Leaders from around the world are gathered in Glasgow for COP26 (31 Oct–12 Nov 2021).
We know the conference will receive a lot of exposure and we want to be a useful source of information, cutting through the coverage and signposting the best resources.
Seismic is sharing a daily round up of concise updates and useful news links throughout the conference. We hope you find this resource useful!
Day 12: 11th November 2021
Cities, Regions and Built Environments Day
- ‘Near-final’ draft documents experience delays
- UK launches Urban Climate Action Programme, providing £27.5m to at least 15 cities in developing countries across a three-year period.
- Cities and regions join Race to Zero with a total of 1049 cities and local governments now participating
- The UK Green Building Council has unveiled its Whole Life Carbon Roadmap – a tool to help businesses across the built environment sector measure and cut carbon.
- With the launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance there are noticeable no-shows from the world’s largest producers including Russia, US, Saudi Arabia and the UK.
The $100bn pledge has not been met
Climate finance has been one of the big battles at this year’s summit as the $100bn (£72bn) a year by 2020 has not been met resulting in poorer countries demanding action.
There’s also issues surrounding access to the money as in 2018, three-quarters of the government money was in the form of loans, rather than grants, which perpetuates problems for poorer countries who are already heavily in debt. During COP26, agreements have stated more money will be in the form of grants rather than loans, but details of these commitments are limited.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/57975275
Day 11: 10th November 2021
- UNFCCC published a draft negotiations document calling on nations to “revisit and strengthen” their 2030 climate targets by the end of 2022
- China, Germany and the US have currently not signed the declaration on zero-emission vehicles
- Nations representing 40% of aviation emissions pledge sector-specific 1.5C goals
- Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA) has opened to new members aiming to grow support for sustainable fuel alternatives and policy changes
- Net-zero shipping routes planned by 19 nations, as 200+ businesses back zero-emission vessels
- The UK’s Environment Bill was finally passed after a process lasting more than two years
Five things to watch as summit enters last days
- What rules will be imposed to implement the Paris climate accord?
- Will the UN set up a global carbon market?
- What are scientists predicting on temperature rise and how do policies and pledges affect this?
- What will be the final text from COP26?
- When will COP end?
US and China announce surprise climate agreement
The world’s two biggest CO2 emitters pledged to act in a joint declaration, agreeing to boost climate cooperation over the next decade.
US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual meeting as early as next week.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-59238869
Day 10: 9th November 2021
Science, Innovation and Gender Day
- Confirmation that a first draft of the negotiations document will arrive overnight
- 23 nations announce plans for cleantech investment under the platform “Mission Innovation”
- Following yesterday’s announcement on the Adaptation Fund, more clarity has been provided on specific details.
- Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative (IDDI) launched, committing nations to disclose the associated carbon in major public construction projects by 2025
- 28 global companies from the mining, manufacturing and financial sectors have pledged to grow both the demand and supply of green hydrogen
- “Just Skills Hub” launched to support policymakers and businesses to implement a strategy that enables the low-carbon career transition in high-emitting sectors
- Artificial Intelligence report for climate action published
World headed for 2.4C warming despite climate summit
During the COP26 summit International Energy Agency announced that the new commitments and net zero goals have lowered the prospective temperature rise down to 1.8C by the end of the century.
However, Climate Action Tracker has suggested that when the governments’ actual policies, rather than pledges, are analysed, the world’s projected warming is 2.7C by 2100. Based on countries’ 2030 pledges, the world is set to warm by 2.4C by 2100.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-59220687
Rich countries are resisting compensation payments for climate loss
Poorer countries see it as critical that compensation for loss and damage be part of COP26 negotiations this week. Negotiations in Paris 2015, agreed to address this issue without establishing who was liable to pay.
Rich nations are said to be resisting any commitments as they do not want to accept liability and risk being sued.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-59206814
Day 9: 8th November 2021
Adaptation, Loss and Damage Day
- Confirmation lacking on the $100bn pledge
- The UN’s Race to Resilience campaign unveiled a new tool for cities, regions and businesses to measure their climate resilience
- More than $232m has been committed to the Adaptation Fund
- Speech from Obama urges nations to understand the critical nature of the situation, and for individuals to keep putting pressure on policymakers and businesses.
- UN updates Fashion Charter, requiring the 130 brand signatories to cut their emissions by 50% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050.
