Learn more about COP26 and its importance for our future
This year, Halloween celebration on 31st of October was managed to be overshadowed by another big event - UN Climate Change Conference, or so-called COP26. So, what is COP26, why it is so important and could Direct Current (DC) grids somehow help to mitigate climate change?
What is COP26?
The word “COP” stands for the “Conference of the Parties”, whereas the “parties” are the governments which have signed the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC). This document was signed in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Later, it gave a birth to Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement.
The first climate conference was held in Berlin, in 1995, and this year is the 26th meeting, hence the name COP26. This event, which launched in Glasgow on 31st of October and will last until 12th of November, is going to gather more than 190 world leaders that are going to take actions to fight climate change.
· keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
· limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change
According to this agreement, 5 years later, by 2020, countries were required to submit their plans for climate action known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Those five years were up on 31 December 2020, but due to COVID-19 pandemic it was postponed for 2021.The world leaders have time until 12th of November to present their reports and create new strategies for climate change mitigation.
“Six years ago, there were more people on the we-have-what-we-need side than on the innovation side. This year, though, innovation was literally on center stage. One session of the World Leaders Summit, where I got to speak, was exclusively about developing and deploying clean technologies faster.”
What is the impact of 1,5 and 2°C temperature increase?
At first glance, to the general public it may seem that the impact of global average temperature rises by 2°C is nothing.
But this is wrong. According to NASA, climate change has many terrible consequences. Some of them are listed below:
At 2°C warming, about 37% of Earth’s population will be exposed to severe heatwaves at least once every five years
About 61 million more people in Earth’s urban areas would be exposed to severe drought in a 2°C warmer world than at 1.5°C warming
At 2°C warming, some places will see an increase in heavy rainfall events compared to at 1.5°C warming, especially in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes
Between 184 and 270 million fewer people are projected to be exposed to increases in water scarcity in 2050 at about 1.5°C warming than at 2°C warming.
At 1.5°C warming, 6% of the insects, 8% of the plants and 4% of the vertebrates will see their climatically determined geographic range reduced by more than half
If warming reaches 2°C, more than 70% of Earth’s coastlines will see sea-level rise greater than 0.2 meters, resulting in increased coastal flooding, beach erosion, salinization of water supplies and other impacts on humans and ecological systems.
What can we do?
One of the important topics discussed at COP26 is how rich countries could help to the developing countries to cope with climate change. There are many initiatives already created to address this topic, such as Net Zero World Initiative, Breakthrough Energy Catalyst program etc. We know, that in developing countries, the rural centers and villages may locate far from the central grid facing a severe problem of rural electrification. We dare to claim that DC microgrids could be considered as a great solution to provide everyone with the access to green and cost-effective sustainable electricity, and not only in developing countries but worldwide as we are living in a DC native world. As First Movers Coalition states, roughly 50% of the technologies we need for net-zero emissions by 2050 are still under development, in the prototype or demonstration phases, and not yet on the market. The same can be stated partially also for DC grid solutions and therefore it is extremely important to help to integrate and adopt these innovative and energy efficient solutions, make technology pilots and infrastructure demo projects.
In our previous post “5 reasons how DC power grids make full Energy Transition happen” we already mentioned that CO2 emissions caused by overproduction, lack of flexibility of conventional system and unpredictable RES require smarter and flexible energy system. Of course, it all starts from our consumption behaviors, but we have also one good and unused option still remained to solve aforementioned challenges - DC grids implementation.
Are you aware of the fact that buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption that results in 36% of CO2 emissions? DC grids would allow us to integrate renewables and storage in the most efficient way, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and subsequently avoiding global temperature rises. Imagine, if all the buildings with PV panels and storage could switch to the DC grids and make these more efficient – you could forget about lots of CO2 emissions. Isn’t it a goal that EC wants to achieve with Paris Agreement implementation?
Recently, the EC president Ursula von der Leyen said regarding climate change: “The longer we wait, the more expensive it will become. And therefore, it is about action now.” At UBIK we already have a solution and we intend to act today.