COP26 Highlights–End of Deforestation by 2030 Pledge, plus the End of Coal Pledge. Also, 45-Nation Sustainable Agriculture Pledge, and India Promises Net-Zero By 2070!
COP26 Highlights–End of Deforestation Pledge, End of Coal Pledge, 45-Nation Sustainable Agriculture Pledge, India Promises Net-Zero By 2070!
COP26 DECLARATION TO END TO DEFORESTATION
127 countries signed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use at COP26, and that’s a good thing. Pledging to “halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation” by 2030. That’s the good news. The bad news is the declaration was endorsed outside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and is therefore legally non-binding.
True. True. Countries from Canada to Russia to Brazil – China, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo all endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use. Together, the 127 countries support 85% of the world’s forests, an area of over 13 million square miles, an area which absorbs around one third of global CO2 released from burning fossil fuels each year.
The pledge is also backed by $12bn in public and $7.2bn in private funding, and the announcement was bolstered with a commitment by CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions with over $8.7 trillion of global assets – including Aviva, Schroders and Axa – committing to eliminate investment in activities linked to deforestation, too.
DEEPER DIVE: MongaBay, World Resources Institute, GlobalWitness
COP26 PLEDGE TO END COAL BY 2045-ISH?
Coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change. A recent analysis found that if the world is to meet its most ambitious climate goal of holding warming to under 3 degrees Fahrenheit, 89 per cent of coal, along with 58 per cent of oil and 59 per cent of gas reserves must stay in the ground.
Ending the use of coal, oil and gas isn’t on the official agenda at the meeting in Glasgow, UK, but it IS a key aim of campaigners and several countries, so it was a great surprise when more than 40 countries committed to shift away from coal, in pledges made at the COP26 climate summit. Major nation states by the mid-2030s and developing nations who signed on have until the mid-2040s.
Major coal-using countries including Poland, Vietnam and Chile are among those to make the commitment. Unfortunately, neither China nor the US signed on. However, the United States did pledge to end public financing for “unabated” fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022.
Said Dr. Nina Seega at the University of Cambridge, ““This is fantastic news. We know that the US is among the top five G20 countries for international public finance for fossil fuels. Their inclusion in the list is absolutely key.”
DEEPER DIVE: New Scientist, Cambridge Institute Sustainability, UNFCC
COP26 NATIONS AND BUSINESSES COMMIT TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND LAND USE BY 2030
45 governments pledge urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming. 95 high profile companies from a range of sectors commit to being ‘Nature Positive’, agreeing to work towards halting and reversing the decline of nature by 2030
Governments and businesses are joining farmers and local communities today at COP26, securing new agreements to protect nature and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture and land use practices by making them more attractive, accessible and affordable than unsustainable alternatives.
Twenty-six nations set out new commitments to change their agricultural policies to become more sustainable and less polluting, and to invest in the science needed for sustainable agriculture and for protecting food supplies against climate change, laid out in two ‘Action Agendas’. All continents were represented, with countries including India, Colombia, Vietnam, Germany, Ghana, and Australia.
Why does the UN’s Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture and Land Use matter to us? One word. Brazil. Apparently, Brazil’s plan to scale its ABC+ low carbon farming program to 72m hectares, saving 1 billion metric tons of emissions by 2030
Germany’s also plans to lower emissions from land use by 25m metric tons by 2030, and Britain aims to engage 75% of farmers in low carbon practices by 2030.
DEEPER DIVE: UNFCC, UKCOP26, Edie.net, Reuters
INDIA PROMISES NET-ZERO BY 2070
Just a day after India promised to be carbon neutral by 2070, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shocked Glasgow by changing that pledge to making India net ZERO on carbon emissions by 2070. Net zero emissions is defined as producing only as much greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide you are removing from the atmosphere.
Speaking at the world leaders’ summit at the UN conference in Glasgow, the Indian prime minister announced what he called the “Five Elixirs” for how India would decarbonize over the next few decades. Why does this matter to us? Because India, while still considered a developing country of more than 1.3 billion people, is the world’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide after the US and China.
Modi’s Five Elixirs include four short term commitments designed to get India to the fifth elixir of net-zero by 2070. They include
- promising to have 50% of India’s power generated by renewable energy by 2030;
- increasing its non-fossil energy capacity to 500GW by 2030
- reducing its projected carbon emissions by 1bn metric tons between now and 2030, and
- By 2030, committing India to a 45% reduction of its overall economy’s carbon intensity.
Carbon intensity is the amount of carbon by weight emitted per unit of energy consumed. A common measure of carbon intensity is weight of carbon per British thermal unit (BTU). It’s also the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions produced compared to gross domestic product (GDP).
Hey, India—we’re cautiously enthusiastic. But we’re watching you, too.
DEEPER DIVE: Wikipedia, The Guardian, BBC, The Print,