COP26: Promises ‘ring hollow’ when fossil fuels still receive trillions in subsidies; UN chief calls on negotiators to pick up the pace

Antonio Guterres told delegates on Thursday that he was inspired by the mobilization of civil society, including young people, indigenous communities, women’s groups, cities and the private sector, highlighting that an all-hands approach to the climate action struggle is needed.

“We know what needs to be done. Keeping the 1.5 target within reach means reducing emissions globally by 45 percent by 2030. But the current set of nationally determined contributions – even if fully implemented – yet emissions will increase by 2030,” he reminded participants during a high-level event. Complete

He then cited the latest joint analysis by UN agencies on climate and environment, which shows that despite the latest promises and commitments made in COP26,E is on track for a catastrophic temperature rise above 2 °C.

“I welcome the recognition of this fact in yesterday’s US-China cooperation agreement – ​​an important step in the right direction. But the promise is hollowed out when the fossil fuel industry still receives trillions of subsidies, as measured by International Monetary Fund, Or when countries are still building coal plants or when carbon is still at no cost,” he emphasized.

Mr Guterres called on every country, city, company and financial institution to “fundamentally, credibly and verifiable” reduce its emissions and decarbonize its portfolio, starting now.

UNRIC/Miranda Alexander-Weber

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses delegates at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Taking stock of progress, and a new way to measure it

While the UN chief acknowledged that current efforts to tackle climate change are not enough, he highlighted the progress achieved during COP26 in Glasgow, including a commitment to prevent and reverse deforestation, several net-zero commitments from cities and other alliances and pledges. Moving out of coal and investing in clean energy around the world.

“We need promises to implement. We need commitments to be solid. We need functions to verify. We need to bridge the deep and genuine credibility gap,” he said, adding that as an engineer, he is aware that sustainable structures require a solid foundation.

Mr Guterres announced that he would establish a high-level expert group to propose clear standards for measuring and analyzing net zero commitments from non-state actors, which will submit a series of recommendations next year.

“We should be able to measure progress and adjust when we are off track… We should now zoom in on the quality and implementation of plans. On measuring and analysing. On reporting, transparency and accountability”, he called on the actors. To cooperate with the United Nations and to hold each other accountable.

“Only together can we keep 1.5 degrees within reach and the equitable and resilient world we need,” he concluded.

Dialogue update: ‘Not yet’

Meanwhile, COP26 President Alok Sharma gave an update on the interactions in the last 24 hours. He said that the discussion on the Global Target of Adaptation was concluded and he hoped that they would be adopted.

Mr Sharma acknowledged that progress is being made and acknowledged the spirit of cooperation and civility that has been displayed throughout the talks, but cautioned that “They are not there yet” on the most important issues.

“There is still a lot to be done, and with COP26 set to close at the end of tomorrow, time is running out,” he told reporters, assuring him that negotiators are “up their sleeves” to find a solution. It has been elusive for six years now.

“The talks on finance need to be accelerated and they need to be accelerated now,” he said.

The COP president also said, echoing Guterres’ words, that the world needs to rise to the challenge and raise ambition.

Demonstrators representing victims of the climate crisis, outside the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

United Nations News/Laura Quiñones

Demonstrators representing victims of the climate crisis, outside the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Time is running out for oil and gas: a new alliance is formed

In new positive developments earlier in the day, and in line with the call of the UN chief, 11 countries presented Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) at COP26.

Ireland, France, Denmark, and Costa Rica, as well as some sub-national governments, launched a coalition, the first of its kind, to set an end date for national oil and gas exploration and extraction. So far, similar announcements have been made only for coal mining.

boga The core members said during a press conference that they are committed to ending all new concessions, licensing and leasing rounds.

,It’s really about having the courage to come up with concrete action. We’re listening to the world outside these walls, and we know the science is clear that we really need to accelerate action and when we talk about how to do it, we’re talking about demanding action. And yes we know it’s important… but we can, let’s just leave the supply side there, Costa Rica’s Environment and Energy Minister Andrea Meza said during a press conference. Need to.

