Chronic: a desynchronized climate action

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Climate action against global warming is deployed with variable geometry. The adoption of renewable energies and the commitment to so-called low-carbon mobility are meant to be real, in an energy transition which is however taking place in a desynchronized manner.

Climate Chance released its global stocktake for action climate by sectors. In its voluminous report listing initiatives to combat global warming, the association notes a concrete commitment and “a demand for low-carbon goods and services. [qui] exceeds the adaptive capacity of the global economy’s supply chains ”. Then quickly deplore a geopolitical asymmetry of interventions and the lack of synchronism in the global approach.

The share of global GDP associated with government commitments aimed at carbon neutrality increased from 16% in 2019 to 68% in 2021, for 61% of emissions. However, we are talking about non-binding commitments, based on non-homogeneous temporal targets and on bases that are sometimes absolute, sometimes relative. On the business side, among the 2000 largest companies, only 417, which represent a third of total turnover, have a “carbon neutral” objective.

In the business sector whose heart is based on the production of fossil energy, the commitment to achieve carbon neutrality lies more with the big European oil companies. With a few rare exceptions, “they are not followed by their American counterparts, nor by the national oil companies, which control the vast majority of the reserves and the production of oil”, one can read in the report. And according to the assessments carried out by the Oil Change International or Carbon Tracker Initiative of this world, there is a mismatch of most of the action plans with the Paris Agreement. In addition, many oil companies formulate mitigation targets in terms of carbon intensity rather than in absolute terms. Moreover, few of them plan to cut their production, and none plan to stop it. “The strategies are similar in the mining industry, which today represents 22% of the industry’s CO2 emissions,” adds Climate Chance.

Carbon pricing

The increase in the competitiveness of renewable energies has nevertheless accelerated with the rise in the price of a tonne of carbon, which hit 62 euros (CA $ 89) at the beginning of October after remaining below 5 for a long time. euros following the opening of the emissions trading market in 2005. This is the European experience.

More than 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions are currently targeted by carbon pricing, against 15% in 2020. “But the average price does not exceed 3 [dollars américains la tonne], when the Stern-Stiglitz commission on the carbon price concluded in 2019 that “the explicit carbon price level compatible with […] the Paris Agreement is at least 40 to 80 dollars per tonne of CO2 in 2020 ””.

Climate Chance has taken data from the International Energy Agency according to which fossil fuels have absorbed most of the effects of the pandemic on the energy sector, with primary demand for oil and coal falling by 8 respectively. , 6% and 4% over the year. The large Asian emitting countries were, however, less affected by the pandemic. “China, in particular, is blowing hot and cold on the global energy mix: at the origin of nearly half of the solar and wind capacity additions, giving up investing in coal-fired power plants abroad, it It is nonetheless responsible for 80% of the addition of new coal-fired electricity production capacity in 2020 ”, underlines the association. It is thus expected that the demand for coal will return this year to the peak reached in 2014, “with growth concentrated at 80% in Asia, of which more than half in China”.

“But the electrification of uses cannot keep its promises for the climate as long as it is powered by carbon energies: 61% of the world’s electricity is still of fossil origin. However, the relative decline of coal in Europe and the United States does not signify the end of fossil fuels in electricity mixes. Since 2011, 85% of American coal-fired power plants redirected to other uses have been transformed into gas-fired power plants. Half of the EU Member States still consume the same or even more gas. Driven by the Asia-Pacific region, the growth of the liquefied natural gas market will continue as coal weakens. “

And Climate Chance to give a little nod to the world of electric vehicles (EV). The association observes that Europe for the first time overtakes China as the world’s largest market, while interest is struggling to rise in the United States. ” […] EVs do not escape the imagination of power: nearly two out of three EVs sold in the world are [véhicules utilitaires sport] or sedans […] accounting for 42% of the global automotive market, this heavy and emissive range is one of the few economic sectors to have recorded an increase in its emissions in 2020. “

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