COP26 Roadmap Briefing
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.
Preparatory COP26 talks end with little progress
- Preparatory talks between nations ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November have ended in little progress. Delegates from hundreds of nations failed to reach agreement on a number of issues after three weeks of virtual talks.
- Reports suggest that technical glitches and multiple time zones scuppered attempts to find common ground on various issues, suggesting poor organisation by the UK Government may have been a contributing factor to the lack of success of the preparatory talks.
- Delegates failed to reach agreement on a number of technical questions, such as the role of carbon markets in tackling climate change.
- In terms of logistics, there were concerns from some nations that a lack of vaccination status may impact their ability to take part in the Glasgow conference. However, the UK Government has stated that it will ensure that all accredited delegates will be vaccinated ahead of the summit.
- The next steps on the road to COP26 will be a meeting of Ministers from over 40 countries in July, aiming to make progress.
The Committee on Climate Change has published its annual report
- The CCC this week published their 2021 Annual Report to Parliament. It assessed the UK Government’s progress to date on reducing emissions and adapting to climate change.
- In the report, the CCC say that the Government is delivering only a fifth of its pledges on climate change, and they state that promises have not been followed up by the required action.
- The Committee wants the Prime Minister to introduce a “Net Zero Test” to ensure that all Government policy, including planning decisions, is compatible with UK climate targets.
- The Chair of the Committee, Lord Deben, warned Government that if it wants to be a global leader on combating climate change at COP26, it needs to release its Net Zero Strategy and detail on how it plans to achieve net zero by 2025.
- A “ground-breaking” new international collaboration between academics, business, civil society and citizens has been announced by the UKCOP26 directorate. ‘Visions for a Net Zero Future’ will bring together academics, business, civil society and citizens to look at the innovations and approaches that could deliver a greener, carbon-neutral society.
- At the G7 summit at Cabris Bay, Cornwall, world leaders agreed to step up action on climate change and renewed a pledge to raise $100bn a year to help poor countries cut emissions. Nations also agreed to phase out coal burning unless it includes carbon capture technology.
- Climate groups have said, however, that the promise made in the summit’s final communique lacked detail and that developed nations should be more ambitious in their financial commitments.
- The Cabinet Office have announced that major Government contracts will require bidding firms to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions. Under the new measures, prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year will need to have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan.
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak has officially opened the UK Infrastructure Bank, designed to tackle climate change and levelling up through regional and local economic growth. The bank has an initial £12 billion in capital and the ability to issue £10 billion in Government guarantees. Sunak has said the bank will be tasked with delivering “world-class infrastructure” by investing in sectors such as renewable energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and transportation, and by offering loans to local authorities.
- The Department for Education hasconfirmed that it’s Sustainability and Climate Change Unit is currently working with the COP26 Organising Committee to determine ways of engaging and representing young people in the lead up to COP26.
- The Confederation of British Industry has warned that the corporate world is “way off track” in tackling the climate crisis. It also called on the Government to do more to support carbon emission reductions including publishing the heat and buildings strategy, unlocking UK investment and growth in green technologies and prioritising transport decarbonisation.
The EU failed to reached agreement at the G7 Summit in Cornwall
- The EU pushed for the G7 to address the risk of carbon leakage where industries move to other countries to escape higher emissions standards.
- Brussels, Berlin and Paris managed to get an acknowledgment from the other leaders, yet the EU pushed ahead alone with a plan to levy high-emissions imports.
- Japan and the U.S. said they recognised the problem, but were not yet ready to back a concrete solution.
- At the G7 Summit in Cornwall, countries only agreed on big picture actions. The summit’s 25-page final communiqué reiterated the commitment by G7 leaders to reaching net-zero emissions “no later than 2050” and to “halving our collective emissions over the two decades to 2030” on a 2010 baseline.
- No agreement on climate finance was reached either, with G7 governments failing on their longstanding pledge to deliver $100 billion per year to developing countries. This could be a major dealbreaker at COP26, as G7 leaders failed to back up credible progress on climate action with enough financial firepower.
- Italy, which hosts the G20 in October, will need to develop a clear strategy before COP26 in Glasgow in November.
Dombrovskis says the EU will ask for stronger multilateral cooperation
- The executive vice-president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, spoke at the plenary of the EU Parliament ahead of the G7 summit, saying that Europe would ask for stronger multilateral cooperation, especially on health, climate, economic revitalization and the promotion of democratic values.
- Dombrovskis added that climate and environmental actions are also a priority, and that the EU would make important commitments in view of COP26. He stressed the need to sign commitments in favour of zero emissions by 2050.
