Editor's note

Issue 202 • September 2021

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On 1 November, world leaders will be descending on Glasgow for the COP26 climate change conference next month to accelerate the goals set out by the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The main goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, through reaching a global peak of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

The transport industry will undoubtedly come under scrutiny at the conference, with transportation accounting for a quarter of global direct CO2 emissions.

Total emissions from the sector in fact continued to rise in 2019 – driven predominantly by all modes of road transport. While EV uptake continues to grow, overall figures remain short of the mark, with the ongoing delays in the new car sector also likely to stunt the sector’s growth.

As noted by the International Energy Agency, various factors including these ones point to a ‘critical transition’ period for the industry – as the current measures and rate of EV uptake are simply not sufficient to meet climate goals.

Our three features this month follow the environmental question and the role finance may have in driving down the industry’s carbon emissions. In our Analysis section, we look at developments in the sustainable production of steel and ask the question: can global power grids survive the transition to electric vehicles?

In a recent speech addressing the UN general assembly in New York, Boris Johnson said that it’s time for humanity to “grow up and to listen to the warnings of the scientists”. It’s a statement the prime minister should direct at his own government, which is lagging behind its European counterparts in providing the necessary support to industries tasked with decarbonisation.

Chris Lemmon, editor