COP26 Climate Summit: Environmental ambitions and main conclusions of the first week

COP26 Blue Zone
Ekonomichna Pravda
,
Kyiv, Ukraine

COP26 Climate Summit: Environmental ambitions and main conclusions of the first week

A large-scale UN climate conference is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, attended by 30,000 participants from around the world. In particular, country leaders, members of the public and the media. There are many issues on the agenda, but the main thing is how to keep the planet's warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Climatic ambitions

Many countries have made ambitious statements. For example, India has set itself the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2070,  when CO2 emissions equal the amount of gas absorbed.

India is the world's fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, the United States and the European Union. Two-thirds of India's energy production depends on coal. Brazil has promised to achieve zero emissions by 2050 - ten years earlier than previously stated.

A dozen smaller countries have also committed to carbon neutrality, including: Mauritania (by 2030, subject to international support); Israel, Vietnam, Rwanda, Lithuania and Montenegro (until 2050); Nigeria (until 2060); and Ukraine (until 2060). Nigeria's statement is particularly important as oil and gas production is now a major part of its economy.

Overall, countries responsible for more than 70% of global emissions have now set zero emission targets in legislation or as a clear political commitment. At the same time, the latest UN report, which analyzes nationally determined contributions from countries, states that they will lead to an increase in global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 by about 13.7%. Such forecasts are forcing countries to act more actively.

Finances

At the Paris COP21 in 2015, it was agreed that developed countries should mobilize $ 100 billion annually by 2020 to combat climate change and adaptation policies for developing countries. It is now clear that the $ 100 billion goal will not be reached before 2023.

The UK has increased its liabilities to £ 11.6 billion over the next four years. The United States, Germany and Canada have also increased their commitments.

Climate financing, both public and private, is provided through loans, guarantees, export credits, bilateral financing and funding from donor governments through funds. For example, the Green Climate Fund, created specifically for this purpose, or more general, such as the Asian Development Fund or the World Bank.

More than 450 firms from 45 countries, joined by the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), can provide the more than $ 130 trillion in funding needed for carbon neutrality over the next three decades.

Coal

The abandonment of coal energy is crucial to maintaining global temperatures, as coal is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gases.

That's why more than 40 countries have pledged to abandon coal as part of the Powering Past Coal Alliance initiative. This is an international campaign aimed at phasing out such fossil fuels.

Countries have pledged to get rid of coal by 2030-2040, depending on the capacity of the economy. Ukraine has declared its readiness to abandon coal by 2035.

Methane

Methane heats the planet much faster than carbon dioxide. For the first 20 years after methane enters the atmosphere, it has a heating capacity 80 times greater than CO2.

This gas is responsible for 25% of global warming, and one of its largest sources is the oil and gas industry.

At the same time, due to the fact that methane decomposes much faster than carbon, the reduction of its emissions can best affect the planet's temperature in a relatively short period of time.

To this end, 105 countries responsible for 70% of methane emissions have signed the Global Methane Pledge by 30% by 2030.

This can reduce global warming by at least 0.2 ℃. The agreement was also signed by Ukraine, along with 11 of the 20 countries that are top methane emitters. The other major polluters, China, Russia and India, have not done so.

Forests

Forests were not forgotten at the summit. 134 countries, which cover 91% of the world's forests, including Ukraine, Brazil, the United States and Canada, have pledged to end deforestation by 2030.

The goals are planned to be achieved with the support of $ 19.2 billion in public and private funding. Deforestation is causing climate change as it depletes forests, which absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide.

In addition, 28 countries have pledged to exclude from world trade a number of foods such as palm oil, soybeans or cocoa. These industries lead to the destruction of forests for the cultivation of crops.

The countries have also promised to set up a fund of more than a billion pounds to protect the world's second largest rainforest in the Congo River basin.

Conclusions of the first week

In some places, environmental activists do not see progress in the 26th COP. For example, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg called the summit a "greenwashing festival", ie when loud statements about the importance of the environment do not lead to action, but rather serve as an image tool.

The paradox is that the 11 companies selected as the "main partners" of the COP26 climate summit in 2020 caused more greenhouse gas pollution in the world than was produced in the UK.

An analysis by The Ferret showed that these companies had a total carbon footprint of almost 350 million tons in 2020. These are SSE, ScottishPower, Sky, Sainsbury’s, Unilever, NatWest, National Grid, Microsoft, Hitachi, Reckitt and GlaxoSmithKline.


This story was originally published in Ukrainian in Ekonomichna Pravda on November 8, 2021. It was produced as part of the 2021 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.

By visiting EJN's site, you agree to the use of cookies, which are designed to improve your experience and are used for the purpose of analytics and personalization. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy

Related Stories