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Despite Worsening Climate Change, Clean Energy Technology is Emerging

Despite Worsening Climate Change, Clean Energy Technology is Emerging

The comprehensive discussion at the forthcoming Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November will probably focus on how the world has deviated from the track to fulfill the Paris Agreement’s goals of ending global warming at much below 2°C.

But according to an article from the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) and published in the Nature Energy journal, world diplomats will find encouraging signs in rising clean energy technology 'niches'—nations, corporations, or states—that are pioneering decarbonization.

“In certain areas, adoption rates for solar and wind turbines, as well as electric vehicles are very high and increasing every year,” wrote the authors of the opinion piece Ryan Hanna, an assistant research scientist from UC San Diego’s Center for Energy Research and David G. Victor, professor of industrial innovation from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

But the glimmer of hope for decarbonization will be crucial for diplomats at COP26, who may be prepared for disappointment as they initiate an official 'stocktaking' process of assessing previous emissions. In 2021, every nation will report on emissions accounting for the past five years and declare new, bolder pledges to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, global fossil fuel emissions had been increasing at around 1% per year over the last 10 years. During that same period, fossil fuel emissions in the U.S. dropped by around 1% per year; but that slight dip is nowhere close to the reduction mentioned in the U.S.’s actual pledge to the Paris Agreement.

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