Over the last 30 years, diplomats worldwide have gathered 26 times to fight against climate change. While in the conference, most delegates usually focus on a grinding process of global diplomacy. There will be many endless processes to deal with forming a consensus across 197 nations. Governments will fight for compensation, disputing how much richer countries should pay the poorer ones. The unstoppable wrangling will eclipse the actual topic of controlling carbon emissions, and ignoring how to manage the impact of climate change. Indeed, a consensus is certainly essential and helpful to curtail emissions, but it does not mean that it must hinge on cross-national consensus. It can be divided into small pieces and start from a small part of cooperation to manage emissions.
Some activists and governments have begun to adopt a new way of collaboration on the climate impact sector by sector. This new approach pays attention to technologies, businesses, and policies to create a cleaner economy. The investors, industrial leaders, and governments aligned together for a transition away from coal emissions. The 2015 Paris climate agreement allowed different countries to pursue diverse approaches to cut emissions. Furthermore, The COP26 made an unprecedented engagement, backed by private-sector contributions and national policies. Most countries and investors have accelerated their investment in renewable power generation and shifted to electric vehicles to create a new, clean economy, sector by sector.
In addition, governments and firms should collaborate across borders to reduce the risk of testing new green technologies as well. Generally, new technologies are expensive to create, so governments should motivate inventors and firms to experiment, and diversify the risk for investors. For example, the US and the EU created partnerships to advance clean steel and other metals, promising that successful innovation will be rewarded in both markets. Along with the potential returns and direct support from governments, they lower the experimental risks to incentivize investors.
Following this path, eventually, mature innovation will encourage other countries to imitate the trajectory. After those technologies mature, governments will no longer be steeped in uncertainty and use novel technologies in different situations to help companies to scale. For example, in the solar power industry, the US and Japan poured money into diverse technologies, and soon, other countries, such as Germany started investing as well. After 2000, the best options for solar power technologies shifted to China.
Admittedly, even though dividing into small parts to seek cooperation is sound and efficient, the leadership of powerful countries cannot be absent. To confront climate change, the international community should rethink how diplomacy and institutions can foster collaboration.
To sum up, governments should provide the resources and incentives to motivate industries to develop green technologies, and each individual industries have something to contribute to decarbonization. This year, in Egypt, it is crucial to focus on newfound technologies and reshaping the planet, not demoralizing diplomatic fissures.
Written by Eddie C.
Edited by Ari B.