Public Policy

November 5, 2021

Cutting through the COP – 5 November 2021

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With the COP26 summit now underway, we will be providing regular updates on the Conference. 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

Ukraine’s energy minister, German Galuschenko

Ukraine have unveiled a number of climate commitments this week. They have announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030 and have targeted net zero by 2060. The headline news is the pledge to phase out the use of domestic coal in energy by 2035. Ukraine has Europe’s third biggest coal-fired fleet of power stations after Germany and Poland.

Bad COP

Indonesian Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar

The Indonesian Environment Minister raised eyebrows yesterday by stating on social media that “forcing Indonesia to zero deforestation in 2030 is clearly inappropriate and unfair“. Earlier this week, Indonesia had joined over 100 countries in signing a declaration committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. The latest statement from the Indonesian Government puts the country’s commitment in doubt.

What’s been agreed?

  • Yesterday was Energy Day, and delegates turned their focus to fossil fuels. A 190-strong coalition of countries and organisations agreed to both phase out coal power and end support for new coal power plants.
  • Over 40 countries signed up to end the use of coal in electricity generation, including coal-heavy countries such as Indonesia, South Korea, Poland, Vietnam, and Chile.
  • 28 new members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance were also announced, with Ukraine, Chile, Singapore, Mauritius, Azerbaijan, Slovenia and Estonia among the countries to join the coalition. The PPCA works to accelerate the global transition from coal to clean energy.
  • Elsewhere, the UK and USA have agreed to strengthen cooperation on accelerating the global transition to clean energy. UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met with US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to discuss the ‘Strategic Energy Dialogue’ and committed to leverage the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries to drive for more ambitious climate action at intergovernmental events.
  • The UK also pledged more than £55m in support to help Pakistan tackle climate change. Over five years, the UK will help Pakistan with climate resilience, making water use more sustainable and attracting climate finance investment.

Something important that you may have missed

  • Yesterday saw the announcement that more than half of the FTSE 100 have now signed up to the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign, committing to eliminate their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The businesses represent a total market value of over £1.2 trillion and combined annual turnover of £700 billion.
  • Members of the Race to Zero campaign includes 3,067 businesses, 733 cities, 31 regions, 173 of the biggest investors, and 622 higher education institutions along with some 120 national governments.
  • Finance Ministers have arrived in Glasgow for discussions on the use of Public and Private finance to aid decarbonisation. They are expected to announce a raft of finance pledges over the coming days.

Is 1.5 degrees on course?

  • The UK Government’s overall goal for COP26 is to keep the world to 1.5 degrees of warming, which scientists say will help the world avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The various announcements throughout the summit are designed to keep global carbon emissions down so that global warming is limited;
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday that the pledges made so far could keep the world’s temperature levels to within 1.8 degrees. The IEA said that the total commitments made so far could reduce global heating predictions from a rise of 2.7C set out before the talks, to 1.8 degrees.
  • The IEA said that the summit was a “big step forward” but warned that in order for COP26 to be success, the commitments need to be implemented in full by nation states.

On the fringe

  • At the Commercial Buildings: A real asset in addressing climate change? event, delegates discussed the importance of decarbonising commercial buildings and making buildings resilient to the physical impacts of climate change. While the carbon intensity of commercial buildings has lowered by 61% in recent years, more work is needed as the built environment is responsible for 40% of emissions. One point running through the event was there is a joint responsibility for investors and occupiers to tackle climate change through building emissions; and ultimately, failure to do so would destroy the asset value.
  • During the Women in Finance Climate Action Group session, representatives from Ceres, the Canadian Government and WWF discussed the need for gender to be included in climate plans and frameworks. It was claimed that currently there is little information available on the impact of climate change on women. The panel called for more work to be done on securing this data, in the hope that this will influence climate policy moving forward.

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