Public Policy

February 8, 2021

COP26 Roadmap Briefing

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On 1-12 November this year, the UK and Italy will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The COP26 summit, will bring together world leaders, the science community, businesses and stakeholders with the aim of moving forward towards the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It has been described by some, including recently appointed US Climate Envoy John Kerry, as the “last best chance” to make a meaningful difference to climate change.

The event is expected to be the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted, and the UK Government is keen to use the conference as a way to show leadership on the world stage. There are numerous ways that businesses can get involved with COP26, both on the road to the event and during the conference itself. Instinctif Partners has a COP26 specific service which will help firms make the most of this major event. 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.

In the run up to COP26, Instinctif will be providing a fortnightly update, providing an overview of the latest news, insights and policy related to the Climate Change conference.

UK Update:

One month left for COP26 expressions of interest:

  • Organisations and businesses have one month left to apply to get involved at the COP26 summit.
  • The COP26 Expression of Interest process for interested parties to put forward their proposals for events, creative installations, exhibition space during the event closes at 17:00 GMT on Friday 5 March 2021;
  • The Government is looking for individuals, artists, organisations and businesses to submit their expression of interest here.
  • Through the online portal, interested parties can register their interest in hosting events, securing exhibition space and apply to join the ‘Blue Zone’ and ‘Green Zone’ at the event later this year.
  • The ‘Blue Zone’ will be based at the SEC in Glasgow and will be the center of the summit. It will be where the main focus of the event, climate change negotiations with country leaders, will take place. The country pavilions will also be located here.
  • The ‘Green Zone’ will be located at the Glasgow Science Centre. This will be the main footfall area with a large exhibition centre. Plans are for this area to be open to public. The Green Zone will be the main area where organisations can display their work in tackling change and get messaging to a wider audience.
  • The Government has indicated that successful applicants will be informed as to the outcome of their proposal in May.

Government launches ‘Race to Zero Breakthroughs’:

  • COP26 President Alok Sharma MP has launched the UN Race to Zero emissions Breakthroughs. The campaign sets out how sectors that make up the global economy can achieve breakthroughs in achieving net zero by 2050. The document outlining the sector by sector Race to Zero Breakthroughs can be found here.
  • The document sets out a number of ambitious goals for a number of sectors, including:
  • Clean power: A fully decarbonized global electricity system in 2040;
  • Built environment: By 2050, 100% of projects (new and existing) are net zero carbon across the whole life cycle;
  • Finance: Fully net zero aligned portfolios by 2050;
  • Cement/ Concrete: Sector to be net zero by 2050;
  • Oil & Gas: Global O&G net zero by 2050;
  • Automotive: End of ICE passenger vehicles in leading markets by 2035 and heavy good vehicles by 2040
  • As part of the Race to Zero Breakthroughs, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Energy Minister and the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience launched the ‘Race to Resilience’ The campaign sets out to catalyse a step-change in global ambition for climate resilience in pursuit of a world where “we don’t just survive climate shocks and stresses but thrive in spite of them”.
  • Race to Resilience aims by 2030 to catalyse action by non-state actors that builds the resilience of 4 billion people from vulnerable groups and communities to climate risks. Through a number of initiatives, it will focus on helping frontline communities build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change through the following areas:
  • Urban: Transform urban slums into healthy, clean and safe cities;
  • Rural: Equip smallholder farmers to adapt and thrive;
  • Coastal: Protect homes and businesses against climate shocks

Other UK News:

  • The Government is preparing for the COP26 Summit to be a hybrid virtual/in person event. Despite reports that the summit could be delayed again due to COVID-19, the Government is exploring different scenarios for the summit in light of the changing global situation;
  • Reports suggest that the Government is considering new carbon taxes and charges. According to The Times, the Prime Minister has ordered every Government department to produce a “price” for carbon emissions across all areas of the economy as part of a drive to achieve his net-zero carbon pledge;
  • At a Webinar on climate change hosted by think tank Onward last week, Energy Minister Anne Marie Trevelyan MO stated that COP26 “will deliver ambitious action plans to deliver Net Zero by 2050”. The Minister also stated that the Treasury is looking at a potential Carbon Box and she reiterated that the Government’s upcoming Net Zero strategy will outline the hard steps the Government will take to achieve the Government’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution;
  • The Government has launched the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue. The initiative aims to bring together key countries exporting agricultural products and the countries consuming these products to discuss how to make this process greener and more sustainable.