Fossil fuel industry has largest delegation
At COP26 there are 503 delegates associated with the fossil fuel industry. These delegates are said to lobby for the oil and gas industries and support their agendas.
Campaigners have stated they think these delegates should be banned as during conference negotiations false solutions are suggested, appearing to be climate action but in reality preserving the status quo.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-59199484
Day 8: 7th November 2021
Day 6 & 7: 5-6 November 2021
Nature and Land Use Day Outcomes
- 45 nations agree on agricultural policy reform principles that are low-carbon, deforestation-free and supports farmers.
- 150 organisations target $4bn of public investment in agriculture innovations.
- 34 additional countries have signed up to Monday’s forest declaration.
- 95 UK businesses have made a commitment to deliver ‘nature positive’ operations by 2030.
- Asset managers covering $8.7tn vow to end deforestation linked to commodities.
- The Scottish Government has launched a Nature Restoration Fund, which will provide £55m for projects domestically over a five-year period.
Activists gather for Greta Thunberg’s speech
Thousands of climate activists marched through Glasgow, organised by Fridays for Future. Greta rallies activists in a speech that deems COP26 as a “failure” and a “PR exercise”.
Climate change strategy for primary school curriculum
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said changes to the primary curriculum will see a focus on climate change science and sustainability studies through STEM subjects, geography and citizenship.
Watch more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/education-59177067
Paris Agreement extended to include Isle of Man
An extension of the 2015 Paris Agreement is to include the Crown Dependencies. The Isle of Man will now have to comply with the obligations of the treaty, including cutting carbon emissions to net zero.
UK Government marked Ocean Action Day
The UK Presidency marked ‘Ocean Action Day” by championing a call for action to protect and restore ocean health and resilience.
The UK Government released multiple announcements to support ocean protection such as increasing commitments to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 and contributing £6 million to PROBLUE, a World Bank fund that supports sustainable ocean projects.
Day 5: 4 November 2021
The end of coal is in sight
At least 23 countries have made new commitments to phase out coal power, including five of the world’s top 20 coal power-using countries.
Major international banks commit to effectively end all international public financing of new coal power by the end of 2020, including major international lenders like HSBC, Fidelity International and Ethos.
A total of 190 countries and firms formed a coalition that has pledged to phase out coal power and end support for new coal power plants. The agreement states that major economies should phase out coal power by the 2030s with the rest of the world ending use by the 2040s.
Read more at: https://unfccc.int/news/end-of-coal-in-sight-at-cop26
Indonesia questions the deforestation agreement days after signing on
A global commitment to halt the destruction of global forestry, signed by more than 100 world leaders, has been questioned as Indonesia’s environment minister called it “inappropriate and unfair”.
As Indonesia homes the world’s third-largest expanse of tropical forest cover it is crucial to the agreement’s success. The minister claimed forcing Indonesia to reach deforestation by 2030 was unjust as development of crops and road access is critical for the country’s stability.
Day 4: 3 November 2021
UK firms mandatory disclosure on net zero pathway
All British companies from 2023 must publish their net zero emissions road maps, setting out how they plan to decarbonise by 2050. The commitments will not be mandatory but the government’s aim is to increase accountability and transparency and the market will decide on the credibility of the firm’s decarbonising plans.
Additionally a total 450 firms (controlling 40% of global financial assets which is equivalent to $130tn) have agreed to commit to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59136214
Malawian farmers receive one of biggest crop insurance payouts following extreme weather
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) micro-insurance scheme is intended to help protect farming communities against the risks associated with increasing extreme weather.
After crops in 2020/21 were blighted by drought and pests, farmers received an average payout of $36 (totalling $2.4m). At COP26, WFP are advocating for better risk management systems and more funding for climate adaptation schemes to help climate change adaptation efforts.
Twenty countries pledge to end financing of overseas fossil fuel projects
More than 20 countries and financial institutions will halt all financing of oversea fossil fuel development and redistribute spending to green energy from next year.
Diverting their funding from fossil fuels to low-carbon alternatives will generate an estimated $8bn a year for clean energy. The agreement will prevent the funding of any fossil fuel development, including gas, however it should be noted that there are provisions for loopholes.
COP26 emission pledges may limit global heating to below 2C
A UN review published ahead of COP26 found that countries’ climate commitments would cause around 2.7C of global heating. However, a new assessment suggests that if commitments are fulfilled, the recent progress in pledges during the summit could keep temperatures to 1.9C.
