By Asitha Jayawardena
This is part two of what the UK Government’s Plan for COP26 in November 2021. Part one of this post covered an introduction to COP26.
This is also based on what Matt Toombs, Director of Partnerships and Engagement for the COP26 team in Cabinet Office, delivered in his keynote address at LSBU Sustainability and Climate Action Event Series on 22 June 2020. He outlined the Government’s plans and priorities for the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow on 1-12 November 2021.
Five focused areas
We have a focus on the five areas of transition to demonstrate what is possible and the world is making this transition as quickly as is possible. These areas are ones where interactions between governments and non-state actors are critical.
- Zero-emission vehicles
- Energy transition
The first is around adaptation.
This is an area under invested in and is increasingly critical as extreme weather hit communities and economies across the planet.
Throughout the presidency, we are committed to putting adaptation in power with mitigation and we will look into bold on the UN climate action summit last year. Their call for action would elevate and surface leadership in this area from countries, from cities, from civil society and business.
Looking to improve the access availability and quality of public and private finance for adaptation, we would work with donor countries and recipient countries to significantly boost disaster and response.
The second area is nature.
We all depend on natural resources for livelihoods and wellbeing, resources that are on the frontline and to fight against climate. Our presidency will work with nations, businesses and civil organisations just scale up nature-based solutions and help drive a just real transition.
We have increased public, private, political and financial support. We will be working with China who is hosting the biodiversity conference which is connected very closely with the climate conference next year to deliver mutually supportive action.
We have also looked at a deeper dialogue between agricultural producer and consumer countries. We are looking to reduce the impact of agriculture on nature, especially around deforestation and looking for ways to bold markets for sustainably grown produce.
The third area is finance.
We will be working to increase the quantity, the finance for low carbon resilience transition and improving access to finance in developing countries and strengthen the potential of finance.
There is an estimate of 7 trillion a year needed in global climate-resilient infrastructure and this is a huge task. I will need all parts of the system to work together on this. They will be working with the financial services sector, international financial institutions, MDBs and others, central banks, regulators, finance ministries – all of them to unlock rapid action at scale.
Again, we would be working with donor countries to secure more predictable commitments and increase financing in under-invested areas like adaptation and nature.
The fourth area is zero-emission vehicles.
The internal combustion engine has transformed the global economy but at great cost to climate and public health. The impacts on air quality, we have WHO estimating that it causes 2.5 million deaths a year.
Fortunately, the costs and performance of zero-emission vehicles, in particular electric vehicles, has undergone an absolute revolution. But now we need to support the step change needed in investment to drive the rapid transformation to zero-emission vehicles. And that needs certainty.
To achieve that we will be working as a presidency with countries, cities and states to bring forward the internal combustion engine phase-out dates. Alongside this, we will be looking to support industry leaders, work with groups of manufacturers, and those in business, fleet owners and innovators in setting out ambitious plans to support this transition away from internal combustion engines.
The fifth area is the energy transition.
To meet the goals of the Paris agreement, the global energy transition to clean power needs to progress four times faster than at present and that is a huge challenge.
The opportunity here is the cost of solar and wind is already cheaper than coal in the vast majority of countries. Our COP presidency brings together countries to element banks, investors and civil society to ensure that every country that is considering new coal plants can access a clean power investment and assistance alternative that is more attractive. A better alternative than investing in new coal.
We also want to work with countries that are already heavily invested in coal to provide the support and conditions for the transition away from coal that takes account of the significant social elements involved in this and providing the overall support needed to support those just transitions.
If we can work together, we can enable countries to make this transition at an earlier date. It is where developed countries need to show leadership to themselves to commit phase-out dates for coal which are earlier and faster and show what is possible.
COP26 in November 2021
The presidency that the UK holds at COP26 is a huge opportunity and a massive challenge in the face of the Covid19 pandemic.
Climate will not stop changing without significant action and we as a presidency need to respond to this. We need to recognise that we need to change the way we work. With great humility, we need to maintain our commitment to climate action.
We mount on the coronavirus pandemic to future generations to base our recovery on solid foundations, including the fairer, greener and more resilient global economy.
So as the incoming presidency, UK is going to take forward this by maintaining momentum across what is a longer period to this COP than ever been before another previous COP. Those are maintaining ambition described in climate change.
We do that by joining forces with countries but also with civil society and with companies with right away across the world to make fast progress as possible.
We do have to use this time between now and November 2021 to unite the world behind a green recovery that delivers for people and the planet.
Keynote address: What are the Government’s Plans for COP26?
Race To Zero Campaign https://unfccc.int/climate-action/race-to-zero-campaign