4 November 2021
National Pledges and Collective Efforts Highlighted at COP 26 Leaders Summit
Photo Credit: Paul Starkey / Ashden Photographer name: Paul Starkey
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The Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26) heard from world leaders during a two-day, summit-level event.

Alongside the leaders’ statements, negotiations launched on finance, capacity building, Article 6, loss and damage, common time frames for NDCs, transparency, and adaptation, among other issues.

The Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP 26) heard from world leaders during a two-day, summit-level event. Meanwhile, new versions of draft text are under negotiation on several issues related to implementing the Paris Agreement. COP proceedings are expected to be more “normal” in the coming days, as world leaders depart and observers are better able to participate and observe negotiations.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin reported that a COP venue has rarely “felt so full and near-chaotic” as when the delegates and media arrived for the World Leaders Summit, which took place from 1-2 November 2021. Notable commitments and announcements during the Summit included:

  • India’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2070, along with reaching 50% renewable energy by 2030;
  • Spain’s contribution of USD 30 million to the Adaptation Fund in 2022, and commitment to increase its climate finance by 50% by 2025;
  • US’ long-term strategy for achieving net zero;
  • Republic of Korea’s increase of its emissions reduction target to 40% below 2018 levels by 2030;
  • Ecuador’s addition of 60,000 km² to its marine reserve around the Galápagos Islands;
  • Tanzania’s pledge to reduce economy-wide emissions between 30% and 35% relative to a business-as-usual scenario by 2030;
  • Denmark’s pledge of USD 1 billion by 2023, and 60% of the country’s climate aid focused on helping the most vulnerable nations adapt;
  • Japan’s contribution of up to USD 10 billion in additional climate finance in the next five years;
  • Norway’s pledge to double its climate finance to USD 1.6 billion by 2026, and funding for renewable energy and preserving forests in developing countries; and
  • Nigeria’s pledged to reach net zero by 2060.

In other statements, Txai Suruí, a young advocate from the Amazon, called for placing Indigenous Peoples at the center of COP 26 decisions. President of Korea Jae-in Moon proposed regular youth engagement in climate decision making.

President of France Emmanuel Macron cautioned that current pledges would take the world to 2.7°C of global warming. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said if commitments fall short by the end of this COP, countries must revisit their plans every year until 1.5°C is assured, fossil fuel subsidies end, carbon has a price, and coal is phased out. Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel also stressed the need for carbon pricing. His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, underscored that the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of prevention.

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley lamented the mitigation, finance, and adaptation finance gaps, and said a 2°C future is a “death sentence” for the people of vulnerable countries. Elizabeth Wathuti, Kenyan youth climate and environmental activist, reminded leaders that their decisions at COP 26 will determine whether children will have food and water. Prime Minister of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama said the existence of lowland and island countries is not negotiable.

As Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina called for a “climate emergency pact.” Surangel S. Whipps Jr., President of Palau, called for COP 26 to better integrate the ocean into UNFCCC processes, including in the Global Stocktake.

Other announcements focused on collective efforts, such as:

  • The Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use, in which 110 countries aim to end deforestation by 2030;
  • The Breakthrough Agenda, launched by the UK and endorsed by 42 States, to accelerate the development and deployment of clean technologies and sustainable solutions;
  • The Global Methane Pledge – which now has nearly 90 members – to collectively reduce methane emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030, which could avert 0.2 degrees of global warming;
  • The High Ambition Coalition announcing its resolve to deliver on mid-century net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goals, including by phasing out unabated coal-fired power plants and halting inefficient fossil fuel subsidies as soon as possible; and
  • International Just Energy Transition Partnership, in which France, Germany, UK, US, and EU aim to support South Africa’s efforts to decarbonize its economy.

Alongside the leaders’ statements, negotiations launched on finance (both the programme on long-term finance and a new post-2025 finance goal), capacity building, Article 6 (cooperative approaches), loss and damage, common time frames for nationally determined contributions (NDCs), transparency, and adaptation, among other issues. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of COP 26]

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