From today until the 12th of November 2021, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP26, will take place in Glasgow. More than 190 world leaders are expected to attend, joined by thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens. Italy, which co-chairs COP26 with the United Kingdom, plays and has played a key role in recent months, having also hosted pre-COP26.
This conference is of historical relevance, a fundamental moment to chart the course of the next decades and leave a healthy and safe planet for future generations to enjoy.
The conference dates back to the 2015 Paris Agreement, where countries agreed to work together to limit the rise of global temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. A goal that, if achieved, can save our forests, our oceans and our wildlife. During COP26 each country will present its emissions reduction targets by 2030, alongside its plans for reaching a net zero emissions system by 2050. For this reason, in July, the European Commission presented the package of legislative proposals, “Fit for 55”, to reduce net GHGs by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, with an energy neutral goal by 2050.
Europe, considered one of the great world powers, is amongst those driving the green process. In fact, in the EU, but not only, many countries still make extensive use of fossil fuels and in particular coal to produce energy. In many cases, decarbonisation risks putting entire productive sectors out of the market and “burning” jobs, thus the Commission financed the Just Transition Fund from the multiannual budget.
The road chosen, for a cleaner and safer planet, is the right one, but it still requires two important conditions to be fulfilled: large investment in innovative projects and new technologies, and close collaboration between governments, society and businesses, which must move in harmony to speed up the ecological transition process.
In the Old Continent this presupposes a strong supranational coordination and the capitalization of the massive funding available. But public policies are not enough and only put in place a third of what is necessary, the rest must come from private individuals, who must be convinced of the absolute need to invest in this transition.
To reach the zero emissions target by 2050, European companies must double the rate of emission reduction in this decade (by 2030). To achieve this, it is necessary to invest in innovative projects and technologies, with different solutions and opportunities based on domains and sectors. Investment in novel innovations, is the way forward, alongside investment to quicken the development and deployment existing and also research into new ideas.
Of course, the use of new technologies is central to optimizing many production processes, including: big data, virtual reality, the Internet of things and Artificial Intelligence. Not surprisingly, at the centre of the debate in our next TSD 2021, from 24th to the 26th of November. Digitization can favour the introduction of new business models, increase efficiency and competitiveness and with innovation completely transform the ways in which to generate value, employment and well-being for society.
Focus on innovation, it is necessary to make progress on investments and everyone – Governments, Research Centres, Universities, Investors and companies – must work in harmony, to find resources and put technology at the centre, as they fly towards new solutions, to mitigate the effects of climate change.