We at Uplight believe that climate change can have irreversible and catastrophic effects, but there still remains an opportunity for countries to take action through climate policy and increase their original Paris Agreement commitments.
We also believe in business as a force for good, centering our business on mitigating climate change and enabling energy providers and their customers to take on this challenge. We cannot delay action on this any longer; we are already experiencing more extreme weather events caused by climate change – from Hurricane Ida in New York, wildfires across the Western US, and this past summer’s heat domes around the country. From this vantage, we see as critical the opportunity for countries to take action through broader climate policies.
The Role of the Customer and Demand-Side Strategies in Carbon Reduction
Many utilities are already taking the lead. According to SEPA, 79% of electric customer accounts in the US are served by a utility or a utility owned by a parent company with a carbon reduction target. Customers will play an important role in meeting these targets alongside demand-side strategies that engage them.
While renewables will play a key role in decarbonizing the electricity sector, demand side reductions and involving the customer are actually cheaper than renewables and are critical to achieving carbon reduction goals while keeping costs in check. That’s why we are working on the Reduction Tax Credit at the federal level which is like the Production Tax Credit for wind but for carbon reductions resulting from demand side measures. Actions like this that drive outcomes, not just dollar investment, are critical for G20 and all countries to include in their plans to stay within 1.5°C.
The Role of G20 Countries in Climate Change
Making up 90% of the global GDP and nearly 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the G20 countries are positioned to demonstrate global leadership and limit warming to 1.5℃ by setting new science based targets.
That is why Uplight has signed on to We Mean Business Coalition’s support letter to G20 leaders calling on them to go all in to keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal within reach ahead of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy and the COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference 2021) conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
The letter specifically calls on leaders to:
- Strengthen nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in line with at least halving global emissions by 2030, and committing to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
- Commit to ending new coal power development and financing immediately, and developing plans to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030 for advanced economies, and 2040 for other countries, while promoting electrification of transport and uptake of renewable energy across sectors.
- Align public finance, COVID-19 recovery spending and fiscal policies with a 1.5°C trajectory, while ensuring adequate support for adaptation and resilience measures.
The COP26 and updated NDCs by the G20 are looked at as pivotal in achieving the goals in the Paris Agreement which was born at the COP21 in 2015 to limit warming to 1.5°C. Over 600 businesses have signed on to this letter. Some of those related to the energy industry include Schneider Electric, PSEG, Iberdrola, SUEZ, National Grid Plc, EDF, and Enel in addition to notable consumer brands such as Lyft, Danone, Nestlé, and Volvo.
We’re watching what happens at the G20 Leaders Summit on October 30th and 31st and the COP26 that takes place October 31st through November 12th. Read the full letter and see everyone who signed on here.