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News 4 November 2021

Day four at COP26: a look back at what’s happened so far

Large UK firms and financial institutions must evidence plans to reduce carbon emissions

By 2023 all UK firms will be expected to evidence plans to show how they will reach net zero, with standards set by an expert panel. Commitment to the new standards will not be legally binding however, leaving space for businesses to adopt the measures of their own choosing. We hope that as more businesses commit to a low carbon future, this will increase accountability and encourage consistent measures across the UK.

450 financial institutions from 45 countries pledge to limit greenhouse gas emissions

Announcements continued on Wednesday morning, with hundreds of the world’s biggest banks and pension funds pledging assets worth $130 trillion dollars to fund green projects. The pledge does not however, prevent the financial institutions from investing in fossil fuels. Green finance is vital to achieve net zero, and this is a step in the right direction to lower carbon emissions from the world’s banks.

New research suggests limiting global temperatures below 2C could be within reach

On Wednesday, the University of Melbourne shared research which for the first time suggested that the world may be able to limit rising temperatures to below 2C. The trajectory relies on India meeting their new pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2070. The research suggests that if all pledges made so far at COP26 are met, global temperatures will likely rise to 1.9C above pre-industrial levels.

Then, on Thursday the International Energy Agency shared a new analysis that suggests 1.8C is within reach if all pledges made at COP26 are met. We hope that all pledges and commitments made at the summit will be pursued by world leaders, and that further commitments in the days to come will keep temperatures well below the 2C Paris agreement.

UK pledges to stop investing in overseas fossil fuel projects

Over 20 nations including the UK, US and Costa Rica signed up to a new pledge confirming they would no longer invest in overseas fossil fuel projects from 2022. The pledge did not however include any mandate to stop investing in fossil fuel projects in their home countries and included a caveat that projects which have already started would be allowed to go ahead. The pledge provides hope that an additional eight billion dollars will be available annually to invest in green energy projects.

Nations pledge to quit coal

We welcomed the news on Thursday that over 40 countries have committed to phase out coal power. Countries who heavily rely on coal power including Poland, Vietnam and Chile all signed up to the agreement. Major economies have committed to phase out reliance on coal by 2030, whilst poorer nations have committed to phase out by 2040. Many organisations also signed the pledge, including several large banks which have agreed to stop financing the coal industry.

Twelve major UK media organisations pledge to improve climate change storytelling

The UK companies have all agreed to share more information and to produce climate content of a higher quality. Signatories include BBC, Channel 4, ITV, and Sky. These channels collectively account for over 70% of the time UK audiences spend watching TV. We look forward to continuing our work with these media companies to contribute expert advice and guidance on how we can address the climate emergency.

Last updated: 4 November 2021