Held in Glasgow between 31 October – 12 November, the UN Climate Change Conference  is setting the political, media and business agenda. Follow proceedings with our bi-weekly round-up.

The main event

First draft of COP26 ‘cover decision’ announced

The first draft of an agreement setting out how countries will cut emissions to avoid temperature rises of above 1.5C was published by the UK COP26 presidency.

  • The 7-page document sets out what negotiators hope will be the outcome of the summit, but is still to be negotiated. External-link. [UN]
  • The agreement focuses on adaptation to climate change, and finance – in particular encouraging richer nations to support poorer ones in their transition.
  • It requests that countries put new plans for cutting emissions on the table by the end of next year. External-link. [BBC News]

Declaration on accelerating the transition to EVs

On Transport Day, the UK has led a pledge from a range of public and private sector bodies to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans.

  • Signatories from governments and stakeholders across the automotive industry have committed to work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission by 2040, and no later than 2035 in leading markets
  • The list includes key manufactures such as Mercedes-Benz and Ford, but others such as Toyota and Volvo have not signed up. And whilst many US state and regional governments have joined the pledge, the federal government has not.
  • This declaration is in addition to the UK government’s own ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine cars by 2030. External-link. [UK Govt]

UK leads 45 governments in new pledges to protect nature

On Land Use Day at the weekend, the UK led a pledge on urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming.

  • Approximately one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, forestry and other land-use
  • The deal involves leveraging over US$4 billion of new public sector investment into agricultural innovation, including the development of climate resilient crops making sustainable resources and techniques affordable and accessible to farmers. External-link. [UK Govt]

In the news 

Slow progress feeds pessimism

Going into the second week of COP26, many papers expressed concern at the lack of progress being made, in particular regarding the lack of agreement on limiting global warming to 1.5C.

Anger at fossil fuel lobbyists

There was annoyance at the fact that those representing the fossil fuel were higher in number than any single country’s delegation at COP26.

Obama addresses the Summit

There was plenty of focus on President Barack Obama’s visit to Glasgow, as he addressed the summit on Monday.

Deal for developing countries

Developing nations have expressed anger at richer nations’ failure to fulfil a promise made at COP15 in Copenhagen, to provide $100 billion to help mitigate that impacts of climate change.

Tough week for Scott Morrison

There was some critical coverage of Australia, seen to be lagging behind others on climate change.

  • In particular, papers were critical of a lack of ambition in Australia’s climate targets, and failure to pledge to ditch coal. External-link. [Daily Mail] External-link[The Guardian]
  • While Prime Minister announced his new policy to boost the sales of electric cars, this was criticised for not including a phase-out for petrol cars. External-link. [The Guardian] External-link[The Independent]

Other voices

Greenwashing scrutinised

Reports suggest financial regulators are increasing scrutiny of potential “greenwashing” in the investments industry.

  • UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has announced the creation of a new panel to assess net zero commitments. External-link. [The Times]
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission objected to US brand Allbirds’ claim to be the first ‘sustainable’ IPO. External-link. [Financial Times]

Google bans climate misinformation

Google has announced that it is banning ads that misinform the public about climate change.

  • The announcement applies to ads on both Google and YouTube External-link. [BBC News]

Water crisis being overlooked at COP   

WaterAid has accused leaders at the summit of ignoring the ‘calamitous’ effects the climate crisis is having on global water supplies.

  • WaterAid says COP conference has not paid enough attention to the planet’s water crisis External-link. [Water Aid]

Advertising Standards Authority to crack down on Greenwashing ads

The advertising regulator will release new guidance to prevent adverts which feature climate misinformation.

  • ASA in greenwashing clampdown External-link. [BBC News]

Activists urge UN to declare ‘systemwide climate emergency’

Environmental campaigners led by Greta Thunberg have filed a petition calling on the UN to declare climate change a global level 3 emergency.

  • Youth activists implore United Nations to announce ‘systemwide climate emergency’ External-link. [The Guardian]

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