A Glasgow Agreement on NetZero 2050

The Scotia Group has developed a proposal to achieve a Glasgow Agreement containing core commitments for States on climate action to reach NetZero 2050.

A Glasgow Agreement on NetZero 2050


The Scotia Group represents a high-level international expert community composed of senior diplomats, scientists, legal experts, and business representatives. Under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, the Group was founded to support international efforts to address climate change, in particular through the upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow and beyond.

Over the past year, the Group has engaged in an intensive process of consultation with other experts, with politicians in key states, North and South, with the global expert community, with representatives from international organizations, and especially with the youth of the world.

Through this process, conducted at some of the world’s leading universities, the Scotia Group issued an urgent call for immediate, emergency action at the diplomatic level. That call, issued on 16 September of 2021, was addressed to the UN Secretary-General.

The Group then presented a memorandum with urgent considerations and recommendations. This Climate20+ Policy was submitted for consideration at the G20 meeting in Rome.

To bring about these changes, the Scotia Group now offers nine Core Commitments that governments should adopt when meeting at COP26 in Glasgow, or that they might work towards subsequently. International institutions, mechanisms, funds, and programmes could also take account of these commitments in their campaigns and activities.

In formulating these Core Commitments, the Group considered the need for:

  • Innovative ideas that bring radical change, as demanded by the climate emergency, but that are nevertheless realistic and do not threaten consensus where we have it;

  • Ideas that can feed into the inter-governmental COP process and that will open up this process, creating broader legitimacy and access by diverse stakeholders;

  • Acknowledgment of the need for climate justice: All states must be able to participate in, and benefit from, the economic and social advantages of the transition process;

  • The extension of existing commitments, with greater elements of accountability and support for implementation, nationally and through international processes;

  • A stronger institutional architecture, with meaningful involvement of citizens, groups, cities and regions, industry and business, science and agriculture and more consistency of action across international institutions, agencies, funds, and programmes;

  • Support for climate change mitigation where and to whom it is most urgently needed, while addressing past injustices that cause environmental degradation and harm.

1. COP26 Participants acknowledge the presence of a climate emergency.

  • The global climate emergency is real, and its consequences can already be felt. This has been dramatically reinforced by the recent phenomena of more and more freak weather events, expanding deserts, forest and bushfires, massive rainfall and flooding, highly destructive landslides, etc.

  • Scientists confirm that we are on a firm trajectory towards far more drastic changes. It is universally agreed that this is the final moment where effective action can be taken to arrest, if not reverse, climate change. Moreover, as the present disruptions to supply chains in some states demonstrate, even within developed economies, transitions are involving processes that carry with them their own challenges and risks. They need to be conducted and sustained with planning and care, according to a stable and long-term strategy. Risks must be calculated and managed and it must be assured that no one is exposed to disproportionate or unmanageable impacts in consequence of the necessary transition of our economies and ways of life. This applies even more strongly to members of vulnerable groups.

  • The time to act decisively is now. We must do so in our interest, in the interest of future generations, and in the interest of the vulnerable who are the first to suffer the consequences of climate change—be it within our own societies, or in societies even less able to cope with the consequences of climate change.

2. COP26 Participants commit to the formation of Global Alliances for Change.

  • To effect change, we need a new mindset and attitude. The old divisions between industry and environmental campaigners, between citizens and government, between governments of the East and West, or North and South, are over. The global climate emergency requires common action and common approaches by all.

  • The diplomatic process on climate change must reflect this new consensus and need for joint action. It should be increasingly open, participatory, and transparent. It should be linked to citizens, citizens groups and NGOs, labour organizations, businesses, and science, and offer enhanced parliamentary involvement and participation, including a larger role for international coordination and collaboration through the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

  • We encourage action at all levels. Alliances of cities and regional governments around the world, common action of parliamentarians from across the globe, and coalitions of industry, workers, and farmers, can help us sustain the push for the major economic and societal transformation that lies ahead. We welcome and encourage the process of moving positive experiences pioneered at the local, city or regional level, and through coalitions of actors, to the national or even international sphere. Private businesses, too, can set ambitious targets on emissions and energy savings and contribute towards building momentum for change.

