As we enter 2021, a growing number of countries are announcing net-zero targets. This is a most welcome set of New Year’s resolutions. But as with our personal commitments to get in shape and lose weight, experience shows that most resolutions will fail, unless they are accompanied by short-term actions and targets.
This is equally true for climate goals. Like delaying the start of a diet, each day that we exceed the earth’s capacity to absorb CO2 increases greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations and requires even deeper cuts in subsequent years to keep warming below 1.5°C or 2°C.
Experts have put forward ideas to accelerate the energy transition. The Rocky Mountain Institute has proposed a refinancing plan that could generate net financial savings of over $100 billion by 2025. A report by IEEFA suggests that repurposing coal plants into solar and battery in India could be more economical than decommissioning them. These and other ideas would benefit from large-scale pilots in developing countries to prove their feasibility and thereby assuage local stakeholder concerns, paving the way for even larger scale rollouts to tackle the climate change challenge head-on.