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COP26: Time to update policy and practice

WorldCOP26: Time to update policy and practice

COP26 has an ambitious agenda, the UK is making a strong pitch to have domestic green hydrogen policies in place to incentivise investment in decarbonisation; the aim is a thriving hydrogen economy by 2030.

The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies, and people on the frontline of climate change to create action at COP26. The UN Climate Change Conference pre-sessional period begins on 25 October and the main event runs through 31 October–12 November in Glasgow, Scotland.
In 2015 The Paris Agreement was born, a commitment to reduce global warming was made with the aim of 1.5 degrees, to prevent further heatwaves, droughts, low crop yields, extreme rainstorms, ice melt, and higher sea levels. By 2030, global emissions must have halved to reach net zero by 2050.
Under the Paris Agreement countries agreed to bring forward national plans every five years, setting out how much they would reduce their emissions, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). As of September 2021, the EU27 and 86 countries have submitted their updated NDC’s. The Climate Action Tracker has an interesting overview and analysis of India’s coal and subsidy situation; they report India has not yet submitted updated NDC 2030 targets to the UNFCCC. Its current NDC target would be well overachieved with current policies.
In Glasgow technologies that reduce emissions, collaborations that strengthen adaptation to climate change impacts, and enhanced international cooperation toward energy transition and clean road transport will be sought, as well as developed countries mobilising at least $100 billion in climate finance a year.
As a physical event, the Conference is totally Covid-compliant everyone must be able to show evidence of pre-arrival COVID-19 negative test result and must participate in the COP26 daily test programme. Anyone who has been in a red-list country in the 10 days immediately before arrival in England or Scotland must undergo Managed Quarantine at the port of entry. The UK Government will fund the required Managed Quarantine stays for all Registered COP Attendees (party delegates, observers, and media) who would otherwise find it difficult to attend COP, including those from the Global South. Delegates that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must quarantine for 5 days. The UK and Scottish Governments will recognise all COVID-19 vaccinations, and declaration through the UNFCCC registration process as evidence. Unvaccinated delegates must quarantine for 10 days.
COP26 has an ambitious agenda, the UK are making a strong pitch to have domestic green hydrogen policies in place to incentivise investment in decarbonisation; the aim is a thriving hydrogen economy by 2030. Scotland, the Orkney Islands, Northern Ireland, and Wales have key roles to play in delivering net zero; the government will publish a Hydrogen Action Plan later this year, supported by a £100 million programme of investment from 2021 to 2026. The government estimate that creating a successful hydrogen sector could support 9,000 direct jobs across the UK by 2030, with up to 100,000 supported directly by 2050.
There is a lot of buzz around hydrogen, a lightweight molecule capable of carrying or storing energy, game-changing in reducing carbon emissions, but hydrogen itself doesn’t become clean energy until it is split. Grey Hydrogen is not the solution as it made using fossil fuels like coal gasification or steam methane reformation. Blue Hydrogen comes from the production of grey hydrogen, the CO2 emitted is sequestered by carbon capture and storage, this is an important step towards green hydrogen.
Most likely the UK National Grid will be powered by wind and solar renewables, but intense levels of heat needed by industrial processes, such as steel, that electricity cannot provide will come from green hydrogen instead of coal. Green hydrogen is made through an electrolyser powered by renewable energy, this splits the molecule into H2 and O2, the Oxygen is emitted into the atmosphere. This is the only version of hydrogen fuel free from CO2 at production and point of use, and that can be stored for future use.
The UK are even considering the technical and cost-effectiveness of blending up to 20 per cent hydrogen (by volume) into the existing natural gas network.
Seb Beloe, Head of Research at Wheb Asset Management, expects COP26 to deliver some important milestones including higher levels of ambition from key countries and progress on financing the transition to a zero-carbon economy. The industry will also use the platform to announce more commitments and Seb expects this to include ambition for the role that green hydrogen can play.
A company in the good books of the ‘CleanTech Top50 To Watch’ is PowerRoll based in Sunderland, in the north-east of England. PowerRoll have pioneered an affordable, lightweight, sustainable solar film based on microgrooves, that is capable of generating 500 watts per kilogram of solar film. Microgrooves are an innovative new architecture for photovoltaics, both electrodes are deposited in the microgrooves under the absorber layer.
This is the next generation of solar technology; the film is less than a millimetre thick, very flexible, and will adhere to any surface including surfaces that are unsuitable for traditional silicon panels, such as heavy goods vehicles and load-bearing rooftops. In the UK alone there are 1 billion meters of industrial roofspace, PowerRoll claim by covering 25% of that 37+ Gigawatts of power could be produced. This plastic solar film is recyclable and costs a fraction of other technologies, when production is scaled up and it becomes mainstream this will revolutionise how green energy is created.
India are interested in PwerRoll’s technology possibly to replace circa 30million water pumps currently powered by diesel, which would help both farmers and emissions. UK have already announced plans through the Environmental Land Management scheme that put farmers at the forefront of reversing environmental decline and tackling climate change, by paying farmers to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be expecting big commitments from COP26 world leaders around coal, cash, cars, trees, and gender equality across the board.

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