COP 26: Day 2 of the battle for the net-zero emissions

    03 Nov 2021

    So many stories we’ve heard from COP26, which lasts in Glasgow during November 2. Let’s get to know the main issues.

     

    More than 90 countries agree to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030

    The US authorities have already published a national action plan, according to which the oil and gas industry should reduce emissions by about 75%.

    During the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), representatives from over 90 countries agreed to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030. These included 15 of the 30 countries with the highest emissions – the United States, the European Union, Indonesia, Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico, Nigeria, Iraq, Vietnam and Canada.

    The US authorities have already published a national action plan, according to which the oil and gas industry should reduce emissions by about 75%. The EPA is currently preparing a program to capture up to 70% of landfill methane emissions.

    India targets zero emissions for the first time

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow pledged to cut his country’s emissions to net-zero by 2070.

    This was the first time India had set such a goal, so the pledge was met with positive results, even though the meeting was scheduled to declare carbon neutrality by 2050.

    India is the fourth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide globally after China, the US and the EU. The PRC aims to achieve zero emissions by 2060, and the US and EU by the middle of the century.

    In 2019, India polluted the atmosphere with 1.9 tonnes of CO2 per capita. The analogous figure for the USA is 15.5 tons, and for Russia – 12.5 tons. India’s low numbers are due to its huge population.

     

    US rejoins coalition to achieve 1.5° C goal at UN climate talks

    The US has rejoined the High Ambition Coalition at the UN climate talks, the group of developed and developing countries that ensured the 1.5° C goal was a key plank of the Paris agreement, The Guardian reports.

    The decision by the world’s biggest economy and second-biggest emitter, after China, to return to the High Ambition Coalition group of countries marks a significant boost to attempts to focus the Cop26 summit on limiting temperature rises to 1.5C, the tougher of the two goals of the Paris agreement.

    The coalition, which numbered scores of countries at the 2015 Paris talks, will on Tuesday call on governments to step up their efforts on greenhouse gas emissions and phasing out coal, consistent with a 1.5° C limit, and urge rich nations to double the amount of climate finance they make available for poor countries to adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis. They also want to bring an end to subsidies for fossil fuels.

    A senior US official said: “The High Ambition Coalition was instrumental in Paris in making sure that high ambition was written into the Paris agreement and will be instrumental in Glasgow in making sure it’s delivered.”

    Tina Stege, the climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, said: “The High Ambition Coalition has set the bar for what needs to happen at this Cop: getting on track to limiting temperature rise to 1.5C with enhanced [nationally determined contributions] and with real, actual actions, like phasing out coal; a sea-change on adaptation, with at least a doubling of current levels of adaptation financing; and making sure that we all have the resources we need to face this crisis, including the loss and damage we’re already experiencing today.

    “These heads of state have given their marching orders for ambition.”

    One negotiator said fears that the 1.5C target was in danger of slipping out of reach had prompted the group’s resurgence. “We are extremely concerned about 1.5° C,” they said. “That’s why we are calling for a way to keep 1.5C as a viable option.”

    The High Ambition Coalition was formed in the run-up to Paris by the chief negotiator for the Marshall Islands, Tony de Brum. Though the tiny Pacific island state, made up of 29 atolls, has a population of only 60,000, the charismatic De Brum had a major influence on climate Cops.

    The goal of holding temperature rises to 1.5° C rather than 2° C is much harder to achieve, as it requires emissions cuts of at least 45% by 2030, compared with 2010 levels. But science shows it is much safer – beyond 1.5C, many of the impacts of climate breakdown, such as melting ice sheets, become irreversible, and many small islands would face inundation from rising sea levels and storm surges.

    De Brum spent months taking soundings from developed and developing countries, and in the closing days, when it appeared that the 1.5° C could be in danger, the coalition was announced.

    John Kerry, the US climate envoy, said earlier this year that the Paris goal of “pursuing efforts” to 1.5C was “based on hard work by the High Ambition Coalition and the small island developing states. They felt it that it was imperative – and thank heavens they did. Science has now caught up to that fact, the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and IEA [International Energy Agency] and others have been pretty clear, that this is what we need to try to achieve.”

    De Brum died in 2017. Stege is his niece.

     

    World leaders have pledged to end deforestation by 2030

    At a climate summit in Glasgow, 105 world leaders committed to ending deforestation by 2030.

    This is stated in a declaration published on the website of the climate summit COP26.

    The Climate Summit Leaders’ Declaration emphasizes that the world will step up its joint efforts to preserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration.

