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News 11 November 2021

Taking stock as COP26 draws to a close

As the end of COP26 draws closer, we continued to receive new announcements throughout Wednesday and Thursday focusing on Transport and Cities, Regions and the Built Environment.

Pledge to transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans by 2040

Early on Wednesday, a declaration was made to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans globally by 2040. As part of the pledge, several vehicle manufacturers committed to ensuring that sales of new cars and vans are 100% zero emission by 2035. Several major economies signed up to the deal including the UK and Canada, however the US and China were notably absent, as were major car producers Toyota and VW.

Our group head of transport, Tim Anderson, commented: “We are inspired and motivated by today’s COP26 declaration to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission cars, vans and in particular HGVs. This is a significant step towards the decarbonisation of transport for people and goods.

“Energy Saving Trust will work with our partners to drive the zero carbon transport agenda, including offering electric vehicle incentives and promoting new initiatives for active travel and we continue to support government across all areas of transport decarbonisation. There is significant work still to be done and we remain committed to working hard to facilitate a shift in behaviour, with accessibility and fairness for all being at the core of our mission.”

UK confirms all road vehicles will be zero emission by 2040

The UK reaffirmed its pledge to ensure all new road vehicles will be zero emission by 2040, including HGVs. The UK hopes to be the first country in the world to commit to phasing out new non-zero emission HGVs by 2035. We welcome the pledge to decarbonise UK transport and fully support the government’s ambitions to phase out the sale of all diesel and petrol vehicles.

Draft agreement from COP26 falls short of Paris targets

The first draft agreement was published at COP26 on Wednesday. The reaction generally was one of disappointment, as it emerged that the agreement largely encourages nations to reflect on their current commitments and consider how they can improve in a year’s time. The document acknowledges that to meet the 1.5°C global warming limit, we need meaningful and effective action this decade.

Mike Thornton, chief executive of Energy Saving Trust, said: “The first draft highlights a need for greater collaboration between nations to keep global temperature rises below 1.5°C. While good progress has been made, much more can and must be done. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of negotiations in the coming days.”

Youth activists urge UN to declare the climate crisis a global emergency

Youth activists petitioned the United Nations (UN) to declare the climate crisis a global level 3 emergency, the same level of urgency as the coronavirus pandemic. The UN has viewed a draft of the proposal and is alleged to be discussing the emergency level. Supporters of the petition hope that level 3 emergency status will result in resources and technical expertise being immediately targeted at the nations which require the most support.

China and US pledge to improve climate cooperation

Following Wednesday’s draft COP26 agreement, several notable figures including Alok Sharma and Boris Johnson called upon world leaders to consider their position within the climate talks, as COP26 draws to a close. Early on Thursday, in a surprise agreement, the US and China announced they would dedicate more time and resources to cut emissions and keep global temperatures below 1.5°C. Both countries have agreed to meet regularly to discuss progress and work together to lower emissions. This is a positive step, and we look forward to hearing how two of the world’s biggest carbon emitters plan to realise their intentions.

UK Urban Climate Action Programme to support global cities with climate action

The UK Government has pledged £27.5 million of funding to help cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America reduce their carbon emissions and increase sustainability projects. The programme hopes to support cities in developing countries to become carbon neutral by 2050. Low emission public transport systems, renewable energy generation, sustainable waste management, new climate-smart buildings codes and climate risk planning will be developed in cities such as Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur and Bogotá.

Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance launches

Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) was established by Costa Rica and Denmark to encourage the phase-out of gas and oil production. The coalition aims to encourage countries to take action, maintain an international dialogue, and ensure the Paris Agreement is met. Core members of the group are Sweden, France, Quebec, Greenland, Ireland and Wales. Associate members are California, New Zealand and Portugal. We hope that other UK nations will follow Wales in committing to this agreement, and pledge to phase out investment in all new oil and gas sites across the UK.

Last updated: 11 November 2021