There is Hope for our Planet!

An early update on the progress being made at COP26- things are looking positive for our future

Day 3 of COP26 sees countries making unprecedented commitments to protect forests, accelerate green technology and reduce methane emissions with a historic methane pledge.

What is the Global Methane Pledge  

On the 02 November 2021, at the gathering of world leaders in Glasgow to discuss climate change, over 100 countries, representing 70% of the global economy and 40% of methane releases, have signed up to an initiative to reduce the emissions.

Led by the UK, the United States and the EU, the countries joining the pledge commit to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030 and moving towards using best available inventory methodologies to quantify methane emissions, with a particular focus on high emission sources.  The countries who have joined the Pledge spread to all regions of the world and include representatives from developed and developing nations.

This unprecedented global support, illustrates the growing momentum to swiftly reduce methane emissions, which is now widely regarded as the single most effective strategy to reduce global warming.

Protecting our Forests – Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use 

With just as much support as the methane pledge, we saw yesterday 114 leaders take a landmark step forward by committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. The pledge is backed by $12bn in public and $7.2bn in private funding. 

Countries from Canada to Russia to Brazil – China, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo all endorsed the proposal.

Together, they support 85% of the world’s forests, an area of over 13 million square miles which absorbs around one third of global CO2 released from burning fossil fuels each year. 

This announcement was bolstered with a commitment by CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions with over $8.7 trillion of global assets – including Aviva, Schroders and Axa – committing to eliminate investment in activities linked to deforestation.   

Accelerating Green Technology – Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda

 More than 35 world leaders have also backed and signed up to the new Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda – the aim being to make clean technologies the most affordable, accessible and attractive choice for all globally in the most polluting sectors by 2030, particularly supporting the developing world to access the innovation and tools needed for a just transition to net zero.

Work will focus on five key sectors – power, road transport, hydrogen, steel and agriculture – which together represent more than half of total global emissions and further demonstrates how countries are moving from commitments to tangible action.

Leaders signed up to the Glasgow Breakthroughs also committed to discussing global progress every year in each sector starting in 2022 – supported by annual reports led by the International Energy Agency in collaboration with International Renewable Energy Agency and UN High Level Champions – and annual discussions of Ministers across government convened around the Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerials. This ‘Global Checkpoint Process’ will seek to sustain and continually strengthen international cooperation across the agenda throughout this decade.

COP26 President, Alok Sharma said:

“Forests are one of our best defences against catastrophic climate change, and essential to keeping 1.5C alive. This historic commitment will help end the devastating effects of deforestation and support the developing countries and indigenous communities who are the guardians of so much of the world’s forests. 

“The Glasgow Breakthroughs will help move us towards a global tipping point, where the clean, green technologies we need to reach net zero and keep 1.5C alive are more affordable, accessible and attractive for all than the polluting practices we are leaving behind.

“Today’s launch of the Global Methane Pledge is also critical to keeping 1.5C alive. I am proud that COP has played host to a historic pledge which will play a vital role in limiting up to 0.2 degrees of warming across the next decade.”

In short

Two days into COP26, progress is already being made. Yesterday saw India, Thailand, Nepal, Nigeria and Vietnam make new net zero pledges which now means that 90% of the global economy is covered by net zero commitments. India’s announcement also included a suite of ambitious 2030 commitments, including 500GW non fossil fuel power capacity, 50% energy requirements from renewable sources and 45% reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy. We’ve heard new NDC announcements from: Argentina, Brazil, Guyana, India, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique and Thailand and new Long-Term Strategies announced or submitted by Jamaica, Kazakhstan and the USA.