“Every dollar we invest in fossil fuel projects is one less dollar for renewable energy and for conserving nature…

Members of the Climate Action Network, which is made up of more than a thousand civil society organizations, welcomed the initiative, calling it “long overdue”.

“Why is this important? … It’s COP26, and for the first time, we have a draft of Glasgow cover decisions that include fossil fuels … The launch of BOGA means things are changing, that talks are about climate change.” and that the need to phase out all fossil fuels is no longer a taboo for many countries,” said Romain Ioaullen, Global Policy Campaign Manager for Oil Change International.

In his view, with all the countries that are negotiating COP26, and in particular countries in the global north that are still producing large amounts of oil and gas and have no plans to stop, only one The actual question was:

,where is your plan? Where do you plan to pursue science? We have known that fossil fuels have been the cause of climate change for decades,” Mr. Ioaulainen said.

Commitment of cities around the world

Claudia López, Mayor of Bogota, Colombia and member of the C40 Cities Group, arrived at COP26 to present the climate actions Bogota is already taking and to claim greater climate action and commitment from national governments and corporate companies.

video screenshot

Claudia López, Mayor of Bogota, Colombia and member of the C40 Cities Group, arrived at COP26 to present the climate actions Bogota is already taking and to claim greater climate action and commitment from national governments and corporate companies.

Cities and Municipalities of California New . are among the founders of boga alliance. Meanwhile, cities around the world – 1,049 to be precise – presented a commitment at the start of COP26 to halve their emissions by 2030 and become net-zero by 2050.

“In nearly 30 years of COP meetings, COP26 is the first meeting where local and city governments came together as a voice and led by example. This is the first time that we were able to show the pledge of 1049 cities that already have climate action and investment,” Claudia López, Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, told UN News.

In addition, Ms. Lopez, who also co-chairs C40 City Group, who drafted the pledge, Said cities and municipalities are coming together to show that commitment, and to ask national governments and private corporations to play their part, “to align their incentives and their investments with climate action plans with the demands of our citizens for real change”.

The last day of thematic days at COP26 was laser-focused on ‘Cities Sectors and the Built Environment’, which highlights that by 2050, 68 percent of the global population will be living in cities, a key to building a sustainable and resilient Will happen. urban future.

“Mayors are boots on land, boats on water, closest to people and we have to get results, no matter what your party affiliation, when storms and extreme weather events are coming, and they are more frequent. And when they come with more intensity, they cost more,” said Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, explaining how work in cities can drive national action.

By 2050, 1.6 billion people living in cities will be regularly exposed to extremely high temperatures and more than 800 million people living in cities around the world will be vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal flooding.

The COP26 hosts highlight that accelerating the transition to net zero emissions for the world’s cities will be critical to achieving the goal of keeping global warming closer to 1.5 degrees.

Sustainable cities are helping in the fight against climate change.


Sustainable cities are helping in the fight against climate change.

‘Building’ a better future

According to UN Habitat, cities consume 78 percent of the world’s energy and produce more than 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – but less than two percent of the Earth’s surface.

Today, Inger Andersen, the head of the United Nations Environment, participated in a COP26 panel to call for more energy efficient construction.

“We build new buildings every week the size of Paris and if this is how we hope to expand we need to think about how we can do it because of climate, biodiversity, livability, quality of life.” We need to build better”, he said.

According to Ms. Anderson, Buildings and construction are responsible for 37 percent of CO2 emissions Together with building materials such as cement, it accounts for 10 percent of global emissions.

He also pointed out that more than half of the buildings that will stand in 2060 are yet to be constructed.

“We don’t place enough emphasis on flexibility, a typical building built today will still be in use by 2070, and the climate impact it will need to withstand will be very different. Renovation can provide both high levels of efficiency and livability. is,” she explained.

According to UNEPOf course, only 19 countries have added and implemented energy efficiency building codes, and most future construction will take place in countries without these measures.

“For every dollar invested in an energy efficient building, we see 37 going to traditional buildings, which are energy inefficient. We need to move beyond these incremental changes because they are so slow, we need to see real sector changes. We need to build better,” he said, calling for more ambitions for governments if they want to deliver on the net-zero promise.

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