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The Key to Global Climate Success

As policymakers prepare for the crucial COP26 climate summit in November, prospects for achieving a carbon-neutral world by 2050 are improving. But it is unrealistic to expect to keep global warming well below 2° Celsius if middle- and lower-middle-income countries do not participate fully in the green transformation.

WASHINGTON, DC – Recent advances in green technologies have made reaching net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 not only technically feasible but also economically worthwhile. Meeting this goal – which has started to anchor expectations now that an increasing number of countries have adopted it – is necessary to keep global warming well below 2° Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels. But countries must start rapidly reducing emissions now.

Climate change affects different parts of the world differently, and not all countries are equally responsible – both now and historically – for carbon dioxide emissions. These disparities have so far prevented the emergence of an international consensus on how to share mitigation costs fairly. But in the run-up to the United Nations climate-change summit (COP26) in Glasgow in November, recognition of the severity of the global warming threat, coupled with a dramatic reduction in the cost of renewables, is making rapid progress easier. In fact, the emphasis in the climate debate has shifted from the costs of mitigation to the opportunities provided by new technologies.

The race to realize a net-zero world by 2050 remains tight, with different groups of countries moving at varying speeds. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the performance of emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) other than China is likely to hold the key to success.

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