Africa may miss Paris Agreement ‘net zero’ CO2 emission target by 2050 -Report
Africa is in danger of missing the Paris Agreement target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a new report of the research conducted by Standard Chartered has revealed.
The study revealed that more than half of African companies are delaying their energy transition targets. In the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to keep global warming ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius, and to ‘make efforts’ to keep it below 1.5ºC.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report October 2018 on the 1.5ºC target; stating that global emissions need to reach net zero around 2050 (mid-century) to give a reasonable chance of limiting warming to 1.5ºC.
Standard Chartered’s Zeronomics – a study into the financing of a net zero world, surveyed the senior leadership of 250 large companies and 100 investment specialists around the world between September and October 2020 and found that 55 per cent of Africa-based business leaders believe their companies are not transitioning fast enough (55 per cent of companies globally).
The research indicated that lack of access to finance is the biggest barrier to progress for most African companies.
The findings revealed that finance is a significant obstacle by 78 per cent (67 per cent globally).
It was gathered that only 35 per cent of African companies fully support the aims of the Paris Agreement compared with 47 per cent globally.
Further revelations show that most of the companies’ focus is to delay significant action to after 2030, obviously seeing the 2020s as a lost decade.
The report also showed that some 32 per cent of business leaders (34 per cent globally) said their companies will make the most progress between 2030 and 2040, while a further 40 per cent (37 per cent globally) said they would take most action between 2040 and 2050.
Accoording to the report, “Most companies are delaying transition because they do not feel they are currently equipped to meet the target. Some 78 per cent (59 per cent globally) said they need extensive organisational change before tackling net zero. A lack of finance isn’t the only hurdle companies in Africa face on the road to 2050.
“Seventy-two per cent (63 per cent globally) believe a lack of consensus on net zero definitions and targets is hampering progress, while the same percentage (60 per cent globally) say a lack of support for net zero transition from their organisation’s investors is a significant barrier to net zero,” the research added.
The research showed that COVID-19 is forcing many businesses in the region to focus on immediate survival.
Total of 80 per cent (85 per cent globally) of African senior executives indicated that the pandemic had delayed their company’s net-zero transition.
About 90 percent ( 77 per cent globally) of the business leaders believe that effective global carbon tax, based on a carbon price that reflects the true cost of climate change, would help to speed up transition as 90 per cent believe
The research also pointed out that 88 per cent (81 per cent globally) said cost savings from sustainable practices could help the world hit net zero by 2050. The same percentage (81 per cent globally) however believe standardised net-zero measurement frameworks would help with transition, underlining the fact that what we have currently, a matrix of different definitions, measurement and reporting requirements is a major challenge for senior executives.
Giving his remark about the findings of the research, Mr. Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered disclosed that the survey shows that most companies intend to transition to net-zero by 2050, but remained undecided on the action plan required to get there.
He said, “A majority cite funding as an obstacle and carbon-intensive industries and emerging-market companies struggle the most. “A successful net-zero transition must be just, leaving no nation, region or community behind and, despite the hurdles, action needs to be swift. We must act now, and we must act together: companies, consumers, governments, regulators and the finance industry must collaborate to develop sustainable solutions, technologies and infrastructure,” he concluded.