Takeaways for Industry Associations & Professional Bodies.
Our summary on the highlights and breakthroughs from COP26, especially for associations.
Catch up on our post-COP26 discussion and what the Glasgow Climate Pact means for you.
Participants included Peter Betts CB, CBE
Strategic Advisor at ECF, WTW, CCC, IRENA, Nathan Bennett from RenewableUK, Emma Piercy from Food and Drink Federation, Mike Spicer from PolicyDepartment Ltd and Sophie House CAFA's COP26 Policy lead.
Facilitated by Nik Gowing from Thinking the Unthinkable, our goal was to demystify the outcomes of talks and what this means for Associations. With collaboration and action being two of the major outcomes, Associations have a critical role to play to drive policy, ensure transparency, forge cross sector alliances and ensure future skills.
Latest News- 13 November 2021
Historic moment as COP26 agreement adopted
After days of difficult and lengthy negotiations, the COP26 agreement has finally been adopted. A day later than scheduled, the announcement brings to a close what is widely seen as the most crucial climate summit of our time.
The final text includes key language on ‘phasing down’ fossil fuels. This is less ambitious than an earlier draft which called for ‘phasing out’ but still an historic first to include in an agreement. Another notable inclusion is the request that nations should return in 2022 with more ambitious pledges for emissions cuts by 2030. But developing countries are unhappy that the text contains little on compensation from wealthy nations for loss and damage due to climate change.
While many experts and leaders welcomed the progress made with this agreement, they lamented the last-minute scaling back of ambitions on coal. Countries must now take the actions that they have promised, and in particular increase the flow of financial support to developing countries.
Commenting on the development, CEO of CAFA Alison Heppenstall said:
"While the last-gasp change on coal is disappointing we should recognise the progress that this deal represents. It wasn’t easy to reach and the text on fossil fuels, though watered down, is still significant. But the success of COP26 must be measured by the change it inspires in communities. Governments may need an extra year to strengthen their emissions targets but as associations, we know our time to act is now. In the UK alone, around 80% of people belong to a membership group. The positive influence we can bring to the race to zero is enormous. CAFA will support associations around the world play their full role as champions of climate action."
Key Developments 12 November 2021
Negotiations enter last stretch, pledge to end the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2040 and alliance launched to stop future oil and gas production
The new draft agreement drawn up on the last day of COP26 has watered down commitments to end the use of fossil fuels. A final deal will require the unanimous consent of nearly 200 countries that signed the Paris agreement.
A coalition of 24 countries and several leading car firms have agreed to end the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2040. Nations with large car industries such as the US, China, Japan and Germany remain absent from the deal.
Several countries joined the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, which launched on Thursday, promising to stop future oil and gas production within their borders. So far no significant oil producing nations, including the UK, have signed up.
COP26 Day 12 - 10 November 2021
New initiative launched to establish ‘green shipping’ corridors
Twenty countries have agreed to establish ‘green shipping corridors’, covering both ports and vessels along which ships can travel burning zero-emissions fuels. The signatories to the initiative, known as the Clydebank Declaration, commit themselves to develop technology, expertise and port infrastructure as part of a strategy to decarbonise the entire industry by 2050.
Shipping emits over a billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, accounting for 2.9% of all human-made emissions. Under a business-as-usual scenario, that figure could double by 2050. The aim of the declaration is to support the establishment of at least 6 green corridors by the middle of this decade, while aiming to scale activity up in the following years. Initial analysis has identified two promising candidates: the iron ore route from Australia to Japan, and container shipping from Asia to Europe. The latter is currently responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other route.
COP26 Day 12 - 12 November 2021
UK pledges £27.5m to support cities targeting net zero
The UK government has announced £27.5 million in funding over the next four years for a new Urban Climate Action programme (UCAP). The initiative will support cities and regions in developing countries to take climate action. It will help them implement climate action plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 and prepare low-carbon infrastructure projects to reduce emissions.
By 2050, 1.6 billion people living in cities will be regularly exposed to extremely high temperatures. Many of these will be vulnerable to sea level rises and coastal flooding. The world’s urban buildings are responsible for around 40% of global emissions and decarbonising the built environment is key in combating climate change. To date 1,000 cities and regions representing over a fifth of the global urban population have committed to reducing their emissions to net zero by 2050.
COP26 Day 12 - 12November 2021
$US1.2 trillion in real estate assets under management committed to halving emissions by 2030
The Race to Zero campaign announced a breakthrough in the real estate sector. US$1.2 trillion in real estate assets under management are now committed to halving emissions by 2030, along with 20% of architects and engineers. Over 100 SME construction companies across 10 countries have also joined the campaign. Race to Zero is a global alliance of non-state actors who are committed to halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest.
Race to Zero signatories to are required to publish their action plans for delivering against their commitment annually. The real estate asset management companies will need to bring their property portfolio to net zero carbon. This will help grow demand for low-emission buildings and construction material and drive emission reductions.
Latest News- 11 November 2021
US and China announce surprise agreement to work together on cutting emissions
The world’s two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide unveiled on Wednesday a joint declaration that would boost cooperation on emissions cuts that are needed in the next 10 years to stay within 1.5C.
The agreement calls for ‘concrete and pragmatic’ regulations in decarbonisation, reducing methane emissions and fighting deforestation. The two countries’ leaders are expected to hold a virtual meeting as early as next week.
The unexpected announcement that the US and China would work together to tackle climate change has been broadly welcomed by politicians and activists. But experts warned that concrete action must be taken to deliver on the promises.
Commenting on the development, CEO of CAFA Alison Heppenstall said:
‘A meaningful, global agreement at COP26 isn’t possible without the world’s biggest countries committing to change. So the US-China pact must be welcomed. Not just as a positive step in itself but because it could tip the balance for other nations. Actions are what matter but this augurs well for the last days of the conference.’