Here is the summary of the fourth day of the World Leaders Summit in Glasgow on November 4, 2021:
Eight days to go:
“Leaders sent a clear signal that COP26 must keep 1.5°C in reach,” concluded a Presidency Summary issued by the UK hosts late on Wednesday, offering Alok Sharma’s take on the last few days in Glasgow. Getting the target adopted was always going to be a big effort, but it’s now firmly on the agenda. Over 60 developing countries are calling for new plans in line with 1.5°C to be delivered in the next year or two as the climate crisis tightens its grip over their citizens and economies.
“If we only focus on 1.5°C, we are destroying consensus and many countries would demand a reopening of the negotiations,” China’s chief envoy Xie Zhenhua told the BBC. Behind the scenes, Beijing’s stance is looking a little out of step. The 50+ Small Island group and 48+ Least Developed Countries have backed calls from the High Ambition Coalition and Climate Vulnerable Forum “to communicate and update NDCs in 2022 to reflect their progression on highest ambition.”
India, fresh from issuing its own 2070 net-zero target that the WRI reckons could be close to 1.5°C compatible (with caveats), is likewise talking about keeping 1.5°C alive and ‘urging parties to raise ambition and align longer term strategies with 1.5°C’. The EU’s director of climate talks, Federica Fricano, seemed positive, tweeting that initial discussions recognised the IPCC report, science aligned 1.5°C, and 2030 ambition on a trajectory to 2050.
Not done yet:
It’s too early to know whether talks will ultimately succeed, with the 1CP.26 final decision text heavily reliant on rich nations coming up with a half-decent $100+ billion plan and deeper support on adaptation, loss and damage. Envoys are reticent to declare success too early. Talks on how governments can be more transparent on their emissions and policies (more here) are key, but apparently in poor shape.
Thursday’s pressers – full list here:
*1145 – Climate Action Network
*1320 – COP26 Presidency
**Paris Agreement Architect Laurence Tubiana will offer thoughts & take questions on progress at the talks later today over Zoom [time TBC] – if you want to register click here.
Countering fake news: COP26 “War Room” provides daily bulletins on climate disinformation during COP26. Sign up to get an update on anti-climate messaging, trends and tactics.
How much is 130 trillion?:
Wednesday’s finance announcements boasted vast sums of money being aligned with net-zero targets. However, the FT among others are calling out a huge number of claims that lacked credibility. For now, the $130 trillion are not actual funds committed, nor are they in line with net zero or the Paris Agreement. Current estimates of actual private climate finance were 340 billion USD last year – 1/380th of Mark Carney’s claim.
Why not 100 billion?:
Promises from UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Carney were unpopular with poorer nations. The idea that there is $130 trillion available for finance yet the promised $100 billion is impossible to deliver was – for many – tough to swallow.
Carney’s bad day:
In the morning, indigenous peoples protested against offsets while Greenpeace ambushed Carney at a carbon markets event, branding a new voluntary markets plan a “scam”, heckling him as he entered the venue. Al Gore labelled offsets as a “sub subprime carbon bubble of $22 trillion.” Later, Greta Thunberg criticized Carney on Twitter and NGOs voted him “Fossil of the Day,” citing “his scam of a Taskforce on voluntary carbon markets.”
Funding gap report: Billions of dollars are needed to help countries cope with adaptation needs in the next decade, a UN report will warn today. Adaptation is long neglected, poorly explained and often ignored, but it’s key as we blast through temperature targets. Watch the launch at 11.30 here.
Oil major BP has issued a plea for “inclusiveness” at future COPs, with its VP for strategy Giulia Chierchia suggesting at a WBCSD event this should be “especially for businesses in harder to abate sectors.” However, the idea that the oil and gas sector has not been part of these talks from the early 1990s is unfounded, with a 2017 report claiming they have “crippled” them at times. Also in the news, Shell’s CEO claims more oil is key to going green.
Kill the subs:
Big news later today on fossil fuel subsidies. G20 public subsidies amounted to at least $63 billion between 2018 and 2020, versus only $26 billion for renewables. This UK-EIB statement offers a clue of what’s coming. If the US stepped up it would be significant – it is one of the world’s biggest subsidizers of international fossil fuel projects and has driven the LNG market in key places, including Vietnam, Bangladesh, Central and Eastern Europe, and Mozambique. Will France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, the World Bank and ADB follow suit?
The end of coal?:
Overnight, nearly 200 countries and organisations agreed to end coal use, not build new stations and close existing ones. Poland signing up to this is considered a big move, as is Vietnam and Indonesia, which suggested it could target a 2040 date. The announcement is key because by far the biggest gap in ambition to get to 1.5°C is a rapid collapse in coal generation – i.e. for major economics to phase out coal power by 2030 and the rest of the world by 2040.
Japan quit coal:
On Thursday 4 Nov at 8.30 am, a pack of life-sized ‘Pikachus’ at COP26 called on the Japanese government to end coal burning at home and overseas coal finance.
The beginning of the end for gas and oil?:
Launching today is the first ever international commitment to end oil and gas financing. More than 20 countries and institutions will sign on – including notable capitals from Africa and Southeast Asia, which gives a strong indication of the trajectory for gas as a bridge fuel. This will be underscored by the Danish and Costa Rican effort to get countries to end fossil fuel exploration – and ultimately production – in their territories. A full list of leading players will be out on November 10.
Cleaning up shipping:
The international shipping sector has long fought against tougher carbon regulations – with the UN’s opaque shipping body the IMO accused of allowing big polluters carte blanche in creating regulations. However, the tides could be turning. More than 50 Climate Vulnerable Forum countries supported a global CO2 price on shipping in the Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration on Nov 2nd. This raises the chance of breaking through the impasse at the IMO, which meets after COP. No word yet from the government on whether the UK would support a global shipping carbon price.
Rallies for the climate:
Hundreds marched in Glasgow against corporate greenwashing yesterday. Pressure is only going to build – major student rallies are planned tomorrow around the world and hundreds of thousands are expected on UK streets on Saturday.
A new analysis will be landing tomorrow which will help tally up the impact of deals, calculate what they do for emissions and what signal they send to the so-called ‘real’ economy. More info in an update later today.