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November 05, 2021 5 min read

A meeting that brings world leaders together to make real commitments towards tackling climate change (COP26) is not far from concluding. Here are some highlights of the progress that's been made so far:

First week:

  • More than 40 countries have pledged to stop building new coal-fired power plants including Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, and Ukraine and phase out coal power in the 2030s for major economies and in the 2040s for the others. (Unfortunately, Australia, the worlds second-largest exporter of coal was not on this list).
  • 100 nations and parties have signed on to a global pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% of 2020 levels by 2030. Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas with over 80 times more warming power than CO2 over a 20 year period. This commitment was paired with an announcement from Biden about U.S. regulations from the EPA that pushes oil and gas companies to enhance the monitoring, detection and repair of methane leaks.
  • More than 100 leaders pledged to end deforestation by 2030. This commitment included Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which collectively accounts for 85% of the world's forests. $19 billion in public and private funding will be invested to protect and restore forests. 75 countries have pledge to provide $12 billion of public funding in the next four years to help developing countries.
  • India pledged that it will reach net-zero by 2070. This was paired with the new target of reaching 500GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030, and for 50% of energy to be provided by renewable sources by 2030 (they nearly reached 40% in June this year),.
  • More than 40 nations that represent 32% of global steel production (Australia, UK, EU, US, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Korea, Turkey, Japan, and India) have agreed to produce near-zero-emission steel the first choice in global markets by 2030.
  • South Africa has been given $8.5 billion from the US, UK, France and Germany to support their transition to clean energy, including creating alternative jobs for mining regions.
  • Panama has formed a coalition of carbon-negative countries with Bhutan and Suriname to spread awareness and knowledge on best practices for other countries to follow.
  • China plans to peak its emissions before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060.

Second Week:

  • For the first time ever loss and damage was included in the cover decision at COP26. This is a historic decision that recognises loss of life, livelihoods and ecosystems is already occurring, urging providers to improve finance and technical support. This includes implementing new measures such as early warning systems.
  • The worlds two largest emitters (China & The US) have announced a climate pact that will strengthen their cooperation on climate action and accelerate emission cuts this decade. As part of the deal, both sides promised to act in to keep Paris goals in check (well below 2 degrees and aiming for 1.5) within this decade. 

  • Glasgow is getting a 59 million euro fleet of new electric buses on the roads by March 2023.
  • Australia is directing $178 million of funding towards charging stations and electric vehicle infrastructure.
  • More than 100,000 people gathered in rainy Glasgow to march for climate action and justice.
  • 18 countries agreed to establish green shipping corridors, including both ports and vessels, which will be scaled to zero emission shipping. The US, Canada, Japan, UK, Australia and several EU members were included.
  • A group of countries, companies, and cities committed to phasing out fossil-fuel vehicles by 2040. Unfortunately the worlds two biggest car makers (Toyota and Volkswagen) didn't sign up! However, major signatories included Ford, General Motors, Mercedes, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and more!
  • Current policies and actions put the world on course for 2.7 degrees C, implemented national 2030 targets lead to 2.4, and when pledges are included we reach 2.1. In the most optimistic scenario warming could be held at 1.8.

  • 13 new countries signed up to the High Ambition Coalition which supports a deal to reduce emissions, there are over 100 countries supporting it. Canada and Italy were two of the newbies!

  • Germany, Spain and Netherlands have also signed the pledge to end fossil fuel finance by the end of 2022. They join 20 other countries and 5 development banks, including The US, Canada, UK, and Italy.
  • 12 donor governments in Europe and North America have pledged $413 million in new funding for Least Developed Countries Fund. See the breakdown here.
  • 45 governments have signed up to the UK-led nature pledge. They promise toe leverage of $4bn of new public sector investment into agriculture innovation. This means developing crops so they are more resilient and improving soil health.
  • The Uk have launched a $675m package to protect rainforest that equals the size of Croatia from deforestation!
  • Canada will allocated 20% of its climate finance ($5.3 billion Canadian) to nature-based solutions in developing countries over the next 5 years!
  • Seychelles has pledged to reduce emissions by 23% by 2030.
  • Russia has kept silent regarding coal, this could be because the country plans to increase production by 6% in 2021with a mine expansion planned in the Arctic. Yikes :(

Where does Australia stand?

Ahead of COP26 Australia announced its target of net-zero by 2050. We are still waiting on a concrete plan to significantly cut emissions this decade. Whilst we can see the Prime Minister is slowly changing his view, we couldn't help but feel disappointed to see the lack of commitment to global coal and methane pledges. Australia has been labelled as the 'climate laggard', in fact, the Morrison government's 'climate policy' was ranked last in an assessment of 60 countries released at COP26. Instead of supporting a phase-out of coal, the Morrison government is currently considering 116 fossil fuel projects that could produce 5% of global emissions. Yikes! 

Summary of the Climate Pact

Thanks to the COP26 negotiations and commitments, the ability to keep rising temperatures below 1.5 is still alive. However, according to Alok Sharma (the COP president), the plan is weak. He believes that whilst countries have signed up to the agreement, the real results will come from actions that support these commitments. To summarise, the Climate Pact includes:

  • Phasing down coal power
  • A COP decision to include Loss & Damage
  • A request to phase out inefficient fossil subsidies
  • & an agreement for countries to re-vist their 2030 NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) in 2022

There is still hope, however, we need the Australian government to come to the party. Keep using your voices, we can do this Australia!


How can you help?

Keep using your voices! Here are a few things you can easily do to show the Prime Minister you want him to move away from fossil fuels!

  1. Switch to your energy providers renewable plan (you'd be surprised so many offer them)
  2. Swap to a bank and superfund that doesn't invest in dirty energy.
  3. Choose to spend your money with companies that have the planet at the forefront of their decisions.
  4. Check out our other blogs for ways to reduce the amount of waste and toxins in your everyday life.
  5. Spread the word! Share this blog with as many people as you can, your voice is more powerful than you think!

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