COP26 Roadmap Briefing
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.
The event is expected to be the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted, and there are numerous opportunities for engagement both during the event and on the road to COP26. The formal deadline for applications to secure exhibition space at COP26 passed on Friday 5th March. If you have submitted an application we wish you good luck, responses are expected to be received in May. Outside of exhibiting, there are still lots of other opportunities for organisations to get involved in COP26. 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.
Chancellor announces projects to help UK reach net zero in 2021 Budget:
- Last Wednesday, 3rd March, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered the Government’s Budget, setting out its spending plans for the coming year;
- The Budget was light in policy announcements for the energy and environment sector. The headline announcement was the establishment of a UK Infrastructure Bank which the Government is hoping will help deliver net zero via investment in public and private projects. The Chancellor also announced its first sovereign green bond which will launch this summer with an initial issuance target of £15bn in 2021. This came alongside the confirmation of a green savings product that will be available to retail investors through the National Savings and Investments;
- As part of the budget, the Chancellor has also set his sights on making City of London a world leader in high quality voluntary carbon offsetting schemes, helping international efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The Carbon market working group will be chaired by Dame Clara Furse and draw upon the UK’s financial expertise and entrepreneurship.
- Further investment was also announced for a number of renewable energy projects:
- £375 million UK-wide ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ fund will invest in highly innovative companies such as those working in clean tech;
- £20 million to fund a UK-wide competition to develop floating offshore wind demonstrators
- £68 million to fund a UK-wide competition to deliver first-of-a-kind long-duration energy storage prototypes;
- £4 million UK-wide competition for the first phase of a biomass feedstocks programme, to help support the rural economy;
- £4.8 million for a hydrogen hub in Holyhead, Wales to pilot the creation of hydrogen using renewable energy and its use as a zero emission fuel for Heavy Goods Vehicles
- The Government is expected to announce detailed plans of how it plans to reach net zero in its upcoming Net Zero Strategy, which will be published in the summer. The document will detail how it plans to meet its climate change targets through the decarbonisation of heating, transport and industry.
House of Commons Public Accounts Committee says Government is falling short with its net zero strategy:
- The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published it’s ‘Achieving Net Zero’ Report this week which examines the Government’s plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050;
- The Committee states that the Government lacks a “coordinated plan with clear milestones” for hitting net zero. It says that departments across Government are not yet sufficiently considering the impact on net zero when taking forward projects and programmes;
- Furthermore, it states that the Government is not yet ensuring its activities to reduce UK emissions are not simply transferring emissions overseas. The Report also says that the Government have not yet engaged with the public in terms of setting out the substantial, behaviour and structural economic changes that achieving net zero will require;
- The Report makes a number of recommendations of the Government:
- Government should ensure that key sector decarbonisation strategies and it’s overarching net zero strategy are published by September 2021;
- BEIS should develop a clear set of metrics that provide a system-wide view of progress towards net zero;
- The Treasury should ensure its guidance will lead to departments adequately considering and reporting the impact of policy decisions on net zero;
- Government should, in the next 12 months, develop a public engagement strategy around decarbonisation that sets out how communications will be coordinated;
- A coherent National Fiscal and Policy Framework should be established to engage local authorities on their role in achieving net zero.
UK COP26 Envoy and Climate Change Committee Chair discuss the green recovery during Bright Blue Webinar:
- Dr John Murton, UK COP26 Envoy and Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee spoke last week about the challenges and opportunities posed by the UK Government’s green recovery plan;
- Dr Murton told attendees that the Government was concentrating on the three themes of energy transition, zero-emission vehicles and green finance for COP26. He stated that the low carbon economy will be able to “create a lot of jobs much more so than fossil fuel industries”;
- Lord Deben called on the Government to commit to urgency in addressing climate change. He said that the Government needs to move faster in delivering it’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Recovery which was published last year;
- The Climate Change Committee Chair also made clear that he believes that public perceptions of the challenge will be key in driving adoption of measures. He said that Government needs to make sure that its communications on climate change give people hope that Net Zero is deliverable or else “they’ll give up”.