Day 3: 2 November 2021
US $100bn in climate finance – where does it go?
Rich governments have pledged donations of $100bn to help poorer countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change, but there is no agreement on how to spend the funds.
Donor countries are making a major push at COP26 to boost the contributions – Japan, Italy, the UK and Denmark have all raised their climate pledges whilst in Glasgow.
World leaders launch ‘Breakthrough Agenda’ for affordable clean tech globally
More than 40 world leaders have signed a new declaration, the “Breakthrough Agenda”, aiming to deliver clean and affordable technology solutions globally by 2030 in an effort to assist global efforts in keeping 1.5C alive.
The Agenda aims to make clean technologies for the polluting sectors affordable and attractive for all nations by 2030. The five global breakthroughs span from creating low-carbon hydrogen to delivering climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture.
Western nations announced an $8.5bn commitment with South Africa to reduce dependency on coal power
Under the deal with the US, EU, UK, France and Germany, South Africa will close its coal plants more quickly than scheduled, transitioning to a “clean energy economy” over the next five years.
Coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, supplied nearly 90 per cent of South Africa’s electricity last year. Therefore, they are looking to cut their annual GHG emissions by over a third over the next decade, reducing 500m tonnes of CO2 equivalent to 350m by 2030.
US and EU announce global methane pledge
The Global Methane Pledge was announced today with a total of over 100 countries representing 70% of the global economy and nearly half of anthropogenic methane emissions signing up. These countries are committing to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 whilst moving towards using best available inventory methodologies to quantify emissions.
Delivering on this pledge would reduce climate warming by at least 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050, providing a crucial foundation for climate action mitigation efforts.
Day 2: 1 November 2021
Biden urges climate action
The US President announced that wealthy, major polluters such as the US have an “overwhelming responsibility” to take action and support the vulnerable, smaller countries that are struggling with the ramifications of climate change.
Biden has been vocal in his support for climate action however critics are sceptical of tangible change. Concerns currently surround the proposed climate legislation as the bill remains stalled in Congress, due to resistance from a senator who has significant ties to fossil fuels.
India PM Narendra Modi pledges a late net zero by 2070
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated the world’s third-biggest emitter would reach a net zero emissions target by 2070, missing a key COP26 goal for countries to commit by 2050.
Modi pledged that half of India’s electricity would come from renewable sources by 2030 which is an increase from the 2016 target of 40 per cent by 2030.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-59125143
More than 100 nations agree to end deforestation by 2030
Collectively those who agreed to this pledge represent more than 85% of forests globally, committing to end deforestation and reverse land degradation by 2030, entering a period of restoration by this point.
This “landmark” moment, on its launch day, has already gained financial support pledges of £8.75bn from national governments and £5.3bn from the private sector. The UK Government is contributing £1.5bn to the initiative.
Day 1: 31 October 2021
So what do we need to achieve at COP26?
There have been five overarching goals set out to guide the two week conference. These range from mobilising finance to protecting communities and natural habitats.
At the end of the conference, it is expected that each country will be asked to sign up to some form of declaration, which could contain specific climate commitments.
Read more at: https://ukcop26.org/cop26-goals/
The countries most vulnerable to climate change – Maldives message of no compromise.
Not only must COP26 address the world’s biggest polluters, like the USA and China, but also ensure the most vulnerable countries are receiving the support they need.
Small island states are often seen as the conscience of the COP process as areas such as the Maldives are most at risk of climate change chaos and therefore push hardest for deep emission cuts.
Read more on the Maldives ex-president’s message to COP26 at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/01/ex-maldives-president-to-tell-cop26-do-not-compromise-on-15c
Prime Minister Boris Johnson – “one minute to midnight”.
The UK PM announced the world is at “one minute to midnight” after running down the clock, waiting to address climate change.
For the first time Johnson confirmed he did not want to see the controversial proposed coal mine in Cumbria approved.
Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59114871
Rome to Glasgow: Key G20 takeaways and their relevance to COP26
The G20 is an international forum that brings together the world’s major economies with the purpose of achieving global economic stability and sustainable growth whilst promoting financial regulations that reduce risk.
At the forum held in Rome over the weekend, the outcome had conflicted responses with both praise and critique. The key climate takeaways included, climate finance, coal, carbon pricing, biodiversity loss, methane and the 1.5C target.