COP26 – day four: 23 countries are consigning coal to history, making new commitments to phase out coal power

    06 Nov 2021

    Let’s get acquainted with the summary of the main developments on the fourth day of the UN climate summit in Glasgow. Big thanks to The Guardian journalists.

    New research has found that about half the world’s fossil fuel assets could become worthless by 2036 under a net-zero transition. A drop in demand for oil and gas will reshape the geopolitical landscape, with countries that are slow to decarbonize likely to suffer, but early movers will profit.

    According to the International Energy Agency, country pledges at Cop26 could limit global temperature rise to 1.8° C. The figure is lower than the 2° C prediction made a day earlier. However, others have warned not to get complacent with estimates. The world remains on “a 2.7° C pathway, a catastrophic pathway,” said Selwin Hart, UN special adviser.

    In a historical step, 25 countries and public finance institutions committed to ending finance for overseas fossil fuel energy projects by 2022 and shifting to clean energy.

    This will help unlock $17.8bn a year for the clean energy transition and keep 1.5°C alive.



    Global carbon emissions are shooting back to the record level seen before the coronavirus pandemic, analysis has shown. Scientists said the finding is a “reality check” for the world’s nations gathered at the Cop26 climate summit.

    Countries have failed to adapt for unavoidable climate damage, the UN has said, even though extreme weather driven by climate breakdown is hitting the world “with a new ferocity.”

    Only 2% of the Great Barrier Reef has escaped coral bleaching since 1998, a study has found, dashing hopes that parts of the world’s most extensive coral reef system can recover.

    UK activist group, Insulate Britain, blocked Parliament Square in central London. The protest was an apparent response to critics who have accused them of targeting the wrong people. The group is calling on the government to commit to a program to insulate all Britain’s homes.



    Scotland’s largest train operator, ScotRail, has said upwards of 50,000 people are expected at a Saturday protest and warned travelers that its services in and out of Glasgow will be “extremely busy” this weekend. About 8,000 to 10,000 people would take part in Friday’s youth protests, it added.

    South Africa, France, Germany, the UK, and the USA  have formed an ambitious, long-term partnership to support South Africa’s just transition to clean energy.



    Also, we’ve found the NGO’s “list of fossils” of every day of the summit. It may sound funny from first sight, but Climate Network activists made the text below to highlight their severe concern about what’ going on.


    The list of fossil award winners is as long as the queues at the cop (ECO3, COP26, November 3, 2021)


    1st Fossil of the Day Award goes to Norway.

    Norway likes to play the climate champion, but new prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre is gaining a reputation as a fossil fuel cheerleader behind closed doors. The Labour leader, who’s only been in charge for a few weeks, has, apparently, boasted to media that “Norwegian gas is not the problem, but part of the solution for a successful transition to renewable energy,” especially if combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

    He positions the land of the midnight sun’s fossil fuel production as a solution for the billion people who don’t have access to electricity and has an interesting interpretation of the International Energy Agency and United Nations calls for an end to new fossil exploration. In Støreworld this only applies to large coal producers and not Norway.



    Before COP, his government was caught red-handed by the media lobbying the IPCC to declare CCS a fix for continued fossil production. Alongside calling for further oil and gas development, they’ve joined Russia in arguing against the EU Commission’s potential blacklisting of drilling in the Arctic.

    As if that wasn’t enough, not a single Norwegian climate target has ever been met; the petroleum industry is the largest source of domestic emissions, and exported emissions of Norway’s petroleum industry are around ten times higher than national emissions. Mind-boggling,

    Throwing sovereign wealth fund money (worth an eye-watering $1.4 trillion and built through petroleum exports) at climate finance initiatives is one thing but giving considerable bailouts to the petroleum industry during the COVID-19 pandemic on top of existing subsidies is just a step too far.



    The second Fossil of the Day Award goes to Japan

    Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the assembled Glasgow crowd that Japan promotes fossil power plants because they are necessary to integrate renewable energy, not only in Japan but also throughout Asia.

    Despite a coal phase-out being set as a priority goal for this COP, the land of the rising sun aims to continue using coal power plants beyond 2030 and even towards 2050. Furthermore, Kishida has had deluded dreams of using ammonia and hydrogen as “zero-emission thermal power.” He needs to wake up and understand that these novice and costly technologies are linked to fossil fuel extraction and would leave little chance of meeting the global 1.5C degrees targets. We need real world commitments to halt rising temperatures and a coal phase-out by 2030 and not fossil fuel nightmares.



    The third Fossil of the Day Award goes to Australia, again!

    And for a second day running, our antipodean cousins receive yet another fossil of the day award – they’re going to need a bigger trophy cabinet.

    So-called “Emissions Reductions Ringmaster” Angus Taylor came to COP only to be unmasked as a vaudevillian mastermind selling Australian fossil fuels and our future down the toilet.



    This morning he held a joint press conference in the Australian pavilion – with Santos, your friendly neighborhood gas company, to talk CCS with a majestic model of how they are going to bury emissions in their own backyard.

    Spending public money on a technology theme park that 20 years on is still unproven is taking a hell of a risk and delaying climate action. Can they make it a Fossil Award hatrick – find out tomorrow.


    Ray of the (yester)day for Scotland

    A hurRAY for Scotland, dear hosts of COP, and Monday’s response to the escalating loss and damage from irreversible climate impacts. It’s a miniscule amount in the grand scheme of things. Still, by putting £1m from their Climate Justice Fund to support “communities to repair and rebuild from climate-related events, such as flooding and wildfires,” they’re setting a precedent that the richer nations must follow. We need funding mechanisms that acknowledge the scale of the problem and a roadmap for delivery. Scotland will get extra points from us if they now do more to start meeting their relatively strong legal emissions targets and come out and declare their opposition to plans to drill for yet more oil in the Cambo field off the coast of Shetland, applying pressure on the UK Government to use their powers to block it.



    Ray of the Day – India

    After Monday’s 2070 emissions target announcement, India has redefined itself as a COP26 climate champion in a quick turnaround. This shock ‘ray of the day’ award comes after it made bold  *near-term commitments* to meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewables by 2030. And that’s not all, folks. A staggering reduction of one billion tons of CO2 emissions by 2030 and a carbon intensity reduction by 45% have also been announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These commitments will move India towards a low-carbon development pathway essential for a resilient future.

    The announcement by Modi at the World Leaders Summit adds to the positive momentum on mitigation ambition. Also, it demands developed countries to raise their targets based on equity and science and provide finance to the developing countries.

    Ray of Day is awarded to India for their bold and concrete for 2030, which encourages other countries to follow suit. Hope you are listening China!


    Dinosaur from UN rostrum urged to think about climate change

    The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on October 27 unveiled a video created to support the fight against climate change as part of the Don’t Choose Extinction campaign, in which a dinosaur addresses country delegations and staff.



    The prehistoric monster chose the rostrum of the UN General Assembly as a place for his speech, where world leaders have recently performed. “The time has come for people to stop making excuses and start implementing changes,” the dinosaur said to the delegates and staff of the world organization.



    In his speech, the dinosaur expressed the view that government subsidies for hydrocarbons are irrational and illogical in the context of climate change.

    “At least we had an asteroid,” the carnivorous critter warns, referring to the popular theory explaining dinosaurs’ extinction 70 million years ago. “What’s your excuse?” 

    This video appeared on the eve of the global climate conference in Glasgow and became the first film in the history of the United Nations using computer graphics.

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