COP26 must drive an increase in the adoption of robust 2030 targets and net-zero long-term goals for a 1.5°C, resilient future, where climate and nature are tackled together, coherently.
The time for action is now. According to the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) if we continue at current pace we will pass 1.5°C by 2040 and reach 2°C warming by 2050: crucial tipping points after which time the effects of climate change on our environment will be irreversible.
The role of real economy actors in achieving a 1.5°C, resilient future is crucial. Urgent and system-wide action is needed to move out of “the red” through measurable, accredited and science-based activity at the company level. 2030 targets are vital: they allow non-state actors to set transition plans that they can actually deliver on, without kicking the can down the road and raising future risk, tackling and adapting to the changes already baked into the system.
Every company, city and state must set ambitious science-based targets and be held to account for their progress against them. To halve global emissions by 2030, we need to see the number of companies with net-zero, 1.5°C-aligned targets grow from hundreds to thousands - and fast. Business as usual is no longer an option: financial institutions must engage with companies and decarbonize their portfolios. Through disclosure, ambitious target-setting and aligning all activities with the Paris Agreement, the sector can decarbonise at scale and finance the transition to a net-zero and resilient economy.
Science-based Targets are driving economy-wide change, but corporate ambition alone is insufficient. Governments must strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies (LTS) to ensure that they are in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. These must be backed with comprehensive, science-based and well-aligned national and sectoral policies, including at the subnational stakeholder level.
There is huge mitigation and adaptation potential waiting to be unlocked. Governments should use the momentum of corporate progress to advance ambitious, net-zero aligned policies that tackle the broader environmental impact and provide companies and financial institutions with further clarity and confidence. This in turn strengthens the Ambition Loop: a positive feedback loop where private sector and government action reinforce each other in building a truly resilient and sustainable future.
There is no way of managing global warming without preserving the planet’s biodiversity, forests and oceans: if we don’t tackle nature and climate together, we solve neither. The IPCC’s AR6 made clear that Nature-based Solutions (NbS) must be part of our attempts to mitigate the potentially catastrophic impacts of global warming. NbS can provide 30% of the solution we need to get on track for limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. However, it is important to ensure that NbS are not a substitute for decarbonizing our economies, but a complimentary approach. NbS must be implemented as part of a wider strategy to cut fossil fuel emissions, as well as maintain, sustainably manage, and restore biodiversity-rich ecosystems.