UNFCCC Race to Zero Dialogues
In place of an in-person conference this year, the UNFCCC hosted a set of online dialogues to discuss how we can ‘race’ to zero greenhouse gas emissions and zero harm to biodiversity, on the route to negative emissions, net biodiversity gain and a restored planet. There was a day of dynamic discussions focused on nature-based solutions and land use, and a day dedicated to oceans. Some key announcements were:
- The Green Gigaton Challenge was launched – a new global initiative aiming to increase forest contribution to climate change mitigation whilst simultaneously ensuring biodiversity conservation and contributing to green COVID recovery; it aims to deliver the first gigaton of high-quality emissions reductions by COP26.
- The Blue Carbon Initiative launched a prize to promote innovative solutions at the ocean-climate nexus. They also highlighted their guidance for incorporating blue carbon into NDCs, and their manual for standardised protocols for measuring blue carbon stocks and fluxes.
- 38 banks, representing USD 15 trillion in assets, affirmed their commitment to make scenario-based targets within the next two years to align their entire portfolios to limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C – these commitments were convened by the Principles for Responsible Banking’s Collective Commitment to Climate Action.
Recurring themes during the conference were:
- The need for placing local people at the centre of project planning and decision making processes, including use of local and indigenous knowledge, provision of indigenous people with funding for work they are already doing, and helping people connect with online discussions.
- Green COVID recovery plans must help the most vulnerable people first.
- The need to make NbS projects attractive investments for the private sector, and increase the capacity of intermediaries to link financiers with projects.
- The need to redirect the power of markets away from driving destruction and towards turning the tide on biodiversity loss.
- Recognition that we are at a social “tipping point” where the true value of nature is starting to be recognised by the public and private sectors.
- We need to increase ambition for NbS in the run up to COP26 and showcase success stories.
Overall the event called for inclusivity and joint ambition between researches, sectors and nations – we need “radical collaboration” in order to effectively address the climate crisis. We need to make this the decade of collective action.