Breakthrough Agenda: Nations covering half of global emissions make cleantech affordability push at COP27

Governments representing half of global emissions and more than half of global GDP have provided a sweeping update on commitments to bring low-carbon technologies to price parity with their predecessors by 2030, as part of efforts to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors.

Breakthrough Agenda: Nations covering half of global emissions make cleantech affordability push at COP27

Agreeing standards for low-carbon steel is one of 25 priority action areas being unveiled

The Breakthrough Agenda was first launched at COP26 and has now provided more information about how it aims to deliver its overarching aim of ensuring that low and zero-carbon technologies are affordable by the end of the decade. The update is being provided ahead of the decarbonisation-themed day on the COP27 Presidency agenda this Friday (11 November).

Participants in the Road Transport Breakthrough have agreed that they will bring forward policies to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and other light vehicles to a common timeframe. Dates of 2040, if they are a developing economy, or 2035, if they are a developed economy, are being discussed. It has been confirmed that “significant backing” will be announced by businesses and cities as COP27 continues.

Other agreed actions on ‘priority’ areas pertain to heavy industry. Nations participating in the Breakthrough Agenda have pledged to collectively develop at least 50 large-scale industrial plants or clusters operating at net-zero emissions, as well as at least 100 hydrogen valleys. Hydrogen valleys are areas where multiple hydrogen projects operate in a ‘cluster’, with production often co-located with end-use. Hydrogen producers will, in the coming days, sign an agreement to prioritise green hydrogen produced by electrolysis powered with renewable electricity.

Another agreement is on the creation of common definitions for ‘low-emission’ steel and hydrogen. These definitions will set the bar for manufacturers and for procurement. Similarly, nations will need to define what constitutes a ‘sustainable’ battery.

All in all, there are 25 new collaborative actions for the Breakthrough Agenda participants to deliver. They have pledged to achieve all of them before COP28 begins in Dubai next winter.

The initiative has also added two new nations – Cambodia and Austria – and confirmed which nations will be leading some of its key sector-specific workstreams. The UK is a co-lead on the workstreams for power, along with Morocco; hydrogen, along with the US; agriculture, along with Egypt; steel, along with Germany, and road transport, along with the US and India.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said: Since we launched the Breakthrough Agenda at COP26, the world has changed and we are facing a perilous geopolitical and economic situation. That only makes international collaboration more urgent.”

The UN’s high-level champion for climate change for Egypt, Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, added: “COP27 is an implementation COP. I am pleased to see countries come together today to shift from pledges to tangible action, by collaborating through the Priority Actions under the Breakthrough Agenda. This represents a concrete international plan to decarbonise high-emitting sectors by 2030 and help developing countries seize the opportunity of low-carbon and climate resilient growth and development.”

Private sector action

Earlier this week, there was some big news on cleantech from the private sector.

The First Movers Coalition, which launched at COP26, announed 10 new corporate members and confirmed that its members have now collectively made more than $12bn commitments to invest in cleantech. New members include General Motors, PepsiCo and Rio Tinto.

The Coalition also launched  a new sector-specific workstream on cement and concrete, whose value chains are responsible for 8% of annual global emissions. Other sectors already covered are steel, aluminum, aviation, shipping, trucking and carbon removal.

Similarly, the Mission Possible Partnership, comprising more than 400 businesses in transport and industrial sectors, released sector-specific targets for decarbonisation this decade in the run-up to COP27. They will be discussed in more detail at COP27 next Tuesday (15 November). The initiative will also confirm plans to provide support for decarbonisation transitions for two industrial hubs in the US – one in Texas and one in California.

Editor’s note: The Mission Possible Partnership bears no relation to edie’s Mission Possible campaign. That campaign is still ongoing and you can find out more about it, here.

Read all of edie’s COP27 content here.

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