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RMF COP26 Comment - Week 1

The eyes of the world have rightly been on the UK this week as Glasgow hosts world leaders and sustainability experts for COP26.

So firstly what is COP26? COP stands for Conference of the Parties. The 2021 Glasgow meeting will be the 26th meeting, which is why it's called COP26. It will be attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty agreed in 1994.

So why should we care about COP26? This conference is of particular importance because it is the first ‘real test’ of the 2015 Paris Agreement where G20 Leaders committed to limiting the global rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. It is also the first conference since 2019 as 2020 was postponed due to COVID.

It is also of great significance as many pledges and commitments will be made globally to protect our planet, establish what legacy we leave in terms of climate change and to address some significant concerns such as the global reliance on fossil fuels.

So what commitments have been made so far? For simplicity we have split out the key commitments per day;

Day 1 - Monday 1st November

– Various welcomes and speeches given by key figures a particularly strong statement was given by Sir David Attenborough

Day 2 – Tuesday 2nd November

  • Glasgow Leaders declaration on forests and land use – commitments covering responsible land use, biodiversity and recognising the importance of forests.
  • Global Forest Finance pledge – Commitment to pledge $12bn for forest related finance from 2021-2025
  • Congo Basin joint donor statement – funds pledged to support and repair the Congo basin forest and support local community to half and reverse forest loss

Day 3 – Wednesday 3rd November

  • Over 40 leaders joined the Breakthrough Agenda, a 10-year plan to work together to create green jobs and growth globally, making clean technologies and solutions the most affordable, accessible and attractive option before 2030 – beginning with power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture.
  • Over 120 countries covering more than 90% of the world’s forests endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests & Land Use committing to work collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, backed by the biggest ever commitment of public funds for forest conservation and a global roadmap to make 75% of forest commodity supply chains  sustainable.
  • A Just Energy Transition Partnership was announced to support South Africa’s decarbonisation efforts; a powerful example of collaboration between an emerging economy and international partners.
  • The launch of the Global Methane Pledge saw over 100 countries committing collectively to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

Day 4 – Thursday 4th November

  • Global Coal to clean power transition statement – signed by 190 countries, America, China and Russia refused to sign
  • Mission innovation – a partnership between Breakthrough Energy and Bill Gates entered phase 2 which aims to support innovation to make cleaner energy accessible and cost effective to all.

As you can see from the above a great deal has been pledged to help tackle climate change. Our COP26 comment concludes with the statement that whilst these are impressive comments and if put into practice will significantly reduce global warming, we look forward to seeing them transition from nice words to positive actions.

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