Out vs Down: COP26 week 2 outcomes

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Just in case the twists and turns of #COP26 didn’t clear up and make sense in Week 2, I’m here for you…to demystify the maze. If you didn’t catch my Week 1 Navigation & Outcomes summary that’s a great place to start as it forms a great foundation for this week’s piece. But if you are all caught up with Week 1, let’s hastily move to Week 2.

Week 2 saw the battle of the wordings. In the diplomacy space, cues in my limited MUN experience, every word counts and sometimes every word can be a matter of life and death. In COP26’s case, it was a battle between ‘out’ vs ‘down’ that extended well past home time, which was Friday, to Saturday.

During the COP26 Energy Day, conversation on consigning coal power to history gained traction and was fuelled by the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement amongst other initiatives that were hellbent on moving away from the single biggest contributor to climate change. So the statement was strong, and the wording had no option but to be strong … calling for coal to be phased out. This was all great and dandy until India and China contended the word ‘out’ for ‘down’. This was a last-minute alteration that had the deal holding on to its dear life by a thread. It threatened the worst possible result, a no-deal, which would have made certain nobody wins. Thus, to save face and for the sake of the remaining parts of the deal, a lumpy coal compromise was made leaving the wording as phasing down coal. Without a doubt, this has left a lot of delegations and also the public deeply disappointed but we will have to draw strength from Barrack Obama’s speech where he says, “the process will be, be messy. I guarantee you; every victory will be incomplete. We will face more setbacks. Sometimes we will be forced to settle for imperfect compromises because even if they don’t achieve everything we want, at least they advance the cause. At least they move the ball down the field. Yes, this is going to be really hard. The thing we have going for us is that humanity has done hard things before. I believe we can do hard things again. So stay angry, stay frustrated but channel the anger and harness the frustration to keep pushing harder and harder.”

Though Glasgow has not delivered what Paris promised – guaranteed 1.5°C, it has kept the prospect of achieving it alive through the Glasgow Climate Pact, the Paris Agreement Rulebook, Improved Marrakech Partnership for Enhancing Ambition, and signals of change committing to end deforestation, drastically reduce methane emissions, mobilize private finance around net-zero and transition to cleaner technologies among others. Below are some highlights:

I. Glasgow Climate Pact. Over 200 countries agreed to the Climate Pact to keep 1.5C alive and finalise the outstanding elements of the Paris Agreement.

o  Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Calling on governments to revisit and come back next year with strengthened Paris-aligned near-term targets

o  Global Checkpoint Process, a political roundtable, to be held yearly to consider global progress

o  Leaders’ Summit to be held in 2023

o  The Paris Rulebook which stipulates the guidelines of for how the Paris Agreement is delivered was completed. It includes common timeframes and transparency process which countries will be held accountable as they deliver on their targets. In addition, Article 6 establishes a robust framework for countries to exchange carbon credits through the UNFCC.

o  First-ever inclusion of an agreed-on action to phase down fossil fuels

o  Recognized the importance of addressing loss and damage (L&D) from existing climate change impact and thus operationalizes the Santiago Network to provide technical assistance for the implementation of relevant approaches needed to avert, minimize and address L&D in developing countries.

o  Climate Adaptation Finance: Developed countries urged to double their support to developing countries by 2025

II. Additional initiatives launched in support of Agricultural Reform and Innovation include:

o  33 financial institutions, with $8.7Tr in assets global assets, commit to eliminate investments in activities linked to deforestation associated with agricultural commodities out of their commodity portfolios by 2025 (Source)

o  Update: The UK-Indonesia Forest Agriculture & Commodities Trade (FACT) Dialogue unveiled the roadmap identifying 4 areas of work for trade and market development, smallholder support, traceability and transparency, and research, development, and innovation. (Source) UK also announced a £500m to support the implementation of the FACT Roadmap.

o  UK commits £38.5m funding over 2 years to the CGIAR to create and scale new crops and technologies yielding climate, nature, health, gender and economic impact. (Source)

o  Policy Action Agenda for the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture. UK announced £65 million to support an action agenda, developed by UK COP26 presidency, World Bank and the Just Rural Transition Initiative, for the transition to sustainable agriculture and food production for healthy diets and resilient livelihoods. (Source) The Policy Action Agenda (PAA) is also supported by the Global Action Agenda for Innovation in Agriculture, aka #ClimateShot.