3. COP26 Participants will continue to focus on CO2 targets.

  • As the impact of climate change continues to manifest itself, broad agreement among governments on meaningful targets for CO2 emissions must now be adopted. The emerging universal commitment to 45 per cent reductions in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, 75 per cent by 2040 and net zero by 2050, should be formalized.

  • Some states may be hesitant to commit to these targets, given their state of economic development. This reluctance is understandable, and all have a role to play in overcoming the concerns that give rise to it. A developing state committing to the universal targets will be entitled to draw on the economic and institutional support outlined below—no state or society will be left behind in the struggle to adjust our economies and ways of life to the new realities.

  • Beyond these targets, some states may be able to progress more rapidly. There should be a race to the top, rather than a race to the bottom, at the level of national commitments. Building on the practice generated under the Paris agreements, governments should be challenged to articulate their own national plans aiming to exceed the universal targets wherever possible.


4. COP26 Participants agree to clear, transparent pathways to meeting targets.

  • In conceiving strategies for meeting targets for the energy transition, we are aware that it is necessary to extend our efforts across a range of issues, including (i) steps to reduce energy consumption and to enhance energy efficiency; (ii) changing societal expectations relating to sustainable conduct (e.g. transport and personal mobility); (iii) transition to clean sources of energy production, particularly renewables (iv) greener methods of production in industry (e.g. steel and cement); and (v) innovation in decarbonization and reduced environmental impact in agriculture, farming and food production.

  • There must be a moratorium on new facilities to burn coal, and subsequently all fossil fuels (coal and gas) for large-scale production of energy. Such a moratorium may need gradual phasing in, starting with those economies that can best sustain the necessary transition. At the same time, the system for carbon trading, including introduction of a carbon price floor, should be enhanced, with an average price of USD 75 per ton of CO2 by 2030, or in any event a price per ton that is not lower than the technology cost to absorb or capture it. Funds raised in this way need to flow into mitigation, adaptation and compensation for damage and loss in consequence of climate change in particularly effected states. Moreover, less developed states and vulnerable communities must be shielded from additional and, for them, unsustainable costs in consequence of these measures.

  • Fuel subsidies should be replaced with publicly funded incentives to invest in and use non-carbon-based energy, and the development of transformative technology.

5. COP26 Participants acknowledge the need for Climate Justice.

  • Climate Justice means that we need to support all societies in the necessary transformation towards carbon neutrality, in order to attain intra-generational climate equity. Developing states, in particular, are entitled to support, which should include: (i) Debt relief committing to, and implementing, the process of climate change transformation; (ii) fulfilment of the present pledge of USD 100 billion in support of energy transformation world-wide, and rapid increase of that level of funding to several hundred billion dollars per year, or more; (iii) launch of a global technology development fund, encouraging cooperation in research and innovation among universities and other institutions, North and South, East and West; (iv) acceptance that past failings are now causing disproportionate harm to some, and decisive action to help mitigate further damage in states suffering disproportionately from effects of global warming, changes in weather patterns and sea-level rise; and (v) an agreed regime for the transfer of knowledge, technology, and hardware for carbon capture, for carbon reduction in industrial and other processes, and for other aspects of the energy transition.

  • Climate justice can only be achieved through action taken more broadly. To achieve climate justice and make it meaningful for the present and the future, it is necessary to persist in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, we will need to address: (i) The approach of the WTO and related institutions to trade, including the need to support the energy transformation; (ii) the attitude and approach of global and regional financial institutions when formulating priorities and strategies in view of the need to support the energy transition; and (iii) consistent strategies across multilateral agencies to encourage transformative action, including on pro-active investment and International Transferred Mitigation Outcomes, and (v) tracking these decisions through into consistent programming by multilateral agencies, programmes and funds in an integrated and mutually reenforcing way. The implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goals is pivoting to support intra and inter-generational climate equity and justice.

  • Even mid-level income countries will struggle with some of the demands of the upcoming transition. The World Bank’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative should be expanded to cover mid-level income countries that commit to and implement the agreed targets.

