The annual UN Climate Change Conference, COP26 (Conference of the Parties) returned this year after the disruptions of COVID-19. Hosted in Glasgow, Scotland, the gathering of world leaders, climate scientist, ministries of transport, environment and climate, aims to tackle the issue of rising global temperatures.
Previous events have brought about measures such as the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol. With 100 countries in attendance, these measures outline targets for the reduction in GHG (greenhouse gases) with policies and protocols agreed and signed.
As road transport accounts for around 10% of global emissions, and rising, big changes are needed to the way we move around the planet.
It is now understood that gross-zero emissions, i.e., a complete and total reduction is an unrealistic target. Instead, what is being worked towards is net-zero emissions. This can be obtained through off-setting emissions rather than aiming for gross-zero.
Countries can offset their emissions by protecting forests, planting trees and increasing biodiversity.
Another tactic seen recently is the implementation of higher taxes for industries producing higher emissions as well as tax breaks for those actively looking for solutions. This helps incentivise and promote greener business practices, ultimately contributing to any one countries success.
Focussing more on road transport and the logistics industry, are the promises being made around electric vehicles. There were 15 countries making commitments to working towards 100% zero-emission Heavy Goods Vehicles by 2040.
Unfortunately, not making that list were the world’s largest automotive manufacturers, the US, Japan, Germany, China and South Korea. Car manufacturers Ford and General Motors, however, did agree to work towards the goal.
Greener Shipping Corridors
Another declaration drawn up for the conference was the Clydebank Declaration. Signed by 19 countries, which included the US, UK, France and Germany, the declaration sets out measures to create 6 green shipping corridors.
These corridors will be routes between ports where by zero emission ships can pass. The hope is to see 5% of ships operating with zero emissions by 2030. Shipping currently accounts for 3% of total emissions globally. If shipping was a country, it would rank 6th highest for pollution.
Decarbonisation of the Aviation Industry
One of the more difficult tasks faced in the drive to reduce emissions is that of the aviation industry. At present no technology exists to drastically reduce what is one of the biggest, and fastest growing sources of CO2 emissions.
The International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition has been signed by 23 countries who have committed to finding an alternative. For the time being, that involves carbon offsetting and using more fuel-efficient planes.