What’s happened at COP26 so far

We’ve summarised the latest news so far from COP26. The latest updates can be found in our Daily Bulletin, and our insight and commentary in our weekly Energy Spectrum. Find out more here

PM addresses World Leaders at COP26 Summit Opening Ceremony

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, spoke at the COP26 World Leaders Summit Opening Ceremony on Monday 1 November, during which he highlighted the need for action to limit global warming. The PM said: “one by one and with ever greater speed and efficiency we can begin to close down those billions of hydrocarbon combustion chambers that you find currently in every corner of the planet. We can phase out the use of cars with hydrocarbon internal combustion engines – by 2035 – we can do that and we in the UK are ending new sales by 2030. We can end the use of coal-fired power stations – we can do it by 2040 in the developing world and 2030 in the richer nations. We can plant hundreds of millions of trees – a trillion – it’s not technologically difficult, and halt and reverse deforestation by 2030, not just because it is a spiritually uplifting and beautiful thing to do, but because that is the way to restore the balance of nature and to fix carbon in the air and as we look at the green industrial revolution that is now needed – around the world. We in the developed world must recognise the special responsibility to help everybody else to do it.”

UK launches Clean Green Initiative at COP26

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the launch of a new funding package at COP26 on Monday 1 November to support the rollout of sustainable infrastructure and revolutionary green technology in developing countries, helping to tackle climate change and boost economic growth. The initiative will see the UK will deliver over £3bn in climate financing for green growth in developing countries over the next five years, including £200mn for a new Climate Innovation Facility. Funding will also support the UK’s new Clean Green Initiative (CGI), which will help to scale up public and private investment in quality, sustainable infrastructure globally. The PM said: “I want to see the UK’s Green Industrial Revolution go global. The pace of change on clean technology and infrastructure is incredible, but no country should be left behind in the race to save our planet”.

G20 leaders adopt Rome Declaration to take action on Paris Agreement

G20 leaders have adopted the Rome Declaration, an agreement reaffirming their commitments to fully implement the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement. The declaration details G20 leaders’ ambitions to take action across mitigation, adaption and finance to limit global warming. The letter also stresses the importance of scaling up adaption finance to address the needs of developing countries, significantly reducing GHG emissions and phasing out fossil fuels. In his opening remarks at the G20 press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “If we don’t act right now, the Paris agreement will be looked at in the future not as the moment humanity opened its eyes to the problem, but the moment we flinched and turned away”.

COP26: $100bn Delivery Plan and Innovation Hub to upscale innovation

The UN Climate Change Conference has opened with calls for greater ambition to achieve progress on the climate change agenda, particularly increasing support for developing countries. The $100bn Delivery Plan was published on 25 October, mobilising finance to support developing countries implementing climate change solutions. A digital Global Innovation Hub has also been launched to boost the effectiveness and scale of sustainability innovation, aiming to support transitioning commitments and pledges into demand for climate and sustainability solutions.

COP President Alok Sharma warns “climate change did not take time off”

The cabinet office has published the transcript of COP26 President Alok Sharma’s opening speech at the COP26 summit in Glasgow from Sunday 31 October. Sharma spoke first spoke of the difficulties and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but noted that although COP26 had to be postponed by a year, “climate change did not take time off”. Referencing August’s IPCC report, he discussed global issues occurring due to the effects of a changing climate, including famines, floods and wildfires, describing this and the report as “sounding an alarm to the world, to step up on adaptation, to address loss and damage, and to act now to keep 1.5 alive”. COP President Sharma stated that he believed issues could be resolved, with opportunities for green growth, green jobs, and cheaper, cleaner power.

More updates on COP26

On Monday 1 November, UN Secretary-General António Guterres made a statement at COP26. Guterres said: “First, we must keep the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius alive. This requires greater ambition on mitigation and immediate concrete action to reduce global emissions by 45 per cent by 2030”. Additionally, on Monday 1 November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the COP25 Action and Solidarity Session in Glasgow, and on Tuesday 2 November, The Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street announced that over 100 leaders will commit on the same day to reverse and halt land degradation and deforestation by 2030, with £8.7bn in funds to be committed to protect and restore forests alongside £5.3bn of private investment. On Monday 1 November, the UK Atomic Energy Authority said that it would be running a series of events at COP26 to tell policymakers and other delegates about fusion energy and its place in the future energy mix.

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