Decarbonising for Development: The Future of Global Economies
The world watched closely as delegates of participatory parties from around the world discussed and negotiated matters regarding the future of development during the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The discourse mainly revolved around one of humanity’s greatest challenges: climate change, and more importantly, how each party could contribute to limiting it through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These are pledges that each party commit to through developing and achieving targets that reduce its overall carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against climate change. These goals are associated with reducing the ‘carbon intensity’, or quantity of carbon released, a process that is generally known as “decarbonisation”. Not only does decarbonisation encompass efforts that reduce emissions, but it also entails the absorption of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in sinks where it no longer negatively influences climate change.
While decarbonisation predominantly refers to the reduction of fossil fuels burned during power generation, it can be applied to almost all sectors of the economy. In fact, to meet the necessary objectives to damper climate change impacts, there is no question of whether sectoral decarbonisation is a requirement, but rather how their emissions can be mitigated without affecting the sector’s productivity. This is due to the reality that although most emissions are released from energy requirements, with over 40% of total global emissions released from energy demands for industrial, commercial, and residential purposes, other sectors especially transport, agriculture, and land use are significant contributors to carbon emissions and must be addressed and decarbonised as well. Thus, both the public and private sectors, now guided by the NDCs, have invested in research, development, and technologies that would maximise their decarbonisation journeys without severely affecting operations. These practices were applied across the board in varied sectors, albeit some more urgently than others.