o  Global Action Agenda for Innovation in Agriculture, aka #ClimateShot, is an outcome of the Transforming Agriculture Innovation Systems for People, Nature and Climate and informed by engagement through FACT Dialogue and PAA for the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture. The #Climateshot campaign, with its 160+ allies who aim to mobilise over $5bn, aims to close the ‘innovation gap’ in agriculture and food systems. In addition, to its allies it is supported by (i) CGIAR 9ii) 100 Million Famers Multi-Stakeholder Platform, led by the World Economic Forum (iii) Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) initiative (Source)

o  The Gilbert Initiative, UK, launched to transform climate-resilient food systems through research and innovation. (Source)

o  Capital for Climate, a pilot online investment platform, launched as a guidance system to help institutional investors understand why and how to approach allocation of the capital towards nature-based solutions.

o  Science-Based Target for Nature. Almost 100 companies, including supermarkets and luxury fashion brands such as Burberry, talk about their commitments to halt and reverse the decline of nature and get nature positive by 2030 via guaranteeing the traceability of their materials.

o  Good Food Finance Network released its list of 14 tools, strategies and policies where innovation can drive finance towards healthy, sustainable food systems.

o  Regen10 Coalition launched to boost regenerative and resilient food systems and will deploy approximately $60bn per year to finance farmers’ transition to food production practices that benefit people, nature and climate.

o  26 nations commit to change their agricultural policies to be more sustainable and less polluting

e.g.

Brazil plans to save 1bn tonnes of emissions by scaling its ABC+ low carbon farming programme

Germany to lower its land-use emission by 25M tonnes by 2030

UK aims to engage 75% of farmers in low carbon practices by 2030

o  Through the ‘basket measures’ partnership with WWF that aims to turn the food and agriculture system into a nature hero, Sainsbury, on behalf of the big 5 UK supermarkets, will commit to halving the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket by 2030. Basket measures focuses on seven key themes, climate change, deforestation, sustainable agriculture, sustainable diets, marine, waste and packaging.

o  The Global EverGreening Alliance together with Climate Asset Management announces $150M investment in agricultural regeneration in Africa. It will include Restore Africa Programme which aims to restore over 2M ha of land and support 2M+ smallholder farmers in the next five years. (Source)

III. Additional initiatives launched in support of Adaptation, Loss & Damage include:

o  Principles for Locally Led Adaptation that shift towards locally-led adaptation was endorsed by 70+ and $450M+ mobilized for initiatives and programmes such as LIFE-AR, FLLoCA, CRPP, and the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance

o   Resilience Hub launches as part of Race to Resilience campaign that will bring together initiatives and 100+ countries and natural systems to strengthen urban, coastal and rural resilience of over 2.3bn persons by 2030 (Source). The Race to resilience campaign also launched metrics frameworks that will allow stakeholders to measure the progress of their work.

o  Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the AfDB joined the Champions Group on Adaptation Finance that commits to a balanced approach to climate finance

o  88 countries are covered by Adaptation Communications or National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) with 38 published in 2020

o  International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure launches Infrastructure Pathways will help practitioners build and develop infrastructure that adapts to changing climate (Source)

o  Global Resilience Index goes live to assist stakeholders to measure the resilience of their countries, companies, and supply chains

o  Soros Economic Development Fund (Or Open Society Foundations) is considering specific investments in resilience and green energy transformations in vulnerable countries

o  33 cities join Cities Race to Resilience campaign

o  Adaptation Research Alliance, a network of 100+ research institutions and communities in 30 economies, will work towards funding research and development of solutions that increase resilience. (Source)

IV. Additional initiatives launched in support of the Breakthrough Agenda include:

o  Update: In order to maintain momentum of the Breakthrough Agenda, Global Checkpoint Process will convene meetings of representatives from each emitting sector to produce an annual report tracking progress and advising on how to move faster to achieve the agenda’s goals.

o  Combined with the 3 Missions announced in June 2021 – Power Systems, Hydrogen and Shipping, Mission Innovation commits to 4 new missions that have the potential to unlock affordable decarbonization pathways. The additional missions are Urban Transitions Mission, Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Mission, Net Zero Industries Mission & Biorefineries Mission. (Source)

o  Sector-led actions include

SteelZero, commitment to making half the steel purchased net-zero by 2030

20 commercial-scale steel facilities planned for deployment by 2030 setting the steel sector on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050

