The Capitas Green Briefing: trending news as the countdown to COP26 begins


The United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference is now just weeks away. With a string of stories highlighting how much climate action still needs to be taken, it is easy to understand why this pivotal event needs to be more than a talking shop.

At COP 21 in 2015, the landmark Paris Agreement was reached with the goal to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels. Already, temperatures have risen at least 1.1 degrees, with COP26 President-designate Alok Sharma now calling on world leaders to come together and put the world on track to deliver on climate. Most recently he commented: “Responsibility rests with each and every country. And we must all play our part. Because on climate, the world will succeed, or fail as one.”

Record highs

The critical conference comes at a time when the UN’S synthesis of climate action plans

as communicated through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) show global greenhouse gas emissions on course to increase by 16% 2030, when compared to 2010 levels. It highlights the level of work required to bring about change.

The latest World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency backs up this thinking. It states that clean energy progress is still far too slow to put global emissions into sustained decline towards net zero, and based on current climate pledges, we can only achieve a 40% carbon reduction by 2050. Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director, commented on the lack of progress: “Today’s climate pledges would result in only 20% of the emissions reductions by 2030 that are necessary to put the world on a path towards net zero by 2050. Reaching that path requires investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure to more than triple over the next decade.”

Whilst there is overwhelming support for strong climate action, with the WWF produced Climate Conesus highlighting that the most popular climate policies among the public

would go even further than the UK’s 2030 emissions targets, in order for this to happen there needs to be clear action plans.

Setting targets

Businesses have a key role to play in delivering change, yet some still appear to be dragging their heels when it comes making the low carbon transition. Indeed, COP26 engagement lead Nick Baker has called for businesses to “turbocharge collaboration” to help keep a 1.5C future within reach.

According to research from Generation Investment Management, listed companies are accountable for 40% of global carbon emissions. And whilst UK-listed firms are the most likely to have set climate target compared to their European counterparts, it has also emerged that only a fifth of FTSE 100 entities have voluntarily published net zero targets and plans to date.

With new measures coming into force that will require all businesses bidding for major government contracts to commit to achieving net zero emissions there has never been a better time for organisations to invest in being more carbon conscious.

Inward investment

Investment in net zero projects has taken a step forward with the latest data from the Department for International Trade (DIT) showing £2.6bn of funding has been delivered since the start of the year to help the UK reach its climate goals. But it is just the beginning of what is needed.

The final word

Darren Riva, Capitas Finance’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We’re entering a very important timeframe for sustainable change. COP26 is an important milestone on the global journey to net zero. But by no means is it the end of the road. It is clear that reducing carbon emissions is within reach, but collectively we still need to take action to achieve it.

“With a growing number of organisations making net-zero pledges we must do everything we can to help energy saving projects happen. Highlighting access to finance and showing them how they can take advantage if it will be vital if more progress is to be made in the coming months.”

Capitas Finance specialises in financing energy solutions for carbon-conscious businesses and public sector organisations. Our products and services are designed to help you implement sustainable, low carbon technologies and strategies that save energy and reduce carbon emissions and align with the Government’s commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050. To find out how Capitas can work with you, drop us a line here