EU- US Summit eye ‘Green Technology Alliance’
- US President Joe Biden met President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council President Charles Michel for a summit tackling issues from trade to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The meeting showed their intent to lead by example in climate policy through becoming net zero economies no later than 2050.
- A joint EU-US summit statement outlined plans for a transatlantic alliance to develop green technologies, and points to sustainable finance as an area for closer transatlantic collaboration. Such a “Transatlantic Green Technology Alliance” would foster cooperation” on green technologies, including their market deployment.
- The statement noted that a “high-level EU-US Trade and Technology Council” will oversee cooperation on trade, with special working groups focusing on artificial intelligence, climate and green tech as well as other digital technologies.
- In the meeting both sides also committed to establish an EU-US High-level Climate Action Group aimed at closer cooperation on climate policy.
- One key aspect of bilateral cooperation will be to scale up technologies and policies that further accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity and to an overwhelmingly decarbonised power system in the 2030s.
- The meeting marked the return of EU-US collaboration on fighting climate change, after former President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement and rolled back environmental regulations.
EU Council endorses new climate adaptation strategy
- The European Council on June 10 approved the EU climate adaptation strategy that outlines a long-term vision for the EU to become a climate-resilient society that is fully adapted to the unavoidable impacts of climate change by 2050.
- The conclusions adopted on June 10 give political guidance to the Commission as regards to the implementation of the strategy supporting the focus on better gathering and sharing data to improve access to, and exchange of, knowledge on climate impacts and adaptation, including by enhancing the Climate-ADAPT platform.
- The Council highlighted the importance of the climate-water nexus and emphasises the important role of nature-based solutions in building climate-resilience, helping to maintain or enhance biodiversity, as well as protecting and restoring ecosystems.
- The Council also stressed the important role of building climate-resilience in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Strategy will be summitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) before COP26.
Pascal Canfin states that the Green Deal is the silent revolution transforming Europe’s economy
- Pascal Canfin MEP, the Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, in an Op-Ed at Euronews stated that 2021 opens a new chapter of the Green Deal with the translation of climate objectives into legislative proposals, saying this will completely change the ‘rules of the game’ and transform Europe’s economy.
- He stressed that COP26 must be a moment of convergence to forge a new social contract around the transition, and that concrete and credible changes are expected following the summit by citizens, in particular, the youth.
Draghi-Johnson see eye to eye on green policy
- Before the G7 work meeting began, Prime Minister Draghi and Johnson had a private meeting in to discuss environmental and foreign policy topics and stressed the importance of Italy and the UK working together as duty heads of the G20 and G7, as well as on the COP26 conference in November.
- The pair agreed on the need for a post-pandemic reconstruction based on a greener policy and the need to respect the global commitment to putting $100 billion a year into helping poorer countries to fight climate change.
- The two leaders also traded views on their countries’ experiences of COVID-19, and reiterated their joint commitment to a lasting ceasefire and democratic transition in Libya.
Di Maio affirms Italy’s commitment to the protection of the oceans
- Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, at the event ‘Oceans and Health’ in the Italian Embassy to the Holy See stated that “protecting seas and oceans is necessary and can no longer be postponed”, stressing that [Italy] is at the “forefront in the protection of global water resources and in the fight against climate change.”.
- He stressed that Italy’s commitment is even more determined during this year due to COP26.
- Recalling the message from Pope Francis “for the launch of the ‘UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration”, Di Maio stressed that “our seas and oceans – which cover two thirds of our planet – are overheated by climate change, intensively exploited by overfishing and suffocated by tons of plastic“.
Rotta affirms the need to stop the degradation of the ocean
- On World Oceans Day, Alessia Rotta, the President of Italy’s Parliamentary Environment Committee and the rapporteur for the Italian Parliament at COP26, stated that “a priority effort is needed to stop the degradation of the oceans.”.
- She also stated that conserving and protecting marine resources, learning to use them sustainably, will help us “save the planet, and that the future of the earth passes through the blue economy”.
- She stressed that COP 26 will be a fundamental chance to put on the table a “common project for the defence of the oceans”.
Unicef Italia launches campaign looking at COP26
- Unicef Italia in anticipation of PreCoop26 and Cop26 launched on World Environment Day a campaign entitled “CambiamoAria – United for a sustainable world” affirming its commitment towards environmental sustainability.
- The objective is to concretely encourage the participation of children, adolescents and young people in the processes concerning climate change and to promote the adoption of measures aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with a transversal focus on children, adolescents and young people.