COP26, marked as the summit that will hopefully become the crucial moment if we are to stand any chance of tackling climate change, has produced a number of key events, goals, and pledges in multiple areas. The key goals of the summit are to keep that 1.5C global temperature rise was achieving this goal means we keep 70% of global coral reefs, compared to a 2C raise where we lose it all. We also need all sectors to step up to the mark and do their bit for climate change, including the financial investments needed.
COP26, which is running for 12 days will have a lot of action and we've cut through the noise to bring you the key events from each day of COP26, held in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Day 1 of COP26 - Key events of the World Leader's Summit
- The first major deal of the UN climate summit in Glasgow has been agreed, of which 110 countries pledge to halt and reverse deforestation by the end of the decade (2030)
- Brazil, one of the signatories, where huge amounts of the Amazon rainforest have been destroyed is a key country as part of the deal
- India pledges net-zero by 2070 during COP26, their first major public announcement
- The Queen also urges world leaders to "achieve true statesmanship"
- Sir David Attenborough urges summit attendees to "rewrite our story"
- No new major commitments from China
Day 2 of COP26 - Key events of the World Leader's Summit
- The deforestation pledge has been welcomed that forests are at the top of the climate change agenda
- Jeff Bezos (entrepreneur and Amazon founder) pledges $2 billion for African land restoration
- $9 billion to be funded from the United States of America to conserve and restore forests through to 2030, which would account for around 200 million hectors
- Led by EU and the US, 103 countries (but not China, Russia, nor India) have signed up to a global methane pledge to tackle global methane emissions, where a lot of the emissions come from agriculture and livestock and is the second most gas emitted globally and is more potent greenhouse gas compared to CO2 where there is much more CO2 than methane in the atmosphere. The deal aims to cut emissions by 30% by 2030 and improve our air quality for all
- Leaders agree to turbo-charge green technology kicking off with European Commission's €1 billion fund for industrial innovation on climate change along with Bill Gates and European Investment Bank
- Clean technology boost also comes alongside an international plan for clean and affordable technology everywhere by 2030, backed by over 40 countries including the US, China, and India
- We were introduced to some of the finalists of the Earthshot prize award presented by The Royal Foundation, of which each winner receives a grant of £1 million
- Alongside the deals and pledges, there have also been protests around the UK and throughout the world mainly to stop funding fossil fuel projects
- Awaiting the Communities Secretary's decision on the UK's new coal mine in the North West of England, in Cumbria
- The developed world's 100 billion dollar financing pledge, Japan today at COP26 announces $10 billion towards the fund over the next 5 years
- Finally, the world leaders will begin to leave the conference and negotiators will now take over the rest of the details for each nation's climate pledges
Day 3 of COP26 - Key events focusing on Finance
- Today is finance day at the COP26 summit, following on from the World Leader's Summit on days 1 and 2
- Negotiators will now come into action as World Leaders leave COP26
- There will be pressure today from developing countries as they are angry that the promised $100 billion annual climate finance fund is yet to come to life (originally promised by 2020), now pushed back to 2023
- By 2023, under new Treasury rules, most big UK firms and financial institutions will be forced (although commitments will not mandatory) to show how they will hit climate change targets, to help the UK meet net-zero, using trillions of private finance. The chancellor announced that includes 450 firms controlling 40% of global financial assets (worth $130 trillion). We've already started collecting companies' green promises and goals on Climate vs Change
- Plastic pollution comes back into the forefront and debate, with the likes of the UK only recycling around 10%, with calls for a refill revolution
- Net-zero pledge by 2040 from the world of sport with 50% by 2030 of which includes International Olympic Committee, FIFA, BBC Sport, the Premier League, and Formula E
- Compare financial sector companies and what they are doing to fight climate change
Day 4 of COP26 - Key events focusing on Energy
- Day 4 big day for COP26, it's Energy Day with the focus on moving our energy sector and how to cut away from burning fossil fuels COP26 climate summit and to kick things off the UK announced that 40 countries have agreed to move away from burning coal. This is huge news from COP26, with major coal-using countries such as Poland (but only in 2040s), Vietnam, and Chile amongst those pledging to this commitment. Sadly, Australia, India, China, and the US, did not sign up to the pledge, which is a huge blow for the pledge
