- November 12, 2021
- Posted by: lutherpendragon
- Category: insight, news
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
On Wednesday came the unexpected announcement that the world’s two biggest emitters have agreed to work together towards reducing CO2 emissions.
- The details of the agreement are sparse, but President Biden and Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual meeting as early as next week to discuss further.
- Analysts say it is a tacit acknowledgement from China that climate change is a pressing issue which warrants urgent attention and international cooperation. . [US Govt]
New climate draft deal
A second draft of the COP26 agreement first outlined on Wednesday has been published. All 197 parties in attendance must agree to every part of the final agreement.
- The wording around the phasing out of coal and fossil fuels has softened but remains a ‘landmark’ request should it pass.
- A deal must be agreed by the end of the summit, with negotiations expected to stretch into the night.
- Many remain sceptical that the agreement will be enough to limit global warming to the 1.5C agreed in Paris. . [UK Govt]
UK government launch Urban Climate Action Programme
On Thursday, the UK government launched a new Urban Climate Action programme (UCAP) to support developing countries to accelerate their transition to net zero.
- £27.5 million of new UK government funding will support cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to take action to tackle climate change and grow sustainably in the future.
- The world’s urban buildings are responsible for around 40% of global emissions and are therefore seen as crucial to combatting climate change. . [UK Govt]
In the news
Johnson returns to Glasgow
Boris Johnson took the train north to revisit COP26, and delivered a speech imploring delegates to ‘pull out all the stops’ in their efforts to keep a COP26 deal alive.
- Reports of Boris Johnson’s speech, in which he said that agreements alone could not fix the climate and that greater action was needed. . [The Times] . [Daily Mail] . [Sky News] . [ITV News]
US and China come to surprise agreement
China and the US issued a surprise joint declaration, in which they promised to co-operate in their efforts to limit global warming to 1.5C
- The two countries agreed to accelerate work to phase out the use of coal, as well as to work together to encourage other countries make carbon-reduction pledges. . [The Times] . [The Telegraph] . [Financial Times] . [The Guardian] . [BBC News]
- Many said the announcement brought some much-needed optimism to the summit, especially since the two nations are vital to reducing carbon emissions. . [The Independent] . [Financial Times] . [The Guardian]
- The Telegraph found that the deal was significant for the change in language from China, and for a new commitment to cut methane emissions. . [The Telegraph]
Delegates haggle over coal commitment
As COP26 approached its scheduled end, negotiations over the final deal began. The first draft’s ambition caused some friction between delegates.
- Pledges to accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies were met with resistance from China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. . [Financial Times] . [The Times] . [The Telegraph] . [The Independent]
- Even still, The Guardian argued that the conference was nowhere near its stated aim of limiting global warming to 1.5C. . [The Guardian]
Wording ultimately watered-down
Some last-minute changes to the draft text were therefore required, which softened the language on fossil fuel subsidies.
- Reports did point out that pledges on coal and fossil fuels were not predicted to make it into the final deal at all, so this was a victory of sorts. . [The Telegraph] . [The Guardian] . [The Independent] . [BBC News] . [CityAM]
Countries battle over funding
The other sticking point in the negotiations on the final deal concerned financing for less economically developed countries.
- The draft agreement was criticised for not providing enough money to help poorer nations deal with the effects of climate change. . [The Guardian] . [BBC News] . [Financial Times]
- Ireland’s climate minister came out against a loss and damage fund for poorer countries. . [The Times]
Leading bank to increase ESG lending by 40%
Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, has announced plans to increase its ESG lending to $3 billion this year
- Russia’s foremost lender has announced that the value of its ESG loans will multiply in 2022 . [Reuters]
Bezos fund CEO calls for climate-focused reshaping of development banks
The head of Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund has urged governments to take on more of the risk associated with climate finance
- Andrew Steer says supranational development banks are key to climate action . [Reuters]
Bahamas PM says COP26 lacks ‘teeth’
Facing near-term existential climate threat, The Prime Minister of the Bahamas described the Glasgow Summit as toothless
- Philip Davis says Boris Johnson hasn’t conveyed ‘seriousness’ of climate crisis . [Sky News]
New study shows planet will warm by 2.4C despite COP pledges
New analysis from the Climate Action Tracker shows climate goals remain distant
- CAT says earth is headed for 2.4C warming . [BBC News]
Scotland in talks with BOGA to halt oil and gas production
Scottish government in climate talks with Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance
- Scotland is in talks with an inter-governmental alliance to end oil and gas production . [FT]
European Business Schools team up to offer climate training
Eight top institutions put competition aside to improve research and teaching
- Business Schools for Climate Leadership seeks to empower new generation of business leaders to tackle environmental crisis . [FT]
Energy companies call for $3tn investment in long duration storage
Group calling for new push includes energy giants BP and Siemens
- The Long Duration Energy Storage Council formed on Thursday, calling for new cash for emissions-cutting technology . [FT]
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