Public Policy

July 19, 2021

COP26 Roadmap Briefing

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Welcome to the latest edition of our COP26 countdown newsletter. On 1-12 November this year, the UK and Italy will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). There is now under six months to go until the start of the Conference, and the UK Government remain committed to hosting a physical summit. Firms who made an application to host an event in the Green or Blue Conference Zones will have now been told about the success of their application.

However, there are other opportunities to make the most of the Summit. For details on how Instinctif can help you navigate and benefit from COP26, do take a look at our guides for the UK and the EU. For more information, please email James.Nason@instinctif.com. The below update is the combined effort of both the London and Brussels public policy offices.

UK Update:

UK Government releases COP26 programme:

  • The UK’s Presidency Programme for COP26 has finally been unveiled, revealing the two-week itinerary for the summit this November;
  • The two-week summit will start on the 31st October, beginning with the procedural opening of negotiations. A two-day world leaders summit will then take place on November 1st and 2nd;
  • From then on, each day will focus on a different theme. The list of themes are;
    • November 3rd – Finance
    • November 4th – Energy
    • November 5th – Youth and Public Empowerment
    • November 6th – Nature
    • November 8th – Adaption, Loss and Damage
    • November 9th – Gender/Science and Innovation
    • November 10th – Transport
    • November 11th – Cities, Regions and Built Environment
  • The Government has stated that exhibitions and events in the UK run zones in Glasgow will also feature throughout the programme to showcase progress from the whole of society, governments, businesses, amongst others;
  • The Presidency programme will run alongside the formal negotiations which sit at the heart of the UN summit and will focus on closing off the outstanding aspects of the Paris Agreement. Announcing the programme, COP26 President Alok Sharma said, “From finance to energy and gender to adaptation these are vital issues that need to be addressed to make COP26 inclusive and successful.”

COP26 questions take place in the House of Commons:

  • On Wednesday 14 July, MPs asked a number of questions to COP President Alok Sharma and his Ministerial team in the House of Commons.
  • Sharma told MPs that the Government is pressing all countries to announce mid-century net zero ambitions and that the UK is encouraging the adoption of aligned net-zero targets;
  • Shadow Climate Minister Matthew Pennycook said that the Government is “patently still not doing enough” to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C. He said that if the senior members of the Government don’t “raise their game quickly” the negotiations will fail. Sharma refuted this, saying that senior members of the Government are leading the way on COP26 and climate change challenges to ensure that COP26 in Glasgow is a success;
  • Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke asked what steps he (Sharma) plans to take to help ensure that all COP26 Parties uphold the commitments of that Conference. Responding, Sharma said that he would maintain close collaboration with partners to make the resulting commitments a reality. Following this Shelbrooke urged the President to put mechanisms in place to address issues that may disrupt the objectives. In response, Sharma said that countries were being asked to set out long-term strategies to demonstrate how they would turn ambition into action, and that steps were being taken to ensure transparency;
  • In response to a question from Conservative MP Suzanne Webb on how the Government plans to ensure that climate action supports the COVID-19 recovery, Energy Minister and UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency Anne-Marie Trevelyan gave an update on the status of the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, which she said will be released before COP26. The Minister also confirmed that the Government is planning to raise public awareness about COP26 though the ‘Together for our Planet campaign’.

Other news:

  • The Government this week published their Transport decarbonisation Plan. The Document outlines how the UK Government intends to support the transport sector to reach net zero by 2050. It contains pledges to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol HGVs by 2040, create a net zero rail network by 2050, ensure net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040 and transition to green shipping;
  • Last week, at a meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak encouraged international financial institutions to step up their efforts to align their activities with the Paris Agreement and called on the private sector and markets to play their part to support the transition to net zero;
  • During a session of the Treasury Committee on the Committee on COP26: climate change and finance, MPs heard from Mark Carney, the Prime Minister’s finance adviser at COP26, and UN special envoy for climate action and finance. During the session Carney warned that said that while it has been “left very late” to achieve the 1.5-degree Paris target, there is considerable momentum in the private financial sector to achieve the target;
  • Speaking at London Climate Action Week, Alok Sharma repeated his call for countries to commit to phase out coal power ahead of COP26. Sharma said that phase out dates for coal power should be set by the summit;
  • The Independent Green Jobs Taskforce has released a report stating that every job in the UK has the potential to become green. The taskforce has made a number of recommendations including using policy to promote good green jobs, skills and competitive supply chains and encouraging industry, the education sector and the UK government to work together to ensure green careers advice and pathways into good green jobs;
  • Unilever has become the latest multi-national firm to sign up as a principal sponsor of COP26;

