COP26: A Recap
Late last year, the UK hosted the United Nations 26th climate change annual summit ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP26) in Glasgow. This involved bringing together more than 100 world leaders and tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens across twelve days of talks. So what was achieved?
There were some major commitments and pledges made by world leaders to cut methane emissions, tackle deforestation, and phase out coal in favour of clean technologies. In summary, some of the key achievements included:
Over one-hundred world leaders have pledged to reverse land degradation and deforestation by 2030. The commitment is funded by public and private funding totalling £14 billion. The commitment is further backed by pledges to provide £8.75 billion of public finance from 12 countries over the next four years.
End of Coal
Forty nations have committed to curb the use of coal. With new commitments from some of the biggest coal users, including Chile, Indonesia, Poland, South Korea and Vietnam, at least 23 countries made new commitments to phase out coal in favour of clear sources of energy. Not all nations supported the move to end the use of fossil fuels however, the world’s biggest polluter, China, and other key producers (and users) of fossil fuels, such as India and Australia, refused to give such commitments.
Over 40 world leaders have backed the Breakthrough Agenda which, it is hoped, will accelerate investment into clean energy technologies and stimulate collaboration between the public and private sectors. It has been backed by nations representing more than 70% of the world’s economy, including the US, India and China. Modelled on the UK’s landmark Net Zero Strategy, the Breakthrough Agenda aims to have countries and businesses coordinate and strengthen their climate action each year to dramatically scale and speed up the development and deployment of clean technologies with a view to making clean technologies the most affordable, accessible and attractive choice in each of the most polluting sectors by 2030. The first five breakthroughs (aims) of the Breakthrough Agenda are:
- Power: Clean power is the most affordable and reliable option for all countries to meet their power needs efficiently by 2030.
- Road Transport: Zero emission vehicles are the new normal and accessible, affordable, and sustainable in all regions by 2030.
- Steel: Near-zero emission steel is the preferred choice in global markets, with efficient use and near-zero emission steel production established and growing in every region by 2030.
- Hydrogen: Affordable renewable and low carbon hydrogen is globally available by 2030.
- Agriculture: Climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture is the most attractive and widely adopted option for farmers everywhere by 2030.
To achieve the first five breakthroughs, countries will work closely with businesses to accelerate innovation and scale up green industries by, for example:
- stimulating green investment through strong signals to industry about the future economy;
- aligning policies and standards to promote the use of clean technologies; and
- joining up R&D efforts, coordinating public investments and mobilising private finance particularly for developing nations to promote the use of clean technologies.
According to the Breakthrough Agenda, delivering these five breakthroughs could create 20 million new jobs globally and boosting the world’s economy by $16trn.
Clean Green Initiative
As part of the UK’s Clean Green Initiative, Boris Johnson announced a funding package, to support the rollout of sustainable infrastructure and revolutionary green technology in developing countries. This includes
- a package of guarantees to the World Bank and the African Development Bank to provide £2.2bn for investments in climate-related projects in India, supporting India’s target to achieve 450 GW of renewable energy installed capacity by 2030, and across Africa;
- a commitment from the UK’s development finance institution, CDC, to deliver more than £3bn of climate financing for green growth over the next five years. This will include £200m for a new Climate Innovation Facility to support the scale-up of technologies that will help communities deal with the impacts of climate change. This is double the amount of climate finance CDC invested in its previous strategy period from 2017-2021; and
- a commitment from the UK aid-backed Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) to commit more than £210m in new investment to back transformational green projects in developing countries such as Vietnam, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Nepal and Chad. These projects are expected to mobilise more than £470m ($650m) in additional private sector finance.
Sustainable Agriculture and Land Use
Forty-five nations have pledged urgent action and investment to shift to more sustainable ways of farming. Twenty-six nations have set out new commitments to change their agricultural policies to become more sustainable and less polluting, and to invest in the science needed for sustainable agriculture and for protecting food supplies against climate change. All continents were represented, with countries including India, Colombia, Vietnam, Germany, Ghana, and Australia. The UK announced funding of £500m to support the implementation of the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Roadmap that was launched during the World Leaders Summit and the World Bank committed to spending $25 billion in climate finance annually to 2025 through its Climate Action Plan with one of the focuses of that plan being on agriculture and food systems.
For information or advice on any of the topics raised, please contact our Energy Team.