Developments since COP26 - What has been accomplished in the past year?
Author: Nicole Stika | Published: November 3rd, 2022
As the fall focus shifts so does the annual global focus at COP27 on the impact of climate change.
Accountability is calling
From country to continent, key governments are being asked for their NDC’s – or Nationally Determined Contributions. Many COP26 pledges have targets to hit by 2030, just 8 years away.
From pledge to policy and beyond
Significant risk factors are climate finance, halting deforestation, reducing global methane emissions, the phasing out of coal and the elimination of our reliance on fossil fuels plus the advancement of zero emission vehicles. A delicate balance between responsible stewardship of our global forest and the continued commercial production of the six main forest-risk commodities.
Aspirational COP26 pledges made by key politicians are now policy in many countries.
The key success stories – from key countries
• Since COP26, the US Congress passed The Inflation Reduction Act, in August 2022, accelerating investment in clean technologies and the decarbonisation of the domestic economy. In April 2022, the Biden administration committed to reducing emissions by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
• The Norwegian government have recently presented a new paper to the Storting (the supreme legislature of Norway) which outlines ‘strengthened expectations’ on all 70 organisations which are state owned. The state has expressed that they will ‘more actively exercise’ ownership rule and, going forward, expect public owned organisations to set targets and implement measures to reduce GHG emissions in the short and long term and, when available, the state also expects such targets to be science based.
• In June 2022, Australia submitted a stronger NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) ahead of COP27 which brings their emission reduction target, from 26-28%, to 43% by 2030, below 2005 levels. The new target includes policies which aim to ramp up the expansion of battery storage and solar in order to accelerate decarbonisation across the entire Australian electricity grid.
• Whilst not increasing ambitions with regards to emission reduction targets, the UK has released further information which provides clarity and transparency on how the UK intends to meet the emission reduction targets already in place and which were set in 2020 ahead of COP26. This further information includes detail on how the UK will meet the 2030 target, an update on its territorial scope (including Jersey and Gibraltar) and further insight into how the UK’s climate target relates to the wider national goals and objectives.
• Although Egypt has not committed to unconditional emission reduction targets across the economy ahead of hosting COP27, in July 2022 the state outlined a new NDC target although this is reliant on international support and only places obligations on the electricity, transport, and oil & gas sectors. The three sectors account for ~42% of Egypt’s total GHG emissions.
The key success stories – on the significant risk factors
• A global definition of “Climate Finance” – to literally get ‘buy-in’ by affluent countries to support low to middle income countries. This initiative was enabled by The Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed at COP26.
• More than 100 world leaders, (85% of global forests) signed the Deforestation Pledge – halting and reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030. ‘Mandatory due diligence rules’ proposed by The EU Council for ‘forest-based’ products, making organisations operating there ensure their supply chains are ‘deforestation-free’.
• Over 100 countries (over 70% of the global economy), signed the Global Methane Pledge to reduce emissions by 30% of 2020 levels by 2030. Afterwards, the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway launched with its focus on oil and gas emissions. $59 million is now available to enable technological development and other resources.
• COP26 saw 23 countries make new commitments to the phase out/phase down of coal, boosting a 190 strong coalition. Coal Phase Out gains momentum.
• 21 countries and financial institutions committed to stop public financing of fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022. Large European banks cut financial support to fossil fuel companies by 27% in 2021, due to increased shareholder pressure.
• A declaration to work towards all sales of new vehicles being emission free by 2040 globally and by 2035 in leading markets was signed by 33 national governments and various car manufacturers. The European Parliament voted in June 2022 to “mandate that all new cars and van sales should be zero emissions from 2035”. California voted for a ban on new sales of vehicles which are not zero emission after 2035. Interim targets – 35% of all new sales in California to be emission free – are ongoing.
The key remaining challenges – the global landscape
First, foster global political unity on the environment outside of regional sensitivities to avoid stalling key agreements. At COP26, the US and China agreed on a joint working group to tackle climate change but this was suspended by China due to the US delegation visit to Taiwan in August 2022.
No updated and improved NDC figures from China. The current European crises means developments on Climate Finance may stall. European energy security is now acute, due the ongoing war in Ukraine and so vulnerability to coal increases this winter.
The key remaining challenges – on the significant risk factors
• Climate Finance - research by IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development) states current pledges made generate just $21.8bn annually
• Deforestation Pledge - more action in the private sector by financial institutions and producers of the “six main forest-risk commodities” (palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber and pulp and paper) is required.
• Coal Phase Out - the pace of change is critical. A Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air report says the timeline of current pledges is not fast enough to ‘avoid the worst of global warming.’
• Zero Emission Vehicles - some of the world’s biggest manufacturers are not yet convinced on the COP26 declaration - including Toyota, Volkswagen, Stellantis and Hyundai.
• Fossil Fuel Funding is disappointing. 2022 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) analysis and IEA (International Energy Agency) says last year, government support in 51 countries for fossil fuel development worldwide almost doubled.
• Climate Finance – as the incumbent COP President (until COP27), the UK offered £290 million to support the APAC region with the global warming impact¹
• A new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) will increase the global focus on climate risk disclosure and reporting ²
• UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa concisely concludes: “…I believe that at COP26, Parties built a bridge between good intentions and measurable actions to lower emissions, increase resilience and provide much-needed finance.” ³
From COP26 to COP27, from country to continent, and the climate as a whole
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