- Signatories agree to end all investment into new coal power generation both domestically and internationally (internationally being the absolutely critical part of the pledge as countries who haven't signed up won't gain coal investment from countries who have) and to phase out coal power by 2030s (in major developed economies) and by 2040s for the poorer nations. Both deadlines appear open-ended currently, with timeframes starting from 2030
- Wind energy accounted for 24% of the UK's total energy mix in 2020 and this type of power-generated electricity is up 715% from 2009 to 2020 in the UK
- China pledges to "phase down" coal use, but not before 2026 but in the short term, China relies heavily on coal
- The IEA (International Energy Agency) has announced if all pledges are met from COP26, global warming would be limited to 1.8C opposed to the predicated 2.7C increase
- Compare energy sector companies and what they are doing to fight climate change
Day 5 of COP26 - Key events focusing on Youth and Public Empowerment
- Thousands of protesters have marched and gathered around Glasgow today, to make their voices heard
- Greta Thunberg, the most famous climate activist called COP26 a "failure"
- The United Nations releases a study that found global carbon emissions are due to rise by 13.7% by 2030, which puts climate change action demand even higher on the agenda for all countries worldwide
Day 6 of COP26 - Key events focusing on Nature
- Again, more protesters and in their thousands, marched for a second consecutive day, with some reports of upwards of 100,000 people
- There were also protests around the world including London, Paris, and Sydney
- 45 countries pledge to switch to a sustainable farming approach by making agricultural a focus for innovation
- Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Co-op, Marks & Spencer promise to halve their environmental impact by 2030, including food waste and packaging
Day 7 of COP26
This is a rest day before the second week of negotiations begins. The first week at COP26 has been eventful and we welcome the second week at COP26.
Day 8 of COP26 - Key events focusing on Adaptation, Loss, and Damage
- Today (day 7) starts the second week at COP26 which is going to be action-packed, with the UK hoping for all 197 countries to agree on an over-arching deal to tackle climate change
- UK to pledge £290 million towards poorer nations to help cope with climate change, of which the wealthiest 1% of the global population account for more than double the combined emissions of the poorest 50%, which is a huge amount!
- Scotland, where COP26 is being hosted, announces a donation of £1 million towards the compensation fund in partnership with the Climate Justice Resilience Fund
- The Former US President Barack Obama arrives in Glasgow to attend COP26 which draws in a lot of media attention to the event, speaking at the summit saying we must act now before it's too late, champions young people and urges people to vote for change, name drops William Shakespeare quote, Tesla and Greta Thunberg in his speech and highlights the good Paris agreement, by giving the world a fighting chance and how he was unhappy with the re-drawl from his agreement by his successor
- Demonstrations around Glasgow during the first week of COP26 have been praised by a UK Police chief for being largely peaceful demos
- It's been discovered that there are 503 delegates with interests in the fossil fuel industry at COP26, more than any single country, more than Brazil with 479 and Turkey with 376 people
- As we keep hearing, we already know that The world is already at least 1.1C warmer than the pre-industrial era, so as Obama highlights in his powerful speech, we must act now
Day 9 of COP26 - Key events focusing on Gender, Science, and Innovation
- The UK announces £165 million towards climate change focusing on empowering women to tackle gender inequalities
- The UK government's chief scientific advisor says that climate change will kill more people than Covid, if we don't act now
- The Climate Action Tracker's new report indicates that the world is heading for a 2.4C warming despite COP26 pledges, contrary to IEA's report announced during COP26 day 4 and also claims that greenhouse gas emissions will be twice as high in 2030
Day 10 of COP26 - Key events focusing on Transport
- It's transport day and we are expected to see lots of announcements around aviation and hydrogen power today, day 10 of COP26
- As we're coming to the end of the COP26, the United Nations climate agency has published a draft of the political decision ("cover decision") that all countries will receive at the end of the summit of Friday (day 12) in order to strike a final deal on how they all will cut emissions to avoid that global temperature rises of 1.5C that we have been hearing over the past two weeks of COP
- The published document urges delegates to "strengthen" their emissions-cutting plans come next year (2022), set out long-term strategies, urges net-zero by mid-century, take action to limit global warming to 1.5C, phase out all coal and subsidies for fossil fuels, and help developing countries adapt to climate change
- The UK government has extended the ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans to now HGVs (Heavy goods vehicles), by 2040
