GlobeScan recently hosted a special webinar to explore the environmental, social, and governance implications for the climate agenda after COP26. Our conversation featured an esteemed panel of leaders:
- Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, Vice Chair of Brookfield Asset Management, and former Governor of the Banks of England and Canada, who shared his sense of the implications of COP26, guided by insights from his new book, Value(s).
- Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, who spoke to the opportunities and value of sustainable business and the importance of a just transition.
- Gail Klintworth, Chair of the Shell Foundation, who shared her perspective on the importance of communities, especially in the Global South, in the transition to sustainable development.
This conversation was moderated by Chris Coulter, CEO of GlobeScan who set the context by sharing our latest global public opinion trends on the climate agenda:
- The global public’s concern about climate change is at its highest level since GlobeScan’s tracking began in 1998.
- There is an increase in the number of people who feel personally affected by climate change across nearly all the countries we surveyed, with people in emerging markets feeling the most affected by climate change.
- In the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow vs COP21 in Paris, there is increased pressure from the public who want their governments to take bolder action on climate change.
- Across the world, majorities of people are in support of a carbon tax.
Mark Carney on the Implications of COP26
Mr. Carney shared that while not everything was achieved at COP26 and that there is a great deal more to do, we did indeed make important progress in Glasgow.
He said that the world is coalescing around a net-zero pathway for 1.5 degrees as the objective. We are currently at 1.1 degrees and there is an increase in the frequency and impact of extreme weather events. The worry around these extreme weather events was highlighted at COP26 during the speech by Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados:
“For those who have eyes to see, for those who have ears to listen, and for those who have a heart to feel: 1.5°C is what we need to survive, 2°C, is a death sentence for the people of Antigua and Barbuda, for the people of the Maldives, for the people of Dominica and Fiji, for the people of Kenya and Mozambique, and for the people of Samoa and Barbados. We do not want that dreaded death sentence. And we have come here to say: “Try harder.” Try harder because our people, the climate army, the world, the planet, need our actions now ‒ not next year, not in the next decade.”
Mr. Carney went on to say that there has been an important and meaningful shift over the last few years with the proportion of countries that have made a net zero commitment moving from 30 percent of global emissions covered to over 90 percent at the end of COP26.
A series of significant side deals achieved during the COP26 Summit include:
- More than 130 countries pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030;
- More than one hundred countries signed the Global Methane Pledge and agreed to collectively slash methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030;
- A deal on international carbon markets to provide the tools needed for a robust, transparent, and accountable carbon market, allowing governments to trade emissions reductions to provide flexibility in how they meet their national climate goals;
- More than thirty countries, dozens of states and cities, and several automotive companies agreed to work to guarantee that new cars and vans sold are zero-emission by 2035 in leading markets and 2040 globally.
I haven’t been at every COP, but I have been at a number of them, and the private sector’s presence and action is much greater at this one. We now have over 5,000 companies around the world who have the most rigorous net-zero plans.– Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance
Mr. Carney also spoke about the importance of the financial sector as an enabler of change and that it has managed to step up with a serious commitment in the form of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) which represents a total balance sheet of $130 trillion dollars.
His five-point action list coming out of COP26 includes:
- Clear, credible government policies to limit warming and enable transition;
- Scaled investment in developing economies;
- A stronger nature/biodiversity focus;
- Details on the energy transition including how stranded assets wind down;
- A just transition.
Watch Mark Carney’s Webinar Highlights:
Mark Cutifani on the Opportunities and Value of Sustainable Business
Turning the conversation over to Anglo American, Mr. Cutifani explained that in the last 100 years, energy consumption in the mining industry to produce a pound of copper has increased by a multiple of 16. He went on to say that for Anglo American to really change its competitive position and do better, they have to change the energy and water dynamic and mines must be far more productive.
He also believes in committing to renewables. By taking up investment opportunities, Anglo American will continue to move further into renewable energy. As an example of how this is being translated concretely, Mr. Cutifani shared that the company is developing new hydrogen-consuming trucks and loaders which will eventually replace diesel in their operations.
Climate change not only provided mining with an addition to its own burning ambition to change, but the world around it also understands its need to change and everything has now come down to how such change should be brought about.– Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive, Anglo American
Watch Mark Cutifani’s Webinar Highlights:
Gail Klintworth on the Importance of Communities
Ms. Klintworth stressed the importance of not forgetting about the most vulnerable people in the world and the places where they live. Sixty percent of the world’s population are on a low income, and they have not benefitted from industrialisation. They want to improve their lives as much as those living in wealthier countries.
She emphasized that it is the people in developing countries who are also most exposed to climate, and yet they often have the least access to a social safety net. There are still nearly two billion people who do not have consistent access to energy, for instance.
The two main things that Ms. Klintworth said that we need to focus on are renewable energies to help emerging markets grow whilst also protecting everyone, and the need for real projects on the ground that are going to make a difference and support communities. Large multinationals can have those projects and will attract capital to support them, but we need more than that. We need local entrepreneurs in local markets who can drive some solutions.
We might end up with a world that is within 1.5 degrees reach, but if we haven’t looked after the inequity in the world and the just transition, it won’t matter, because we will be destroying ourselves anyway.– Gail Klintworth, Chair, Shell Foundation