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Ahead of the G7, ASI’s Chief Economist on why he believes COP26 is the last chance saloon

In anticipation of G7, Jeremy Lawson outlines his thoughts on policy expectations, ASI’s climate policy index and scenario analysis outcomes, and emphasises the need for urgent action ahead of COP26.

The COP 26 meetings are due to be held in Glasgow in November and are said to be the most important in a generation.

Jeremy Lawson, Chief Economist and Head of ASI’s Research Institute of Aberdeen Standard Investments (pictured), argues that without more ambitious targets and credible actions, global temperatures will not be held at 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, let alone 1.5 °C.

Jeremy Lawson comments on the changes that need to be made in Glasgow and why progress towards the Paris goals has been insufficient:

“The G7 and G20 members must signal their willingness to move in this direction and send a powerful message to the rest of the world that the largest economies and emitters are ready to act to limit future damaging climate change.

“In the five years since the Paris Agreement, global greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to rise and may not peak until 2022, requiring even more drastic emissions cuts to meet the Paris objectives. Despite the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to support the temperature objectives fell at least 80% short. Current pledges leave the world on track for 2.4 degrees of warming – and all the damage of this outcome.

“Lasting emissions reductions require widespread political buy-in, backed by clear legislation. That is why we developed the ASI Climate Policy Index for the major advanced economies. Our work highlights that most developed countries have made progress towards decarbonisation, but there are still no countries with fully credible Net Zero 2050 strategies. Sweden and Denmark currently lead by building climate initiatives into all policymaking.”

Lawson concludes: “Our recommendations are ambitious, but achievable, and the benefits are incalculable. The IEA demonstrated that a net-zero transition by 2050 could lift, not lower, economic activity. The economic costs of inaction, not to mention the social, health and environmental impacts, tip the balance even more towards much greater action now.”

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