    The signatories recognized that the support of indigenous peoples and local communities, whose livelihoods depend on forests, play a crucial role in their management. In more than 70 countries, 370 million people are indigenous, and many are threatened with extinction, including through the destruction of their homes.

    According to BBC journalists, $ 19.2 billion in public and private funds should be allocated to achieve this goal. Brazil, Canada, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia, and other countries are among the agreement’s signatories. Their territories are home to most of the world’s forests, covering more than 13 million square kilometers. Ukraine also signed the document.

    Last year, the UN saw the danger to the Carpathian region due to deforestation. Experts say that the biodiversity of the Carpathian virgin forests in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine is disappearing at an alarming rate.

    For example, Romania’s budget has cost more than 5 billion euros in deforestation over the past 20 years.

    An image of a globe depicting our planet, and the following text next to it: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In Partnership with Italy

     

    Quote from Glasgow leaders’ declaration on forests and land use:

    “We will strengthen our shared efforts to:

    Conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration;

    Facilitate trade and development policies, internationally and domestically, that promote sustainable development and sustainable commodity production and consumption, that work to countries’ mutual benefit, and that do not drive deforestation and land degradation;

    Reduce vulnerability, build resilience and enhance rural livelihoods, including through empowering communities, the development of profitable, sustainable agriculture, and recognition of the multiple values of forests, while recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, following relevant national legislation and international instruments, as appropriate;

    Implement and, if necessary, redesign agricultural policies and programs to incentivise sustainable agriculture, promote food security, and benefit the environment;

    Reaffirm international financial commitments and significantly increase finance and investment from a wide variety of public and private sources, while also improving its effectiveness and accessibility, to enable sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest management, forest conservation and restoration, and support for Indigenous Peoples and local communities;

    Facilitate the alignment of financial flows with international goals to reverse forest loss and degradation, while ensuring robust policies and systems are in place to accelerate the transition to an economy that is resilient and advances forest, sustainable land use, biodiversity, and climate goals.

    We urge all leaders to join forces in a sustainable land-use transition. This is essential to meeting the Paris Agreement goals, including reducing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2° C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C, noting that the science shows further  acceleration of efforts is needed if we are to collectively keep 1.5°C within reach. Together we can succeed in fighting climate change, delivering resilient and inclusive growth, and  halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation.”

     

    On November 2, the commitments of state leaders focused on real action to limit rising temperatures and support island nations and Africa to adapt to climate change.

    Results of the second COP26 day:

    Discussions on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement are productive, and some delegations hoped they would decide not to carry over unused greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

    The USA and the EU presented the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to reduce methane emissions by 30% compared to 2020. 105 countries signed the initiative. Unfortunately, major polluters such as China, India, and Russia have given up. 

    About 60% of the world’s methane emissions are caused by human activities, from gas production and transportation to livestock and landfills.

    The Declaration on Forest and Land Use was discussed on November 2. The initiative to preserve ecosystems was signed by 114 countries. International funding for this is promised at $12 billion and private funding at $ 7.2 billion. Managers of more than 30 global financial institutions are committed to stopping investment in deforestation.

    Thirty-five countries have signed a new Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda program to develop clean technologies and make them more accessible to developing countries in areas such as electricity, electricity, #hydrogen, metallurgy, and agriculture.

     

    More than 40 countries support the plan to quickly reduce the cost of “green” technologies at COP26

    Representatives of the world’s largest economies discussed a program for a global transition to green energy generation and the introduction of electric transport, The Guardian states.

    More than 40 countries worldwide have agreed to adopt standards and agree on investments to accelerate the “tipping point” when green technologies become cheaper and more affordable than fossil fuel alternatives. The plan was adopted at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, The Guardian reports.

    The United Kingdom, the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Australia have joined the program, among other states. The initiative’s first phase includes five goals – clean electricity, electric vehicles, green steel, hydrogen, and sustainable agriculture. By 2030, these industries should become accessible to all countries and create 20 million new jobs.

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    And, finally, let’s quote eco-activist Greta Thunberg statement about the second day of COP26: “Right now our so-called leaders are meeting in Glasgow at #COP26. They use greenwashing and fancy rhetoric to make it seem like they are taking real action and that they care. All this while people are literally dying as a consequence of their inaction. They are already seeming to give up on the 1,5°C target. But we can not let them get away with that.

    Time is running out. Change is not going to come from inside these conferences unless there is big public pressure from the outside. So everyone who can, please join the fight! Come to the climate strike this Friday (Kelvingrove Park 11 am), and the climate march this Saturday (Kelvingrove Park 11.30 am) to make your voice heard. Together we are strong.”

     

     

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    Still wondering why COP26 is so important? Read the activists’ reviews in the first and the second part.

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