Good COP, Bad COP? The Key Takeaways From COP26

Are you also still getting to grips with the outcomes of COP26 and what they mean for the global climate movement? COP26 ended with a global agreement, the Glasgow Climate Pact, to accelerate climate action and also finally completed the Paris Rulebook.

We’ve organised some of the key takeaways from COP26 for you below. And if you’d rather listen to experts summarising the key points, make sure to head over to the recording of our LinkedIn Live where our experts Anna Alex (Founder & CCO, Planetly), Valerie Ludwig (Head of Climate Action, Planetly) and David Wortmann (Founder & MD, DWR Eco) summarise and comment on the outcomes.

🏭 Coal phase down

For the first time, COP’s final text mentions fossil fuels, stating that unabated coal power should be phased down and “inefficient subsidies” for all fossil fuels should be removed. Although weaker than ideal, with language being watered down from phased out to phase down at the last minute by India and China, the signal to phase out coal and fossil fuels is significant.

💨 Pledges to Cut Methane Emissions

Also mentioned for the first time: methane. More than 100 countries committed to cutting methane emissions by 30% by 2030. With methane being an especially potent greenhouse gas, a reduction in methane can have a significant emissions impact.

🌳 Ending Deforestation

More than 100 countries promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. The countries who signed the agreement, including Brazil, Russia and China, cover more than 85% of the world’s forests. The pledge includes almost $19.2 billion of public and private funds.

🎯 Wave of Net-Zero Targets

A variety of countries, including India, Mauritania, Israel, Vietnam, Rwanda, Lithuania, Montenegro, Nigeria and Ukraine made net-zero pledges at COP26. In total, nations responsible for more than 70% of global emissions have now set net-zero targets, either through law or policy or as a political pledge.

Net-zero pledges from countries

The Glasgow Climate Pact also points out that more nations should consider, formulate and publish updated new climate targets and contributions to the Paris Agreement for 2030. Those targets should be set by the time COP27 begins next year.

💰 New Climate Finance Pledges

A myriad of climate finance pledges have been made at COP26 - a step in the right direction. The Glasgow Climate Pact urges developed countries to deliver on existing financial goals ($100bn) and to at least double collective efforts of climate finance for adaptation by 2025 to support climate action in developing countries. The text also emphasises the need for transparency and reporting mechanisms.

🤝 Carbon Trading Rules

Another first: there are now international standards for carbon trading that will help create a robust, transparent and accountable global trading market. Those rules will help harmonise the currently fragmented landscape of voluntary and regulatory carbon markets and eliminate double counting for compliance markets.

An Urgent Call for Corporate Climate Action

With the Climate Pact urging nations to take accelerated climate action, companies can expect tougher national policies across all industries, especially in transport, energy and agriculture. Companies therefore have to bring emissions associated with their businesses in check.

U.N. High-level Climate Action Champion Nigel Topping puts it right in emphasising: “If you haven’t got a net-zero target now, you’re looking like you don’t care about the next generation, and you’re not paying attention to regulations coming down the pipe. Your credit rating is at risk, and your ability to attract and keep talent is at risk.”

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