In Brazil, COP26 president says war can accelerate clean energy

In Brazil, COP26 president says war can accelerate clean energy

Alok Sharma, president of COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference held last year, says he believes that the current Russian invasion of Ukraine and the energy situation produced by it can lead countries to accelerate the implementation of clean energy, in search for energy security.

Sharma was in São Paulo this Monday (28) to announce in the country Gfanz, which is the Glasgow Alliance for the Decarbonization of Financial Services. This agreement was launched in 2021, during COP26 in Scotland. The conference president met members of the Brazilian financial sector.

The president of COP26 stressed that Russia’s action is an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation.

“I think countries have understood that if you want to have domestic energy security, if you want to be in a position where you want to have some control over prices, then the way to go is with local renewables,” Sharma told reporters.

“I think what we’re going to see is acceleration of clean energy, which is a key element in getting to emission neutrality in any economy.”

Sharma says we have to hold on to what we already have at the moment, which are climate targets by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050.

The motto of the last COP was “to keep the 1.5°C alive”, that is, the preferential goal of the Paris Agreement of not allowing the average global temperature to exceed an increase of 1.5°C in relation to the pre-period. -industrial.

The problem is that even with the advances made in Glasgow, the survival of 1.5°C was already difficult, as Sharma himself said at the end of the conference. “Today we can credibly claim that we have kept 1.5°C within our reach,” said the president of COP26. “But your pulse is weak.”

And one of the hardest hits by Russia’s war in Ukraine is energy supplies, especially to Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas. With dependence being able to be used as a weapon of war, countries have been racing to try to replace, in any case, the Russian energy source.

The more geographically distant US has already banned the import of Russian oil as a sanction for the war.

The result of the European situation is, possibly, a higher consumption, at least momentarily, of coal, which had already increased earlier this year due to an economic recovery after the most intense periods of the Covid pandemic, even before the war in Ukraine.

The energy source is more polluting than natural gas, so replacing it with the former is problematic for the already tight climate targets.

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, recently expressed concern about the impact of the war on the world’s energy matrices and, consequently, on the climate crisis.

According to him, the race to replace Russian energy sources, even if it is punctual, could lead to extensive dependence and end up accelerating the “mutually assured destruction” of the world.

“This is crazy. Fossil fuel addiction is mutually assured destruction,” Guterres said.

During a climate panel on Monday, Christiana Figueres, former secretary general of the UN climate change agency and architect of the Paris Agreement, also used the term “addiction” to refer to oil dependence and said that one cannot use war to reduce climate action.

“It is our collective addiction to oil and gas that is funding the war in Ukraine.”

In addition to the obvious difficulty in a broad and rapid energy transition, there are still possible difficulties in the relationship between the great powers to discuss the climate crisis in the coming months. The new round of climate negotiations, COP27, will take place at the end of the year in Egypt.

Guterres said last week that the goal of containing global warming to 1.5°C was “breathing for devices”.

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