ConcreteZero buyers club, with 15+ corporations across the concrete value chain, will influence the demand for net-zero-emission concrete

40 major cement and concrete producers commit to net-zero by 2050 and to cut emissions by 25% by 2030

WEF and 10 chemical companies develop a platform that will accelerate the development of net-zero-emission chemical technologies (Source)

World Travel and Tourism Council, UN Environment Programme and Accenture launch a pathway to net-zero emission by 2050 decarbonization roadmap for travel and tourism

o  Solar Investment Action Agenda was launched to identify high-impact opportunities for scaling up solar energy en route to US$1 trillion of solar investment by 2030. The subsequent detailed Solar Investment Roadmap is to be released in 2022.

o  Under the COP26 Health Programme, 47 countries commit to develop to low-carbon health systems, 460+ health organizations sign the ‘Healthy Climate Prescription’ letter which calls for stronger action on climate change to protect people’s health. (Source)

o  Massive Attack, a music band, releases a decarbonization roadmap that commits their touring company to the Race to Zero campaign.

o  Consumer Goods Forum becomes a Race to Zero Accelerator and is working to recruit more consumer goods retailers and manufacturers.

o  C40’s Clean Construction Declaration commits to at least halve emissions from the initial construction of buildings by 2030, with a 30% reduction by 2025, with cities such as San Francisco, LA, Mexico City, Oslo, and Budapest joining the commitment.

o  42 businesses sign the World Green Building Council’s updated commitment to drive operational emissions to net-zero by 2030.

V. Glasgow Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to 100% Zero-Emission Cars and Vans. Commits to work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero-emission, i.e. produces zero GHG emissions at the tailpipe, globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets. 100+ countries, cities, states, and major businesses agreed to work together on zero-emission vehicles by 2030. This included some emerging markets such as India, Kenya & Rwanda committing to accelerate transition to ZEV. At least 13 have signed a similar MOU to end the sale of fossil fuel-powered heavy-duty vehicles by 2040. (Source) To support this declaration parties also committed to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Additional initiatives launched in support of transport & mobility include:

o  International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition brings together parties to work together, both through ICAO and other complementary cooperative initiatives, to advance ambitious actions to reduce aviation CO2 emissions. (Source)

o  World Bank Trust Fund launched to mobilise $200M over the next 10yrs to decarbonise road transport in emerging markets and developing economies.

o  Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council (ZEVTC) annual Action Plan launched which sets out areas for sustained international cooperation to accelerate the transition during 2022 (Source)

o  UK pledge to end the sale of most new diesel trucks between 2035 and 2040

o  Some Latin American cities commit to turn their public transport fleets to zero emissions by 2035

o  Clydebank declaration. 19 governments state their intention to support establishment of ‘green shipping corridors’ – zero-emission shipping routes between two ports. They aim to create at least 6 zero-emissions maritime corridors by 2025.

o  Getting to Zero Coalition. 200+ businesses across the shipping value chain commit to scale and commercialize zero-emission shipping vessels and fuels by 2030

o  9 big brands such as IKEA, Michelin, Unilever and Patagonia announce a 100% shift of their ocean freight to vessels powered by zero-carbon fuel by 2040

o  Operation Zero launched by 28 shipping and wind energy companies to accelerate 2050-decarbonization of operations and maintenance vessels working in the North Sea offshore wind sector

o  Shipping Just Transition Taskforce. The International Chamber of Shipping, the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the UN Global Compact will work together to empower workers skills transition to a zero-emission shipping industry

VI. Additional initiatives launched in support of Climate Financing include:

o  World Bank through its Climate Action Plan, a guide for climate finance lending including a focus on agriculture and food system, commits to spend $25bn annually to 2025. 35% of financing will go to climate with half of that going to adaptation.

o  A total of $232M has been mobilised for the Adaptation Fund which is double the previous collective.

o  £274M new UK support announced for Climate Action for a resilient Asian (CARA) Program

o  Gender Equity Diversity Investments, a $100-150 million venture capital firm, launched

o  Urban Climate Action Programme (UCAP), funded through International Climate Finance and delivered in partnership with C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and GIZ, received a £27.5M pledge to support 15 mega-cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America targeting net-zero by 2050. UCAP will help cities to implement projects like low-emission public transport systems, renewable energy generation, sustainable waste management, new climate-smart buildings codes and climate risk planning.

o  The Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation pledges $1 million to support C40’s mayor Migration Council Task Force efforts in Africa that boost adaptation and reduce displacement in migrant communities, and facilitate dignified movement.

