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Running out of time

Ahead of COP26 in November, Bruce Duguid, head of stewardship at EOS, explains what’s at stake, what we want to see from policymakers, and how we will engage for net zero.

The UN's COP26 is considered pivotal as it marks the first formal five-year review of emissions reduction commitments since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. Currently these commitments, called Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs, fall far short of where we need to be, and we are running out of time in which to address this.

Countries must commit to more ambitious NDCs to reduce emissions in line with 1.5°C. To limit global heating to this level, we need to cut global emissions by 40-60% from today’s baseline by 2030. Published NDCs indicate that global emissions would barely fall by 2030 compared with today’s levels. The NDCs should cater for the short-to-medium term up to 2030 and the period beyond, and need to be underpinned by a detailed roadmap. This should include specific policies – such as carbon pricing – impacting consumer and company behaviours, and the promotion and implementation of green solutions by sector.

Since the Paris Agreement was finalised, we have engaged with companies around the globe, urging them to put in place strategies that are consistent with the Paris goals. In 2020 we saw a tripling in the number of companies with a net-zero commitment. However, data from the Climate Action 100+ benchmark shows that while 52% of 159 of the world’s biggest emitting companies have a net-zero goal, only 20% have short and medium-term targets covering a majority of their emissions, and only 7% have targets that are actually aligned to 1.5°C.

Given this worrying outlook and the limited time left for companies to take the necessary actions, EOS plans to intensify its engagement on climate change.

This article will appear in our Q3 2021 Public Engagement Report.

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EOS Client Service and Business Development

Amy D’Eugenio,
Head of Client Service and Business Development, EOS