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Blog Post 18 October 2021

Countdown to COP26: ambition needed to meet pace and scale of net zero transition

By Mike Thornton, chief executive

In less than two weeks, the UK will host COP26, bringing together almost every country in the world to address issues related to climate change. The event is shaping up to be the most significant environmental meeting since 2015, when 196 nations agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2°C – and ideally to 1.5°C – under the Paris Agreement.

We urge the UK and the rest of the world to act now to decisively change the trajectory of global carbon emissions to keep temperature rises within the Paris Agreement target. While progress has been made in key areas of homes, travel, energy access and finance, more can and must be done. At Energy Saving Trust, we support the UK Government’s ambitions in these areas now and beyond COP26.

Reducing emissions from the UK’s 30 million homes, which account for around 22% of the country’s total carbon emissions, is a key area of focus for Energy Saving Trust. Decarbonising domestic heating and improving the energy efficiency of homes is a major part of reaching net zero. We hope that the UK Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, due this Autumn, will be ambitious enough to meet the pace and scale of the transition ahead.

In transport, reducing emissions in line with net zero targets will need a wholesale switch to electric vehicles and active travel options, as well as continued innovation and investment in public transport. We continue to support the UK Government’s ambition in its Ten Point Plan to invest more in zero emissions public transport, cycling and walking as viable travel alternatives. The transition to low carbon transport must be fair, allowing everyone to enjoy the benefits of travelling sustainably.

COP26 is a global event, with ramifications beyond the UK. At Energy Saving Trust, we will continue to work with international partners to reduce emissions globally and provide access to low carbon energy and high-performing appliances in the global south, through our efforts as part of the Efficiency for Access coalition.

The transition to net zero can be accelerated through collaboration, both domestically and internationally. COP26 offers an important opportunity for the UK and the rest of the world to decisively move national and global economies onto a pathway to net zero carbon emissions. We look forward to seeing you there.

Last updated: 18 October 2021