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Science and innovation critical to climate change solutions
A number of science and innovation initiatives backed by global coalitions of nations, businesses and scientists have been unveiled in the second week of COP26, that will support the implementation of goals announced during the UN climate change summit.
These initiatives include Mission Innovation, a coalition of 23 governments (covering 95% of global public investment in clean technology, research and development), which has announced four new ‘innovation missions’ in which countries will work together to accelerate the development of clean technologies for cities, industry, CO2 removal, and the production of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials. The innovation missions now cover sectors responsible for more than 50% of global emissions, according to the UK government.
Meanwhile, a new Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) – reportedly a global first – brings together over 90 organisations across 30 economies that will see governments, research institutions and communities collaborate to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities on the frontline of climate change.
A Climate Adaptation and Resilience research programme (CLARE), jointly funded by the UK and Canada, will put the ARA’s work into practice. As part of this, the UK government announced a further £48mn towards CLARE, bringing the total UK aid funding to £100mn, alongside £10mn from Canada. Some £40mn of the UK’s contribution will be focused on Africa, and in total the programme is set to benefit at least 5mn people around the world, says the UK government.
To support implementation of the Breakthrough Agenda announced by world leaders at COP26 on 2 November, a new Global Checkpoint Process will seek to sustain and strengthen international cooperation in each of the emitting sectors. Independent experts led by the International Energy Agency (IEA), together with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the UN High Level Climate Action Champions will produce an annual climate risk report to track progress and advise on action. Informed by this advice, countries will discuss how they can work together to make faster progress.
In other announcements, under the Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative (IDDI) the UK, India, Germany, Canada and UAE will work together to create new markets for low carbon steel and concrete. The IDDI has launched a campaign under which member governments, have committed to the disclosure of embodied carbon of major public construction by no later than 2025.
Member governments have also pledged to achieve net zero in major public construction steel and concrete by 2050, and to work towards an emission reduction for 2030 to be announced next year, reports the UK government.