- Research led by University of East Anglia and Stanford University has stated that the UK is second best in the world among major economies in terms of cutting carbon emissions. UK CO2 emissions declined by an average of 3.6 per cent a year during 2016-19 compared with an average fall of 0.8 per cent among high-income countries. Only Ukraine had a faster rate of decline;
- Speaking at the Powering Past Coal Alliance Global Summit last week, Sharma called on nations to end financing coal power and instead accelerate the transition to greener energy;
- Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s have been announced as the latest Principal Partner for COP26. The retailer has committed £1bn over 20 years to become net zero by 2040 and recently set science-based targets to reduce emissions across its business by 30% by 2030;
- The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry looking into the role of batteries and fuel cell technologies in decarbonising transport and their interaction with the wider energy system. The committee is inviting written contributions to its inquiry by Monday 29 March 2021;
- Think tank Policy Exchange has published a report on ‘Greening the financial system’. The report states the UK should leverage its unique opportunity to push through reforms that radically align the financial system with its net zero goals. Their recommendations include enhancing environment-related risk management, launching an international coalition to map all physical assets, applying lower capital charges for green infrastructure, and developing a roadmap for phasing-in higher capital charges for assets with higher environment-related risks;
- A study by the Cicero Centre for Climate Research has claimed that CO2 emissions must fall by the equivalent of a global lockdown roughly every two years over the next decade in order for the world to meet targets in the Paris agreement;
- The Investment Association has warned that investors will be placing “additional pressure” on companies to have in place clear and consistent data on climate-related risks over the coming 12 months.
The European Commission have presented a new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change:
- The EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change builds on the 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and aims to shift the focus from planning to implementation. This Adaption was originally announced in the European Commission’s communication on the European Green Deal in 2019;
- Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans stated that this “climate adaptation strategy equips [the EU] to speed up and deepen preparations […] to build a climate-resilient tomorrow”;
- This Adaptation will aim at improving knowledge of climate impacts and adaptation solutions; step up adaptation planning and climate risk assessments; accelerate adaptation action; and help to strengthen climate resilience globally;
- To improve climate adaptation knowledge, the EU will enhance and expand its Climate-ADAPTplatform by, inter alia, adding a dedicated health observatory to better track, analyse, and prevent climate change impacts on health;
- To enable systemic adaptation actions, the Commission “will continue to incorporate climate resilience considerations in all relevant policy fields.” The strategy identifies three cross-cutting priorities for adaptation strategies and plans: integrating adaptation into macro-fiscal policy; nature-based solutions for adaptation; and local adaptation action;
- The EU will also promote sub-national, national, and regional approaches to adaptation; step up global engagement and exchanges on adaptation, including through strengthening cooperation and dialogue on adaptation in trade agreements; and close the gap in international climate finance.
EU Environmental Leadership met with Alok Sharma, the President of the COP26 Climate conference, on the 26th of February:
- Alok Sharma met with Frans Timmermans, the EU’s Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, as well as EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson;
- The Commission is committed to working closely with the COP26 presidency and all its international partners to make it a turning point for climate action, energy transition and for nature;
- Frans Timmermans stated after meeting Sharma that “COP26 can become a tipping point for climate action”;
- Similarly, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson affirmed that by COP26, climate neutrality commitments from all countries, especially the G20, are needed. She further stressed that the EU has set itself an ambitious target of 55% GHG reduction by 2030 and is committed to undertaking work on the energy transition.
The EU has proposed to set up new 10 European Partnerships and invest nearly €10 billion for the green and digital transition:
- European Partnerships bring the European Commission and private and/or public partners together to address some of Europe’s most pressing challenges;
- The goal of this initiative is to speed up the transition towards a green, climate-neutral, and digital Europe, and to make European industry more resilient and competitive;
- The EU will provide nearly €10 billion of funding that the partners will match with at least an equivalent amount of investment. The ten Partnerships build on existing joint undertakings;
- This initiative aims to improve EU preparedness and response to infectious diseases, develop efficient low-carbon aircraft for clean aviation, support the use of renewable biological raw materials in energy production, ensure European leadership in digital technologies and infrastructures, and make rail transport more competitive.
The Energy Community has reaffirmed its political commitment for the adoption of 2030 energy and climate target, and it will push for the development of its National Energy and Climate Plans as well as update its determined national contributions ahead of COP26:
- The 6th Energy and Climate Committee brought together more than 100 participants, including national ministers and leaders from the energy and climate departments at the European Commission;
- The meeting launched a political dialogue with Contracting Parties on the Decarbonisation Roadmap for the Energy Community until 2030 and beyond, an initiative proposed by the European Commission;
- The Roadmap will complement ongoing national decarbonisation efforts in the Energy Community by focusing on setting a solid measurement, reporting and verification system and also a meaningful carbon pricing mechanism with dedicated legislation;
- In autumn 2021, the European Commission will present a study on extending EU energy and climate modelling capacity to the Contracting Parties. The study’s scope, timeline and purpose were extensively discussed among national experts and the European Commission during the meeting.