- Dozens of countries promise to phase out petrol and diesel-powered cars, but big players such as US, China and disappointingly Germany, didn't sign up
- Many delegates are calling the draft document "strong" and "tough", however climate groups equally agree, such as WWF and Greenpeace
- Boris Johnson arrives back into Glasgow, but this time taking the train instead of flying, where he received backlash
- There was a shock announcement during day 10 of COP26, where China and the US agreed to boost climate co-operation over the next decade, working together pledging to act in a joint declaration. The two countries coming together in this rare joint declaration could be a positive step forward from the world's two biggest CO2 emitters
- A new report from UK government's sustainability consultant outlines that COP26 will be the most polluting climate summit to date, with on day 1 of COP26, over 50 private jets landed at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. This means that COP26 will is on track to double of the 2019 COP25 in Madrid, Spain
- During day 10 of COP26, we've seen the launch of Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), led by Denmark and Costa Rica where members will set dates when extraction or exploration of new oil and gas will stop. Countries currently signed up are Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Québec, Sweden, and Wales. Scotland are also considering joining whilst New Zealand, California and Italy have also signed up as supporters
- Compare automotive sector companies or aviation sector companies and what they are doing to fight Climate Change
- UK e-scooter trial within the UK is a perfect example of eco-friendly transport
Day 11 of COP26 - Key events focusing on Cities, Regions, and Built Environment
- Today is cities day and the last full day of COP26 before the official closing ceremony, where delegates are expected to keep pushing towards that final agreement where nearly 200 countries will be required to sign up
- Today we're expecting to see national, regional and city level leaders come together including the private sector, to discuss climate action
- Learn how 15-minute cites coupled with micromobility could be game-changer for urban life in our major cities and towns around the world to help achieve a net-zero future and fight climate change
Day 12 of COP26 - Key events of the COP26 Closure
- Day 12 (12th November 2021), marks the final scheduled day of the COP26 summit where this will be the closure of negotiations, which makes the conference and it's delegates, the last chance to make positive climate action, which could make this a long day ahead for some
- Negotiators have published a new draft agreement overnight and it covers;
- Science and urgency
- Adaptation finance
- Finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building for mitigation and adaptation
- Loss and damage
- The new draft weakens the language surrounding coal and fossil fuels, from the previous version from urging the phasing-out coal to now, requesting of phasing-out unabated coal, which is coal produced without the use of technology to capture the emitted carbon
- In a bizarre twist, some hundred delegates have walked out of COP26 join protesters outside on the street
Day 13 of COP26 - Key events of extra time at COP26 and overall summary
As predicted, COP26 did not end on the scheduled Friday (day 12) as negotiations could not come to an agreement. The world was tasked to come together for our planet and our people to finalise the Paris 2015 Agreement. Countries have come together to increase their ambitions to tackle climate change with real promising climate action pledges. With that said, the final deal at COP26 was the Glasgow Climate Pact, which it's aim is to keep a 1.5C rise in temperature within real reach.
The deal's most controversial point is regarding coal, where the language was changed last minute to state the use of unabated coal, which is another way of saying coal-burning is carried out in conjunction with carbon capture and storage technology, which ultimately means, countries are still using coal! It was said India and Chine bulldozed the intervention of the language change. The agreement does call for subsidies in fossil fuels to be phased out, but some argue that this isn't enough.
You can also find out who attending COP26 in Glasgow, listed by the most notable companies, charities, and Universities.
What's next after COP26?
By next year, countries will have to republish their climate action plans of which need to be more ambitious with real focuses on emissions reduction targets by 2030. These re-published plans are required by the next of 2022. This agreement however is not legally binding but does plan to set a global agenda on climate change for the next (most important) decade.
When is the next COP?
The next COP, COP27 will be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in 2022 who currently use huge amounts of fossil fuels and have no net zero pledges and COP28 held in United Arab Emirates in 2023, who use over 95% fossil fuels. Leading from COP26, it will be interesting to see if both upcoming hosts will clean up their act but as always we will cover both upcoming summits on Climate vs Change.