  • Moreover, the external debt problems of low and even middle-income countries – exacerbated by the devastating economic effects of the pandemic – require a new Highly Indebted Country initiative (HIC) as part of financing the transition to net zero. This new HIC initiative should have a green and blue mandate (explicitly linking debt relief to decarbonisation) and should be a joint plan of the UN, IMF, and World Bank. Furthermore, the DSAs (debt sustainability analysis) should include an explicit climate change/net-zero cost assessment.

6.  COP26 Participants commit to prioritizing National Steps on Climate Action.

  • At the national level, we commit to increased funding for research and development of new technology in support of the energy transition.

  • At the national level, we should adapt the system of taxes and financial incentives, including credit arrangements, to encourage industry, business, agriculture, and citizens to take action to bring about decarbonization and a sustainable transition.

  • At the national level, we should strengthen the role of parliaments and of the legislative environment to permit enforcement of climate and environmental action through courts and other effective means.

7. COP26 Participants commit to strengthening the International Diplomatic Process.

  • International diplomacy on climate change needs to be accelerated and strengthened. A new atmosphere of cooperation must take root in diplomacy on the global energy transition, given that climate change affects us all and affects those countries least able to cope with its consequences the most.

  • Traditional diplomatic negotiations impel states to give the least in order to gain the most. We must move away from a competitive, positional attitude that pits groups of countries against one another and that leads to a race to the bottom on commitments. COP26 needs to turn the diplomatic process into a genuinely common project for us all, to combine our respective strength, ingenuity and capacities, towards a common goal.

  • Past negotiations were marked by starts and stops and highly technical discussions that only yielded partial successes. The broader public has lost faith in the international diplomatic process. To overcome that scepticism and motivate all to work together, we should open up the COP process and similar negotiations to broader stakeholder involvement. We must avoid the sense of back-room diplomacy that has characterized past conferences. This could include tri-partite representation in national delegations, including (a) governments, (b) citizens initiatives, universities, and the scientific community and (c) labour, industry, business and agriculture. Representation in all relevant bodies and negotiations should be balanced according to gender and include representation of the youth of the world.

8. COP26 Participants commit to focus on implementation at the international level.

  • We need to increase accountability for performance in terms of the goals set and commitments given. This should start with a transparent system to ensure that the commitments to grant financial support to developing states are being met.

  • There should be a mechanism to review action plans for combatting climate change and completing the energy transition put forward by governments. This mechanism would review the national plans on climate action, provide suggestions on improving them and conduct an inter-active dialogue with governments on any challenges they may face in implementing their plans. If requested, it could assist in developing ways to overcome such challenges.

  • This mechanism should also issue a regular report on the global effort to reach the agreed targets and on the trends that may support or threaten that effort.

9. COP26 Participants pledge to develop stronger institutional support.

  • We should build on the existing institutional infrastructure wherever possible, rather than inventing new bureaucracies where they are not needed. For instance, we can enhance the mandate of the UNFCCC Secretariat, to register national action plans, arrange interactive dialogues with governments and assist when requested. The UNFCCC Secretariat may also support the operation of an International Energy Transition Funding Board that may need to be established to assign resources for those eligible to receive technology and funding support.

  • UNEP, too, should increase its profile in this sector. UNEP may enhance its role in analysing current climate trends, advancing knowledge on the impacts of climate change at present and in the future, ensuring that funds for climate justice are raised and justly distributed, and advancing the international agenda of mitigation and, where necessary, adaptation. UNEP can also become a driver in helping to form global strategies, identifying funding needs and ensuring transparency in relation to how funding commitments are being met.

  • While new and unnecessary bureaucracy is to be avoided, there is a need to study, bundle and help transmit technological information and initiatives for innovation in support of the energy transition. This includes the task of supporting the process of turning emerging technologies into processes and devices that can be made available at scale and at minimum cost, and of bringing them to market. Towards this end we encourage the establishment of an international centre of excellence on climate-related technologies and technology transfers, offering information and services to all. This centre, which could be based in Glasgow, would act as a hub to encourage research and development on climate-related technology and knowledge, to help ensure that all can gain knowledge of advances and profit by them. The centre could also support the necessary negotiations to balance the need for the protection of intellectual property and patents with the requirement to encourage and support technology transfers. Gradually, the Centre would also take on a role of supporting governments that want support in devising their national technology transition strategies and supporting requests they may wish to make for international assistance to the Energy Transition Funding Board.