The effects of the climate crisis began to become evident day by day, companies and governments realized that it was important to take action and keep this issue on their program. Since the Paris Agreement, states have started to set net-zero emission targets to keep the average temperature rise below 1.5° Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
Developed economies focus more on goals, although these states invest in oil-gas projects and pipelines, we can consider them as environmentally friendly and following the 2030 targets at a high pace(!) as much as possible. Clearly, very few governments intend to halt fossil fuel research. Britain licenses new oil and gas fields in the North Sea, China is building coal-fired power plants, and oil companies are still investing in new production. Pipeline constructions still continue in the US.
All this leads everyone to consider a single question. How willing and sincere are the states to achieve this goal?
In this article, I have compiled for you the news of Silke Mooldijk, Frederic Hans and Claire Fyson from climatechanges.com on what topics a good net-zero goal should include, and questioned how this situation is for the country I live in.
We examine a good net-zero commitment in 3 parts: scope, architecture and transparency.
1 — Scope
1.1 Target Year — For the target to be more meaningful, it should have a specific target year or target period. For example, instead of between 2040 and 2050, it should be set a specific time period, such as setting a 2050 target directly. The target year here certainly varies from country to country and is directly related to the country’s economic situation, the resource it allocates for net-zero goals, and the decarbonization technology it uses.
1.2 Emission Coverage — The most transparent and targeted commitments cover targets for emissions of all GHG gases in all sectors. Separating some sectors or some GHG gases from this target certainly poses a risk of emission leakage.
1.3 International Aviation and Shipping — The international aviation and transportation industry is one of the world’s most serious sources of emissions, and a net-zero commitment without solutions for this industry is not strong. At this point, governments should enable the development of technology for these sectors and develop alternatives with zero or low emissions.
1.4 Reductions or removals outside of own borders — When setting targets, countries should consider these targets directly within their own borders. They should be responsible for their own emission values and be accountable for them.
2 — Target Architecture
2.1 Legal Status — Countries’ net-zero commitments vary depending on whether these rules are guaranteed by law or not. For example, while the UK protects its decisions by law, Japan and China have only announced these decisions yet. A good net-zero commitment should be protected by the country’s national laws.
2.2 Separate reduction and removal targets — It is necessary to subdivide the targets for emission reduction and removal targets. Because the outputs of both are different from each other. Therefore, countries should state their CDR and emission reduction targets separately.
2.3 Review Process — These long-term goals should be divided into annual-5-year-10-year subperiods and the functioning of the process should be followed.
3 — Transparency
3.1 Carbon Dioxide Removal — All CDR technologies should appropriate to Paris Agreements long-term goals. Land usage, Land usage change and Forestry sectors should be subgrouped.
3.2 Comprehensive Planning — Actionable, short-range or mid-range steps are needed, at this point countries should have a comprehensive planning process.
3.3 Clarity of Fairness Target — Countries should fairly disclose the extent to which their commitments will contribute to the 1.5-degree target. In particular, leading countries in this field should support other countries’ carbon removal technologies and make agreements for social benefit.
The country I live in (Turkey) does not have a clear long-term commitment on this issue. In addition, when we evaluate the resources it uses for energy production, there is also electricity to be produced from coal and oil in its decision to grow by 19% in electricity production in 2019. In addition, the fact that it is one of the 6 countries that have not signed the Paris Agreement even though it is a supporter shows that the government of the country I live in is not sincere in the 1.5° target.
When we evaluate all these together and examine the steps of the countries, we do not see country policies in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, except for Morocco and The Gambia. (When only the commitments are examined), there is no country that will be a role model to the world when only the commitments are examined, also.
Because we can only reach the 1.5° goal of the Paris Agreement, not with countries and companies, but with individual steps, awareness and the combination of the small steps we take in our lives and the shift in demand, collectively.
Therefore, the most important step is to see that social movement is possible, to magnify the impact of social demand change, to reduce the demand for fossil fuels, to use green energy, to eat vegan & vegetarian, not to buy when not needed, to renew & recycle and to use old products for better purposes, not to prefer non-local and non-fresh products, to eat natural and plant-based… These are all steps we can take and achieve in our lives.
I believe that individual awareness and collective impact are stronger than any government’s commitment.
Stay healthy and be aware!
Kadir from Carbofil ❤