VII. Action for Climate Empowerment. Nations commit to the integration of sustainability and climate change in formal education systems, professional training, public awareness and information activities, and other non-formal and informal learning. (Source)

Additional initiatives launched in support of the Action for Climate Empowerment include: (Source)

o  National Climate Education Pledges. Over 23 countries put forward climate education pledges ranging from decarbonising the school sector to developing school resources. UK announces its draft Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy that aims to equip and empower young people with the skills they need to drive the future of climate action. This will include introduction of Primary Science Model Curriculum that supports development of conservation skills.

o  ‘learn for our planet: act for the climate’ statement that commits countries to revisit progress made on their pledges before COP27

o  UK announced £85,000 research grant to support the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre produce better information on the education needs of refugee children and enable a more effective international response.

o  With support from InsuResilience Global Partnership, Centre of Excellence on Gender-smart Solutions, an online resource and knowledge-sharing platform, launches to address the needs of poor and vulnerable women, men and children.

o  Just Skills Hub will leverage data analytics to empower workers in the green transition develop specific skills needed for zero-carbon economy (Source)

Global Partnership on AI, an initiative of 18 countries including EU, launched a playbook for policymakers on using artificial intelligence to drive climate action

VIII. Additional initiatives launched in support of the Ocean Protection include:

o  ‘30by30’ Target. 30 philanthropic org announced an additional $5bn to support the goal of protecting 30% of all land and sea by 2030. Bezos Earth Fund pledged $1bn of that $5bn. Over 10 new countries signed up to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.

o  As part of its Blue Planet Fund, UK announced a £6m investment in the World Bank’s PROBLUE to support the development of the blue economy to act as a key driver of growth in small island developing states (SIDS) and coastal least developed countries.

o  The Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, that is driving investment that incentivizes investment into nature-based solutions in the coastal and marine areas. The partnership’s target to secure at least $20M and have managed to secure commitments of nearly $13M.

o  Global Funds for Coral Reefs will receive $145M including $125M from Green Climate Fund so they can help small island states protect and restore coral reefs

o  Because the Ocean Declaration. Signed by over 16 nations who pledge to tackle shipping emissions, develop clean ocean renewable energy and advocate for ocean PPP.

o  Great Blue Wall Initiative launched to champion Africa-led 2030 roadmap to conserve and restore marine and coastal biodiversity, unlock development of the blue economy, build resilience among coastal communities

o  Resilient Water Accelerator aims to boost water security for 30 climate hotspots by 2030.

o  Urban Water Resilience Initiative aims to develop water action plans in 25 African cities

o  Ocean for Climate Declaration has more than 100 local and international public and private sector actors calling for scaled-up ocean-based climate solutions and actions

o  Global Blue New Deal Declaration advocates for oceans to be recognized for their role in regulating the climate; providing food, oxygen and ecosystem services

o  International Water Association, Aguas Andinas and CDP launches 50 to 1 billion where 50 of the largest water utilities commit to accelerate work to build resilient water supplies and wastewater services for more than 1.2 billion people by 2030.

o  In addition, CDP and Network for Greening the Financial System come together for a water-secure shift in the financial systems. They announce the development of the first disclosure mechanism – a water reporting framework. for financial institutions, which will be issued to 700 of the world’s largest publicly listed firms in April 2022

o  IDB Invest issue the first Latin America and Caribbean blue bond of $50M, 1year fixed rate.

For more detailed information about #COP26, you can read the daily latest news or outcomes as published by UK COP.

Another resource plug is the High-Level Climate Change Champions such as Nigel Topping LinkedIn Articles.

Now that COP26 has concluded, the real hard work begins … the implementation. Grab your wellies and let’s get cracking because, as Alok Sharma has stated, “the 1.5 pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep the promises made by translating commitments into rapid action.”

Edna Kimenju is a Sustainability Consultant at KCIC Consulting

Feature Image Source: Gerd Altmann at Pixabay

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