By focusing on 5 economic sectors, we can tackle nearly 90% of emissions
We know that industry, electricity, agriculture, transport and buildings are the main sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Cutting their GHG emissions is key to sustainable and healthy lives and livelihoods.
We already have many of the solutions we need to start transitioning our economies today, by using the right policy levers. These include green investment, regulation, taxes and targeted subsidies, leading by example, and education. Much of this work happens at the sub-national level and within cities.
There is a lot more governments can do to reduce emissions and address climate change.
For example, we can end inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and put a price on carbon, we can invest in innovation and new technology, in better management of overall energy systems, or in building sustainable and resilient food systems. Many will contain trade-offs for policymakers to consider carefully and address, but solutions are multiple.
Across these 5 policy levers and 5 sectors...
Governments can fund research and development in innovation to boost greener technology and infrastructure.
Governments can regulate to control emissions and ban polluting activities and chemicals that are toxic for people and the environment.
TAX & SUBSIDISE
Governments can tax and subsidise in a way that drives decarbonisation, for instance by applying carbon taxes and cutting support for fossil fuels.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Governments can lead the way with greener subcontracting and rules of conduct nationally and locally.
INFORM & EDUCATE
Governments can step up educational programmes and campaigns to raise awareness, and inspire businesses and consumers to act.
Emissions from heavy industries that produce primary materials like steel, chemicals, cement, glass and paper, are energy intensive. Research and innovation, re-use and recycling, and improvement in manufacturing efficiency, will need to be scaled up.
Strategies must emphasise decarbonising the electricity sector while providing affordable and reliable supply of electricity for all. Renewable technologies are already cost-competitive in an increasing number of countries.
Focusing on agriculture and related land-use change will be critical to reduce emissions, and can help replenish our forests and reverse biodiversity loss. There is also potential to use agricultural soils to capture more carbon.
Decarbonising transport relies on innovative technologies and a shift towards cleaner alternatives. Integrated land-use, and transport planning that reduces distances and encourages public transport, cycling and walking, are crucial to this process.
Policies can improve building quality. Technologies and methods are much more climate friendly than before, and often cheaper than conventional construction. Existing buildings can also become more energy efficient, through renovation and retrofitting.
... we can deliver concrete and ambitious policy solutions