Spokesman for the European Commission affirms that cryptocurrencies must take into account the EU climate neutrality goals for the digital sector:
- The spokesmen stated that “green and digital transition must go together”;
- The Commission expects a commitment to climate neutrality by 2030 from data centres, including those for cryptocurrencies;
- Cryptocurrencies were ruled out as part of the assets that could be subject to the CO2 price adjustment mechanism at borders currently being studied by the European Commission.
Mario Draghi discusses COVID-19 and COP26 presidency with UK PM:
- In their first conversation by phone, the respective Prime Ministers of Italy and the UK, Mario Draghi and Boris Johnson, agreed on the need for the respective presidencies of the G20 and the G7 to be opportunities to help “rebuild better” the world in the context of post-pandemic recovery;
- Prime Ministers Draghi and Johnson agreed on the issues of the fight against climate change and also talked about the important role and the influence that the COP26 Summit will play in preserving and enforcing the Paris Agreement.
Minister Roberto Cingolani met digitally with the President of COP26, Alok Sharma MP, the British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, and the Spanish Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, to discuss the path towards COP26 for the three countries:
- Cingolani expressed his welcome of the Spanish commitment to combat climate change and opted for the European Green Deal as the key tool to “accelerate the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient and resource-efficient economies” and create green jobs;
- The Minister stressed several measures that are needed; among them: a strong reduction in energy demand, linked in particular to a drop in consumption in private mobility as well as in the civil sector; a radical change in the energy mix in favour of renewables, combined with a profound electrification of end uses and the production of hydrogen; an increase in absorption guaranteed by forest areas, through sustainable management, the restoration of degraded areas and reforestation; among others;
- Minister Ribera highlighted the importance of strengthening the planet’s social, natural and economic resilience with a view to the climate summit (COP26), at the that countries should reduce their emissions. The Minister stressed that countries should “put together” contributions that allow us to set something credible with respect to the path of reducing emissions in the medium and long term, because it would be “great” to end COP26 with a clear map of country roadmaps and achieve full decarbonization with concrete paths and guidelines for investors and society;
- British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, highlighted that COP26 is a “priority for British diplomacy worldwide” as well as being a key event to demonstrate the countries’ reduction commitments and to be able to make operational the Paris Agreement.
The Minister of Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, at his first public intervention, focused on the role that cities have to tackle climate change, stating that cities are a “laboratory for sustainable growth, energy transition and climate action”:
- Minister Cingolani was speaking at the last #Youth4ClimateLiveSeries webinar, one of the preparatory initiatives for Pre-COP26 to be held in Milan;
- Cingolani said he shared the demands of the younger generations to “face the existential threat of climate change“;
- He expressed that urban agglomerations have become a fundamental engine towards a more sustainable, resilient, prosperous, and climate-neutral future and that they represent an opportunity as they can “act as a stimulus for wealth and knowledge […] that guarantees a lower impact on the planet”;
Bianchi meets Giannini to discuss the important role of Italy in the achievement of the Sustainable Development 4.7 goal on Education for Sustainable Development:
- The Italian Minister of Education, Patrizio Bianchi, held this on the 4th of March, via videoconference, a meeting with the Deputy Director General for Education of Unesco, Stefania Giannini;
- The parties expressed that environmental education and responsible citizenship should also be included in civic education curricula. This commitment aims to allow young people and teachers to be more aware of the global nature of the problems linked to climate change;
- Collaboration between the Italian government and UNESCO has been strengthened since the beginning of the pandemic, and both parties agreed to further collaborations in future events promoted by UNESCO and for the initiatives by Italy towards COP26.
The Embassies of the United Kingdom and Italy to the Holy See, together with the Holy See, have announced that they will convene a meeting of religious leaders and scientists in Rome in autumn 2021 to build momentum for COP26:
- The meeting will take place after the preparatory COP26 events in Milan: the world Conference dedicated to young people “Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition” and the Pre-COP26 (28 September to 2 October 2021);
- The meeting aims to articulate a common duty to address climate change, encourage national governments to raise their ambition regarding their National Determined Contributions to reach the Paris Agreement goals, show how the faiths are leading the way by greening their own operations at central and local level and making new commitments, and encourage the faithful to take action to slow global temperature rises;
- This is one of the several events that the British and Italian Embassies, together with the Holy See, will do to prepare for COP26.