EU Update:

EU agrees on a Green Deal:

  • The European Commission has adopted a package of proposals to make the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels;
  • The set of comprehensive and interconnected proposals include: application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System; increased use of renewable energy; greater energy efficiency; a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them; an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives; measures to prevent carbon leakage; and tools to preserve and grow our natural carbon sinks;
  • Under the proposal a new Social Climate Fund is to provide dedicated funding to Member States to help citizens finance investments in energy efficiency, new heating and cooling systems, and cleaner mobility;
  • India and other developing nations have already signalled they will oppose ‘unfair’ Carbon Border Tax plans at COP26;
  • Indian Environmental Minister, Prakash Javadekar, stated that “It is the most regressive proposal” with “no principle of equity adhered to”;
  • He added that developing nations “are paying, we are suffering from climate change which was caused by the reckless emissions for hundreds of years by the developed world”.

Guterres says success of climate change talks hinges on finance:

  • The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, speaking at the European Parliament has urged European countries to step their support and that “We can only ask for more ambition if we provide additional support”.
  • He stated that the success of international climate negotiations in November will depend on a breakthrough in financial contributions from rich countries;
  • He added that trust needed to be rebuilt between developed and developing countries, by making good on the promise and that “This is not a symbolic pledge, but a vital commitment”.

EU-Singapore to tackle climate and biodiversity issues:

  • The European Union and Singapore are exploring opportunities to collaborate on climate change and wildlife extinction. These potential partnerships include areas such as green finance, urban greening, and the research, development, and deployment of low-carbon options;
  • EU and Singapore in a joint statement said they “jointly underscored the importance of taking urgent action to combat climate change and preserve biodiversity for future generations”;
  • The statement added that “Singapore and the EU are committed to close cooperation in areas ranging from low-carbon energy technologies to carbon services and solutions“;
  • Mr Timmermans stated that he is in Singapore to discuss climate change and biodiversity in the run-up to COP26;
  • He added that “…we owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them decent living conditions on our planet. We must take decisive climate action and preserve biodiversity and the environment”.

Italy Update:

Pope Francis hopes to attend COP26 if his health allows:

  • The pope in a letter to Scotland’s Roman Catholic Bishops has confirmed he will attend COP26 if his health permits;
  • The pope strongly supports the goals of the 2015 UN Paris accord to reduce global warming.
  • The pope criticized former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 Paris accord to limit global warming;
  • The Vatican welcomed President Joe Biden’s return to the accord.

No time to waste, says Franco:

  • Italian Economic Minister Daniele Franco at the G20 summit in Venice, where climate change was high on the agenda, stated that “we need immediate and concrete actions”. He went on to state that “zero emissions, [sic] choices that can no longer be postponed”;
  • He underlined the need to accelerate green investment and to tax pollution;
  • He also raised awareness on the need for an ‘orderly transition’ in the environmental field to maintain financial stability and affirmed that “the common foundations on climate have been laid at the G20”.

Cingolani affirms Italy’s commitment to ecological transition:

  • Italian Minister for Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, at the event ‘Republic of Ideas 2021’ stated that “… we know where we need to improve. We are facing the biggest transformation carried out. [sic] from homo sapiens…The pillars are circular economy, energy transformation, development of green hydrogen. And environmental remediation”;
  • Touching on the issue of European leadership vis-à-vis transition, he stated that “China and the US as [sic] volumes move more, but from a social and cultural point of view Europe is already a leader. Fortunately, Biden has now re-launched attention to the green after Trump. If everyone does not follow our path, the 9% of global CO2 saved by Europe risks becoming a futile step”;
  • He also stressed on the need to “…to give confidence to those who come to invest in green projects” and “working conscientiously, […] make the green revolution go hand in hand with the protection of the landscape”.
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