Innovative Technology Key to Climate Action

UN Climate Change News, 3 May 2021 – Fostering the use of innovative climate technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change was the focus of a recent meeting of a key body of UN Climate Change, the Technology Executive Committee (TEC).

Experts examined how innovative climate technology can help implement countries’ national climate action plans – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – under the Paris Agreement. The current level of ambition set out in these plans is, in aggregate, still far too low for the international community to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, and technology is key to raising climate ambition.

The meeting saw the launch of a significant new publication on research, development and demonstration (RD&D) initiatives on climate technology. The compilation analyses on-going initiatives in different regions to promote and support RD&D of various climate technologies in sectors such as energy supply, agriculture and water management.

RD&D compilation launch

The RD&D compilation of best practices focuses on bilateral and multilateral projects and programmes in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and North America.

When identifying case studies, the authors looked at whether the initiative would be replicable in other countries or regions and could be scaled up; whether the results would be sustainable in the longer term; and whether private sector involvement or private sector funding is involved.

One example is the project: “Improved Drought Early Warning and Forecasting to strengthen preparedness and adaptation to droughts in Africa” which is funded by the European Union to develop a framework to help institutions in African countries reduce vulnerability and strengthen preparedness to drought. The compilation also includes Mission Innovation’s Innovation Challenges to encourage increased engagement from the global research community and investment in RD&D by the private sector.

Technology as a crucial element of NDCs

The final day of the meeting was a joint session of the TEC and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). During this session, representatives from countries which have submitted their updated NDCs shared their experiences on the role of technology in their implementation.

Addressing the meeting, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa underlined the crucial role of technology in tackling the climate crisis: “Innovative climate technologies are critical for our response to the climate crisis and climate technology needs to be an integral part of national climate plans.”

The panelists from Chile, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, the European Commission, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and NDC partnership shared their experiences and lessons learned with regard to the achievement of climate technology priorities set out in the NDCs. Ambrosio Yobánolo Del Real informed about Chile’s long-term “Climate Change Technology Transfer and Development Strategy” to encourage and strengthen technology development and transfer to achieve sustainable, resilient and carbon neutral development by 2050.

“The revised NDC of Eswatini is going to be more ambitious and will include one more sector than the previous NDC. Technologies will be an important part of the implementation process,” said Deepa Pullanikkatil, NDC Coordinator, Eswatini.

Kavita Sinha from the GCF said: “Climate funds must channel their finance towards incentivizing countries to make ambitious green reforms and to mainstream NDCs in economic stimulus packages”.

The newly elected Chair of the TEC, Stephen Minas,concluded:

“The TEC continues to make progress in the virtual format that the pandemic situation requires. With the active participation of both members and observers, the TEC advanced its work in each thematic area of its workplan. The TEC also deepened its collaboration with the CTCN and furthered the important process of integrating gender responsiveness in all aspects of its work.”

The TEC will prepare a report for COP26 highlighting strategies that will encourage the uptake of technology solutions to help nations implement their NDCs.

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