On Thursday 4 November, over 40 countries committed to phase out coal power. Countries that 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, while poorer nations have committed to phase it out by 2040. Many organisations also signed the pledge, including several large banks which have agreed to stop financing the coal industry.
After two weeks of deliberations, today marks the end of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
We’ve been following the negotiations and commitments closely in anticipation that together, the nations will find a way to keep the 1.5°C Paris Agreement target within reach.
Here, we look at five commitments made at COP26 that cover the event’s four priorities – coal, cars, money and trees – with one extra thrown in for good measure.
Nations pledge to quit coal
Countries agree to transition to zero emission vehicles
Transport day at COP26 saw over 30 nations, 11 car manufacturers and tens of organisations sign a declaration committing to working together towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emissions by 2040. The pledge also includes a promise to support active travel and shared and public transport. The names of some big countries and companies were notably absent from the list of signatories, including the US, China, Toyota and Volkswagen.
Cash commitments to help nations adapt to climate change
Throughout the fortnight, countries made new commitments to increase finance to support developing countries cope with the impacts of climate change. New commitments from the UK, Spain, Japan, Australia and Luxembourg – among others – build on the plan to deliver $100 billion per year to developing countries. The UK pledged £290 million to help poorer nations, most of which will be used to invest in climate action, improve conservation and ensure low carbon development in Asian and Pacific nations.
World leaders promise to end deforestation by 2030
In the first major deal of the climate summit, more than 100 world leaders promised to end and reverse deforestation by the end of this decade. Underpinned by $19.2 billion in public and private funds, the pledge was signed by countries that cover around 85% of the world’s forests, including Canada, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and the UK. On the same day, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos committed £1.5 billion to restoring landscape and transforming food systems.
China and US in surprise pact to boost climate cooperation
Our final big announcement from COP26 came as somewhat of a surprise to most observers. Following the issue of a draft summit agreement on Wednesday 10 November, early the next day the world’s two biggest carbon emitters China and the US announced they would dedicate more time and resource to help cut emissions and keep global temperature increases below 1.5°C. China, however, refused to join a global agreement earlier during the summit to limit methane emissions by 30% by 2030, compared with 2020 levels. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases and responsible for around one third of current warming from human activities.
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