In his speech to world leaders at 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “In Canada, there was a town called Litton. I say ‘was’ because on June 30th, it burned to the ground. The day before, the temperature had hit 49.6C, the hottest ever recorded. Canada is warming, on average, twice as quickly as the rest of the world.”
PM Trudeau committed Canada to immediately cap oil and gas emissions, and ensure they decreases at a pace and scale that ensures they reach net zero by 2050.
Billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg, who also serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, today told an audience at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow that his Bloomberg Philanthropies foundation would launch a new effort to accelerate the closure of coal plants globally.
The campaign will support UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres‘ long-standing calls for coal power to be phased out in OECD and the EU27 by 2030 and by 2040 everywhere else.
As such, the Bloomberg Philanthropies campaign has set a target to work to close a quarter of the world’s 2,445 remaining coal plants and all 519 proposed new coal plants by 2025, in a move that will dramatically expand its current efforts to support coal phase outs in seven countries and the EU. Specifically, the campaign will be extended to an additional 25 developing countries where coal power is projected to rapidly grow.
To continue progress on transitioning beyond coal, the Bloomberg Global Coal Countdown is now equipped with features to track the state of coal. Together with @PastCoal, we’re hopeful these updates will rally global support at @COP26 for increased action. https://t.co/iKgdVW1DH0 pic.twitter.com/MsBn3hfdBZ
— Bloomberg Philanthropies (@BloombergDotOrg) November 1, 2021
An astonishing 82% decrease in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy since 2010 has given the world a fighting chance to build a zero-emissions energy system which might be less costly than the fossil-fuelled system it replaces. The International Energy Agency projects that PV solar generating capacity must grow ten-fold by 2040 if we are to meet the dual tasks of alleviating global poverty and constraining warming to well below 2°C.
Critical challenges remain. Solar is “intermittent”, since sunshine varies during the day and across seasons, so energy must be stored for when the sun doesn’t shine. Policy must also be designed to ensure solar energy reaches the furthest corners of the world and places where it is most needed. And there will be inevitable trade-offs between solar energy and other uses for the same land, including conservation and biodiversity, agriculture and food systems, and community and indigenous uses.
Colleagues and I have now published in the journal Nature the first global inventory of large solar energy generating facilities. “Large” in this case refers to facilities that generate at least 10 kilowatts when the sun is at its peak. (A typical small residential rooftop installation has a capacity of around 5 kilowatts).