EU Update:

  • Last week, EU Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans held a videoconference with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng. This meeting had the aim to lay ‘the foundations for a good partnership’ with China that will continue ahead of the COP26 U.N. climate talks in November with the aim to make China commit to cutting its emissions faster over the next decade and stop building new coal plants at home and abroad. Likewise, Chinese media reports that Han Zheng also wanted to boost “climate pragmatic cooperation” with their EU partners.
  • Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, has emphasised the need for Russian Cooperation in the COP26 meeting and the willingness of the EU to engage further with Russia on climate challenges. He stated that ‘only by seizing opportunities for a just and fair transition for all can we safeguard prosperity’.
  • The Portuguese Presidency has stressed during two meetings of the European Parliament Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee that Portugal will promote the EU as a leader in Climate Action and it is prioritising a green recovery and getting a deal on the EU Climate Law. In such meetings, MEPs stressed the importance of the upcoming UN climate change conference in Glasgow.
  • Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson has stressed that the European Union can be a powerful promotor of climate ambitions also because it can offer a model of a socially just Green Deal transition, which leaves no one behind. She also highlighted that 2021 will be a year of climate action thanks to the COP26 meeting and the actions of the G20 and G7 led by the UK and Italy.
  • France will not sign the EU-Mercosur agreement due to Brazil’s current environment and sanitary standards. French Minister Franck Riester stress that a step in the right direction would be Brazil changing its position at COP26. He also highlighted the for ‘a European technical and legal instrument to verify that each import does not have a negative impact on deforestation.’

Italy:

  • Italy will co-host the preparatory meeting for the COP 26th UN Climate Change Conference from 30 September to 2 October in Milan. This meeting will provide a select group of countries with an informal setting to discuss and exchange views on some key political aspects of the negotiations and offer political guidance for subsequent negotiations. It will also host in the same city the ‘Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition’ meeting. Later in the year, Italy will host the G20 Summit, expected to be held in Rome on October 30th and 31st 2021.
  • Italy will emphasise the importance, and the shared interest of Mediterranean countries, to guarantee the health of the sea as a factor of environmental and climatic equilibrium in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference and the G20 according to Italian Foreign Undersecretary Manlio Di Stefano. Di Stefano was participating in the Ministerial Conference of the Union for the Mediterranean on the Blue Economy and spoke about Italy’s role with other coastal countries in the Mediterranean.
  • The deadline for submitting applications for participation in the”All4Climate-Italy2021″ programme, the official calendar of events that will take place throughout Italy during the year with the aim of promoting 2021 as the year of Climate Ambition, has been extended to 15 June 2021. Initiatives to contribute to the two preparatory events of COP26 will be possible until then.
  • Beijing has expressed its support towards Italy’s decision to organising the agenda of the G20 meeting in October on the theme ‘People, Planet, Prosperity’. Chinese Ambassador Li Junhua to Italy stated that ‘China and Italy are both important members of the G20, close in supporting multilateralism and wanting to improve global governance’.  The International Energy Agency has also stated that it supports such agenda as it will push up the economic recovery from the pandemic and combine GDP growth, job creation and emission reduction and also offered to support Italy’s Presidency of the G20 to achieve the set aims.
  • Applications to attend the ‘Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition’ meeting in Milan, a preparatory event for the UN climate conference COP26, have opened. In this meeting, young people will be able to meet representatives of governments who will then participate in COP26 in Scotland.
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