COP26: The first five days, a brief summary | New

The first two days revolved around the theme of the ‘World Leaders Summit’, an opportunity for leaders around the world to speak out on the climate crisis and how they plan to accelerate decarbonization to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement 2050.

Day one saw UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stress the need to find alternative and innovative ways to produce energy, such as carbon capture, and that funding for these technologies should be funded in part by the private sector.

“If we don’t take climate change seriously today, it will be too late for our children to do it tomorrow,” he warned.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says more needs to be done to meet the 1.5C target and countries need to make efforts to meet the $ 100 billion funding target climate promise in 2015.

British naturalist Sir David Attenborough criticized the burning of fossil fuels and defended the further development of alternative technologies, such as carbon capture, hailing a “new industrial revolution fueled by sustainable innovation”.

The US president has proposed that this is the “start of a decade of transformative action” and that keeping 1.5 ° C is possible if countries come together and unify their efforts.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to achieve net zero targets by 2070, the first time the world’s fourth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) has formally committed to reducing emissions.

Day two saw several world leaders sign the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, concluding a deal to ‘end deforestation’. Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, frequently criticized for his lack of interest in the conservation of the Amazon rainforest, was one of the many signatories.

Biden also pledged to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030. As part of the Global Methane Pledge, the agreement has been signed by more than 100 countries representing 70% of the global economy. Global philanthropic organizations have committed $ 328 million in funding to support the scale-up of these methane mitigation strategies.

The United States has also joined the High Ambition Coalition, a group of developed and developing countries that has ensured that 1.5C is a major goal of the Paris Agreement.

The country joined the UK, India, China and others in agreeing to participate in the Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda, a commitment to join forces to accelerate the development and deployment of clean technologies and sustainable solutions – such that clean electricity and electric vehicles – necessary for each country to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

A new energy partnership between the UK, EU and US has been created with South Africa. The Just Energy Transition Partnership is a long-term project to support South Africa’s path to low-emission, climate-resilient development, in addition to accelerating the decarbonization of the power system and moving away from the use of fossil fuels.

African countries have also pledged to establish a green economy after agreeing to spend at least $ 6 billion of their tax revenues to help adapt to the effects of climate change, in addition to calling on the richest developed countries to provide $ 2.5 billion per year for the next five years.

Day three focused on finances. Pushing the theme further, gasworld published an exclusive discussion with DNV on the financial barriers and challenges that are involved in ensuring a “just” and clean energy transition.

To reduce the development of fossil fuels, more than 20 countries and financial institutions, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Costa Rica and the European Investment Bank have pledged to redirect $ 8 billion through year towards green energy.

The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) has seen pledges worth $ 130 billion from the world’s largest banks and pension funds to ensure that by 2050 all assets managed by institutions will adopt a net zero position.

Day four has looked into all things energy, with an important pledge made by 28 countries by joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a group dedicated to phasing out coal. UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng commented on the deal, saying “The end of coal is in sight”.

There could also be a dramatic shift in the global geopolitical landscape, following new research that shows that, by 2036, half of the world’s fossil fuel assets could become worthless.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has revealed that promises made at the event could limit warming to 1.8 ° C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, told an audience that “the result is extremely encouraging.”

Despite the apparently positive result, several of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters have so far refused to phase out coal altogether.

Fifth day had for theme “Youth and empowerment of the public”. COP President Alok Sharma urged ministers to take youth priorities into account in COP negotiations and national climate action.

National commitments on climate education have also been made by 23 countries, including zero-net schools and putting climate “at the heart” of national curricula.

The UK has announced its draft strategy on sustainability and climate change to help equip young people with the skills to drive the future of climate action.

You can keep up to date with all the relevant takes from COP26 by following our ongoing coverage, which will continue through November 12.

About Matthew Berkey

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