Public Policy

November 11, 2021

Cutting through the COP – 11 November 2021

Contact

We have been providing regular updates on COP26 and will be circulating a summary next week after the conference has finished that analyses what it all means. For more information on how Instinctif Partners helps companies develop and communicate impactful climate and environment strategies, please email James.Nason@instinctif.com.

Good COP

NDC Partnership

The NDC Partnership, an alliance which focuses on raising the climate ambitions of developing nations, this week announced the Partnership in Action Fund. The $33million fund accelerates deployment of funding for technical expertise, capacity building and mobilisation of finance for developing countries to implement their climate change adaptation plans. US Climate Envoy John Kerry said that the Fund is “one of the most important initiatives of all”.

Bad COP

Automotive Manufacturers

On Transport Day, 24 countries and 11 car manufacturers signed the ‘Route Zero’ pledge which commits signatories to ensuring that all new cars and vans sold in 2040 will be zero-emission vehicles. While Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo signed the commitment, the world’s two largest car makers – Volkswagen and Toyota – as well as the Renault-Nissan alliance and Hyundai-Kia declined to sign, putting the 2040 target in doubt.

A draft agreement published. But what does it look like?

  • Yesterday, the first draft of the conference agreement, setting out how countries will cut emissions to avoid temperature rises of above 1.5C, was published.
  • The 7-page draft agreement focuses on adaptation – helping countries deal with the effects of climate change – and finance, which has been a controversial issue in the conference as some lower-income countries have criticised higher-income nations for not contributing enough.
  • The draft document urges countries to “revisit and strengthen” the targets for cutting emissions by 2030 in their national plans by the end of 2022, and to align them with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping temperature rises to 1.5C. The draft “reaffirms” the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to well below 2C and pursuing a target of 1.5C, but it does not commit to meeting the 1.5C threshold.
  • It also recognises that more finance is needed for developing countries beyond the long-promised $100bn a year by 2020, which will now not be delivered until at least 2022.
  • The document also calls on countries to accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels. The draft fails to mention the “Article 6″ of the Paris Agreement, which would establish the rules for a global market for buying and selling carbon.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed that there now needed to be a “determined push” to get the agreement over the line and called for nations to be more ambitious with credible implementation plans.
  • The current agreement is merely a draft and is subject to change.

What’s been agreed?

  • The UK has promised £27.5mn of funding to the Urban Climate Action Programme, which is intended to support Net Zero transitions in cities in the Global South. The cities, including Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur and Bogotá, will see investment in low emission public transport systems, renewable energy generation and waste management.
  • The US and China have issued a joint declaration on climate co-operation. The unexpected document, issued by US climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua, is intended to demonstrate some common ground between the two countries. The agreement contained little in the way of actual commitments, aside from China vowing to address methane emissions, but it is hoped that this represents a new relationship between the world’s two largest economies (and emitters).
  • The European Commission announced on Tuesday a new pledge of €100 million in finance for the Adaptation Fund during the high-level plenary session at COP26. This additional €100 million contribution from the EU budget is by far the biggest pledge for the Adaptation Fund made by donors at COP26.
  • An official delegation of the European Parliament has been meeting with key players in the climate negotiations, with the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism heralded by MEPs as an important tool that the EU should pursue in establishing.

Something important that you may have missed

  • The UK Government confirmed yesterday that the UK will become the first country in the world to commit to phasing out new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035. Under the plans, all new HGVs sold in the UK will have to be zero emission by 2040.

From the fringe

  • There were several built environment fringes this morning at COP26, where a range of companies sought to show how innovating around key foundation products like concrete, driving greater cross-disciplinary collaboration, treating each building as different and developing solutions for each, and making small but systematic changes could all add up to making a big difference. To illustrate the last point, Costain’s Climate Director outlined how a zero tolerance approach to vehicle idling on construction sites for one (big) London project had saved the carbon emissions of 20 jumbo jet flights from Beijing to New York. Still, the challenge is not to be underestimated: engineering company Atkins attributed 40% of global carbon emissions to buildings.
  • At the fringe event Technology and Data Are Key to Save the Environment discussed how data and tech are helping to combat climate change. One example is how technology is helping to decarbonise transport, with data being used to monitor EV use so that the energy networks can be managed more smartly.
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