,” rather than relying on global consensus.

“The Breakthrough Agenda provides a practical platform for partnerships between countries and across industries that will be essential to rapidly scale commercially viable solutions for climate progress,” UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said in the statement.

The Breakthrough Agenda was established at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, by 45 world leaders representing over 70% of global GDP, providing a framework for governments, businesses and civil society to join up and strengthen actions each year in key emitting sectors.

The leaders agreed to review progress annually, with the first such review published in September 2022 warning that an “international collaboration gap” threatened to delay net-zero by decades.

The COP27 announcement Nov. 11 comes in response to the report’s recommendations.

— James Burgess