What a Successful COP26 Conference Would Look Like

This article, and others like it, were drawn by me from CFA Institute’s Sustainability Story podcast. The podcast’s wide ranging interviews with ESG thought leaders were boiled down to their essential concepts and distributed to a variety of CFA Institute audiences, including the media.

CFA Institute’s Matt Orsagh, CFA, CIPM spoke with Mark Van Clieaf, Managing Director of FutureZero. In this podcast, Mr. Van Clieaf discusses items upon which consensus from the ongoing COP26 conference in Glasgow would indicate success.

The 26th annual meeting of the Council of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow is centered around accelerating what came out of the Paris Climate Agreement five years ago. For the first time ever, approximately 200 countries are in agreement that human activity is generating greenhouse gas emissions.

While we cannot expect a global agreement on a carbon price, COP26 would be considered a success if the 200 countries, including megacities, develop a set of carbon emission goals and and genuinely commit to achieving them, according to Mark Van Clieaf, Managing Director of FutureZero.

This will be a challenge Mr. Van Clieaf said because among the largest publicly traded companies in the world, less than 10% of them committed themselves to a net zero business model. “And of the 10% that have, we’re not even sure they know what a net zero business model is,” he added.

An agreement to phase out coal is another key objective to watch according to Mr. Van Clieaf. Coal still provides the lion’s share of energy in developing countries like China, even though China is leading the world in nuclear energy. Mr. Van Clieaf said, “China can achieve clean energy if the government of China were to declare it.”

Mr. Van Clieaf also highlighted the importance of agreement on vehicles and a timeline for phasing out internal combustion engines. Further, he sees a massive shift to smart buildings to prevent heat loss if the appropriate incentives are in place. On the consumer side, one benchmark of success would be shifts in government policies promoting energy efficient housing.

Click here to read the article on CFA Institute.

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