COP26: Victories for the planet

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COP26 took place in Glasgow last year.

It was attended by a record-breaking number of delegates.

For two weeks, the global media conversation was dominated, for the first time ever, by climate change. While the most pro-active businesses and organisations have long been calling for action, COP26 was a key awareness moment that brought the issue into focus for those that have been slower in their journey.

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Let’s look at some of the key outcomes:

  • Countries agreed to a provision calling for a phase-down of coal power and a phase-out of “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies – two key issues that had never been explicitly mentioned in decisions of UN climate talks before.
  • Developed countries had previously fallen short on their promise to deliver US$100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries. The Glasgow outcome reaffirmed this commitment.In a report, developed countries expressed confidence that the target would be met in 2023.
  • At COP26, new financial pledges were made to the Adaptation Fund (totaling over US$350 million) and to the Least Developed Countries Fund (totaling over US$600 million).
  • Countries agreed to strengthen the Santiago Network, which connects vulnerable countries with providers of technical assistance, knowledge and resources to address climate risks.
  • Countries reached agreement on the remaining issues in the ‘Paris rulebook’ – the operational details for the practical implementation of the Paris Agreement. THis included an Enhanced Transparency Framework, providing common timeframes and formats for countries to regularly report their progress.
  • 137 countries committed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. The pledge is backed by $12bn in public and $7.2bn in private funding. In addition, CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions with over $8.7 trillion of global assets committed to eliminate investment in activities linked to deforestation.  
  • 103 countries, including 15 major emitters, signed the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to limit methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, compared to 2020 levels.
  • Over 30 countries, six major vehicle manufacturers and other actors, like cities, set out their determination for all new car and van sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2040 globally and 2035 in leading markets. (Road transport currently accounts for around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions).
  • Private financial institutions and central banks announced moves to realign trillions of dollars towards achieving global net zero emissions. Among them is the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, with over 450 firms across 45 countries that control $130 trillion in assets, requiring its members to set robust, science-based near-term targets.
  • Leaders from South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, and the European Union announced a ground-breaking partnership to support South Africa – the world’s most carbon-intensive electricity producer— with $8.5 billion over the next 3-5 years to make a just transition away from coal, to a low-carbon economy.

You can follow the conversation at COP27 by following the UNFCCC live blog and following the live broadcasts on the UN Climate Change YouTube channel.

One simple action you can take now, is to subscribe to #EthicalHour. It’s free, it means we can keep you informed on all the crucial issues and updates, and you’ll be the first to hear (and take action!) when our Action Hub goes live!

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