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Why COP26 is an important platform

The world’s leaders have come together for two weeks in November at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, COP26. Among the thousands of delegates are four representatives of the Volvo Group.
Why COP26 is an important platform
Niklas Gustafsson, Vice President Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Volvo Group.

Expectations are high for COP26, which is being held in the city of Glasgow in Scotland this year. Policymakers from across the world have gathered to discuss climate change and the ways in which countries can meet the targets set at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. There, the majority of the world’s countries signed a new climate agreement which stated that the global temperature increase must not increase by more than two degrees and that every effort would be made to keep the increase to less than 1.5 degrees.

The UN Climate Change Conferences are not a new phenomenon. They have been held for the last three decades, but the increasing changes in the climate have transformed them from a meetings affecting just a few countries into a summit dealing with matters of global concern.

What can the Volvo Group contribute? 

According to Niklas Gustafsson, Vice President Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Volvo Group, the group will mainly contribute knowledge about what is needed to ensure that the energy transition works.

“We will be sharing our experience of the transport sector, and of developing innovative technologies. For example, if we are going to offer vehicles powered by electricity or hydrogen, the necessary infrastructure will also have to be developed on a large scale. This requires cooperation between the public sector and politicians. We will also be highlighting the importance of different types of control measures for managing carbon dioxide emissions,” says Niklas Gustafsson.

One example of these control measures is the pricing of carbon dioxide. As things currently stand, only a small part of global emissions is covered by the existing emissions trading system. This applies primarily to large energy installations and, according to Niklas Gustafsson, the system needs to be reprioritized.

“At present, the system does not include the transport sector at all. We need a long-term climate policy where the price of carbon dioxide makes alternative climate-neutral transport solutions competitive with fossil fuels in terms of price. This will create better conditions for investing in, and developing, new and improved technologies,” he explains.

An important forum for the Volvo Group 

Alongside Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt, the other representatives from the group taking part in the meeting in Glasgow are Lars Stenqvist, CTO of the Volvo Group, Joachim Rosenberg , President of Volvo Energy, and Niklas Gustafsson .

“Of course, as well as contributing our knowledge, we also want to showcase what we are doing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Among other things, we will be providing information about our pioneering development of electric vehicles and our commitment as part of the Science Based Targets initiative. Our targets are the most ambitious in the industry, which gives us credibility and shows that we are taking the issue seriously,” explains Niklas Gustafsson.

Joint roadmaps 

One of the major challenges facing COP26 is to encourage all the countries in the world to make the transition. To make the transition more accessible, the European Commission has produced a package of legislative proposals for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by 55 percent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030. This package is known as Fit for 55.

“These are ambitious plans, but it’s not enough for only European countries to commit to them. The whole world needs to move forwards at the same pace, meet the targets in the agreement and put joint roadmaps in place if this is to succeed,” says Niklas Gustafsson.

FACTS

During the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, COP15, the countries of the world committed to a new climate agreement which stated that the global temperature increase must not exceed two degrees and that every effort would be made to keep it to 1.5 degrees.

Conference of the Parties. The 26th UN Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow in Scotland from November 1-12, 2021.

Helps countries to set climate targets that are consistent with the aims of the Paris Agreement. The Volvo Group’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2040 at the latest is the most ambitious in the industry.

The European Commission’s package of legislation for achieving the targets of the Paris Agreement. The package includes a series of legislative proposals for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in the EU by 55 percent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030.