Report: Leadership drives real-world climate action

A new report reveals the role of leadership in driving real-world action to address climate change.

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By George Smeeton

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A new report reveals the role of leadership in driving real-world action to address climate change.

The study, Reasons to be cheerful, by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) [1], highlights how leadership, whether at national policy level, or to drive investment by private business, or support people and communities, can play a key role in climate action.

The report covers examples including key legislative actions, such as the UK Climate Change Act; support for clean technology development, such as with the domestic heat pump market in Finland or electric vehicles in China; the role of nature-based solutions, in countries including Costa Rica, Chile and Suriname; and other areas including shifting away from fossil fuels, building resilience and cleaning up industrial processes.

Commenting, Gareth Redmond-King, ECIU COP26 Lead said: “As the world works hard in Glasgow to try and close the gaps to keep the Paris Agreement goals within reach, it can be too easy to feel that all the hard work is ahead.

“But the momentum and the distance we’ve come since the Paris Agreement is remarkable. And it’s happened because of leaders at all levels, in all sectors, all over the world who have innovated and driven change. We know the solutions to the climate crisis, and we have most of them available.”

The report notes that leadership can serve as a model that can help drive real-world climate action and spur others to do more, as well as building new industries, creating clean jobs and delivering co-benefits such as cleaner air or a healthier environment.

Prof Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero said: “Climate ambition must be translated into real-world action with transformational change across every sector of the economy. We have started to see that happening this COP with sector deals.

“The twin track approach of real economy action alongside UN climate process can be very effective, with one supporting the other. Responding with the scale and urgency required demands leadership on all fronts.”

The report is published as the negotiations enter week two at COP26, and assessments are expected as to how effective the combination of country pledges under the UN climate process, combined with sector deals, will be in reducing projected temperature rises if they are delivered.

The report summary is available here, and the full report is here.