Key announcements and reaction from COP26

15th November 2021

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Chris Seekings

A look at some of the key announcements made during the two-week conference in Glasgow, including reaction from around the world.

World leaders promise to end deforestation by 2030

More than 100 leaders from countries containing 85% of the world's forests have agreed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use is supported by a pledge to provide $12bn of public finance from 12 countries by 2025, alongside $7.2bn of newly-mobilised private sector funding.

This will support activities in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and supporting the rights of indigenous communities.

Tuntiak Katan, coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, said: “We will be looking for concrete evidence of a transformation in the way funds are invested.

“If 80% of what is proposed is directed to supporting land rights and the proposals of Indigenous and local communities, we will see a dramatic reversal in the current trend that is destroying our natural resources.”

US and China to boost climate cooperation

The US and China signed a joint declaration agreeing to increase cooperation on tackling climate change over the next decade.

The world's two biggest CO2 emitters agreed to work together to close the "significant gap" that remains in efforts to deliver the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C goal.

Steps were agreed on a number of issues, including methane emissions, the transition to clean energy and decarbonisation.

UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, said: "Tackling the climate crisis requires international collaboration and solidarity, and this is an important step in the right direction.”

More than 40 countries pledge to quit coal

More than 40 countries have agreed to shift away from coal use after signing a Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement.

This includes 23 countries committing for the first time to phase out coal, such as Indonesia, South Korea, Poland, Vietnam, and Chile. The major economies have pledged to phase out coal power in the 2030s, while the rest will do so in the 2040s.

Signatories have committed to end all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally, to rapidly scale up deployment of clean power generation, and to make a just transition away from coal power in a way that benefits workers and communities.

“The world is moving in the right direction, standing ready to seal coal’s fate and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future that is powered by clean energy," said the UK's business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng.

EU and US launch Global Methane Pledge

More than 100 countries, representing 70% of the global economy, have pledged to cut methane emission levels by 30% by 2030.

Delivering on the Global Methane Pledge, which was launched jointly by the EU and US, would reduce warming by at least 0.2°C by 2050, according to analysis by the Global Methane Assessment from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).

Moreover, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said that achieving the 2030 goal would prevent over 200,000 premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma-related emergency room visits, and over 20 million tonnes of crop losses a year.

“Cutting methane emissions is the best way to slow climate change over the next 25 years,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.

“The Global Methane Pledge has great potential to increase ambition and improve cooperation by countries. UNEP will support efforts to turn commitments into actual emissions reductions through the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) and the CCAC.”

Over $130trn to align with Paris Agreement

More than 450 firms from 45 countries have committed to align more than $130trn with the climate goals of Paris Agreement through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).

This represents around 40% of the world’s financial assets, with 24 other major finance initiatives also announced to help mainstream and scale: climate-related reporting; climate risk management; climate-related investment returns and the mobilisation of private finance to emerging and developing economies.

Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, said that the financial initiatives announced at COP26 could deliver the estimated $100trn of investment needed over the next three decades for clean energy.

“The rapid, and large-scale, increase in capital commitment to net zero, through GFANZ, makes the transition to a 1.5°C world possible. To seize this opportunity, companies must deliver robust transition plans and governments set predictable and credible policies.

“This will give finance the confidence to invest, pulling forward climate actions and smoothing the transition to net zero, driving growth and jobs upwards, and forcing emissions downwards. Let’s work together to seize this opportunity.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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