Climate Change Solutions Require Science and Innovation

On Science and Innovation Day at COP26, new projects backed by worldwide coalitions of states, businesses, and scientists will be announced. These will aid in the implementation of the goals set forth at the World Leaders Summit, as well as additional country pledges made during the conference’s first week. 

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, will stress the importance of science and innovation in enabling every country to gain access to the tools it needs to reduce emissions immediately in line with Paris temperature targets and adapt to the effects of climate change that are already being felt. 

Mission Innovation, a group of 23 governments responsible for 95% of global public investment in clean technology research and development, will announce four new “innovation missions” in which countries will collaborate to develop clean technologies for cities, industry, carbon dioxide removal, and the production of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials. Mission Innovation’s ‘innovation missions’ currently include industries that account for more than half of all global emissions. 

Today marks the official launch of the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA), a global first. Governments, research institutions, and communities will collaborate to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities on the frontlines of climate change through this network of over 90 organizations from 30 countries. 

The Climate Adaptation and Resilience Research Programme (CLARE), co-funded by the UK and Canada, is a new landmark program that puts the ARA’s work into effect. Today, the UK announced a further £48 million for CLARE, bringing the total UK assistance funding to £100 million, as well as a $10 million contribution from Canada, to support the development of concrete solutions in communities most susceptible to climate change and extreme weather events. The UK’s contribution will be centered on Africa at £40 million, and the program is expected to assist at least 5 million people worldwide. 

A new ‘Global Checkpoint Process’ will strive to sustain and improve international cooperation in each of the emitting sectors in order to promote the realization of the Breakthrough Agenda declared by World Leaders on November 2nd. An annual report will be produced by independent experts led by the International Energy Agency (IEA), in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the UN High-Level Climate Action Champions, to track progress and provide recommendations for action. Countries will debate how they may work together to make faster progress based on this guidance. 

A new committee will be made by a group of prominent international scientific organizations to enhance the way we assess and communicate climate risk so that world leaders can make better decisions. The partnership, which includes the World Meteorological Organisation and the World Climate Research Programme, will seek to ensure that research and reports for policymakers properly layout the entire scope of the threats we will face if global warming does not stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

The UK, India, Germany, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates will collaborate to develop new markets for low-carbon steel and concrete as part of the Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative (IDDI). The IDDI launched a campaign today in which member governments, including the United Kingdom, pledged to disclose the embodied carbon of major public construction by 2025, to achieve net zero in major public construction steel and concrete by 2050, and to work toward an emission reduction for 2030 that will be announced next year. 

Building on the success of the Futures “We Want collaboration”, the UK COP26 Presidency is forming a new global partnership with Italy to harness the power of science and innovation to remove critical barriers to a climate-resilient, net-zero future. By launching a series of region-led projects to address specific net-zero concerns, this new alliance will bring countries from all across the world together to combine scientific expertise and explore innovative ways to engage public voices in policymaking. 

47 countries (including Malawi, Spain, Morocco, and the United States) have committed to developing low-carbon, sustainable health systems that can survive the effects of climate change. 42 countries have committed to developing a sustainable, low-carbon health system, accounting for more than a third of global health care emissions. Twelve of the 42 countries have established a target date of 2050 or sooner for reaching Net Zero in their health systems.