What do we need to achieve at COP26?
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1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.
To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:
- accelerate the phase-out of coal
- curtail deforestation
- speed up the switch to electric vehicles
- encourage investment in renewables.
2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects.
At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:
- protect and restore ecosystems
- build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives
3. Mobilise finance
To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020.
International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.
4. Work together to deliver
We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together.
At COP26 we must:
- finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
- accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.
Secure global net zero and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.
READ COP26 EXPLAINED
The world is currently not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The targets announced in Paris would result in warming well above 3 degrees by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels.
If we continue as we are, temperatures will carry on rising, bringing even more catastrophic flooding, bush fires, extreme weather and destruction of species.
More needs to be done
We have made progress in recent months to bend the temperature curve closer to 2 degrees; but the science shows that much more must be done to keep 1.5 degrees in reach.
The world needs to halve emissions over the next decade and reach net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century if we are to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
Nationally Determined Contributions
As part of the Paris Agreement, every country agreed to communicate or update their emissions reduction targets – their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) – every five years to reflect their highest possible ambition and a progression over time.
These targets set out how far countries plan to reduce emissions across their entire economy and/or in specific sectors.
2020 marked the end of the first of these five year cycles. This means that countries are expected to update their 2030 targets before we meet in Glasgow.
- We are calling on all countries to update their NDCs so that they are in line with holding temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
It is especially important that developed countries and the largest emitters take the lead.
We need to act now
While targets are important, they must translate into action, and fast.
To do this, the UK COP Presidency is working with countries and partners to:
Urgently adapt to protect communities and natural habitats.
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People across the world are already living with devastating extreme weather heightened by the changing climate.
Even as we work tirelessly to reduce emissions, further change is inevitable.
Supporting those most vulnerable to climate change
We know that the most vulnerable are at the greatest risk from climate change, and that they have done the least to cause it.
Action to address this and build resilience is needed now, before more people lose their lives or livelihoods.
The international community must unite and support people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of the changing climate.
Action on adaptation
We need more action to avert, minimise and address the loss and damage that is already occurring from climate change.
- Plans and more finance need to be put in place to improve early warning systems, flood defences, and build resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid further loss of life, livelihoods and natural habitats.
- Protecting and restoring habitats is a powerful way to boost resilience to the impacts of the changing climate. They help to build natural storm and flood defences, whilst flourishing ecosystems contribute to sustainable farming and support billions of lives worldwide.
- All countries should produce an ‘Adaptation Communication’, which is a summary of what they are doing and planning to do to adapt to the impacts of the changing climate, challenges they face and where they need help. These plans will help us learn together and share best practice between countries.
The UK has co-developed the Adaptation Action Coalition, in partnership with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, the Netherlands, Saint Lucia and the United Nations Development Programme. The coalition is bringing countries together to find solutions to some of the most challenging impacts of climate change, and we are inviting all countries to join us.
READ COP26 EXPLAINED
To achieve our climate goals, every company, every financial firm, every bank, insurer and investor will need to change.
Countries need to manage the increasing impacts of climate change on their citizens’ lives and they need the funding to do it.
The scale and speed of the changes we need to make will require all forms of finance:
- Public finance for the development of infrastructure we need to transition to a greener and more climate-resilient economy.
- Private finance to fund technology and innovation, and to help turn the billions of public money into trillions of total climate investment.
Support for developing countries
Developing countries in particular need support. Developed countries must deliver on their promise to raise at least $100 billion every year in climate finance to support developing countries.
The OECD estimates that $78.9bn of climate finance was mobilised in 2018. This must include building new markets for adaptation and mitigation and improving the quantity, quality and access to finance to support communities around the world to take action on the changing climate.
The UK is doubling our International Climate Finance commitment to help developing nations with £11.6 billion over the next five years up to 2025/2026. We want as many countries as possible to follow our lead and increase their commitment through to 2025.
Unleashing the trillions in private finance
Ahead of COP26, we must work to unleash the trillions in private finance that are needed to power us towards net zero by the middle of the century.
To do this, every financial decision needs to take climate into account:
- This includes all private investment decisions, but also all spending decisions that countries and international financial institutions are making as they roll out stimulus packages to rebuild economies from the pandemic.
- Companies need to be transparent about the risks and opportunities that climate change, and the shift to a net zero economy pose to their business.
- Central banks and regulators need to make sure that our financial systems can withstand the impacts of climate change and support the transition to net zero.
- Banks, insurers, investors and other financial firms need to commit to ensuring their investments and lending is aligned with net zero.
COP26 Finance Approach
Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance
At the Climate and Development Ministerial, convened by the UK COP26 Presidency on 31 March 2021, participants recognised the urgent need to streamline access to climate finance, with greater individual and collective action required both before and following COP26.
The Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance was announced in response to calls for coherent and effective support for developing countries’ efforts to decarbonise their economies, adapt to climate change and establish green growth pathways.
As the initial co-chairs, the UK and Fiji have committed to working with partners to launch the Taskforce, including Bhutan, Belize, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, Germany, Sweden, USA, the GCF and the World Bank as members of the Steering Committee.
In the interests of inclusivity and transparency, please see key Taskforce documents below:
Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance: Call for Nominations for pioneer countries
One of the key deliverables of the first phase of the Taskforce is to develop and trial a new approach to climate finance in five pioneer countries.
The aim is threefold:
- to test new methods for accessing climate finance
- to deliver programmatic support for countries’ own national climate action and development plans
- to build an evidence base of what works
We are therefore seeking initial nominations of potential pioneer countries. Only climate vulnerable and developing countries will be considered for the trials. However, any country or institution can submit a nomination. Self-nominations are permitted.
The process and criteria by which pioneer countries will be selected is set out in the Criteria for Pioneer Country Selection.
Nominations and any questions should be submitted to Cfaccesstaskforce@fcdo.gov.uk by 7th October 2021 and contain a brief rationale on the proposed country’s suitability against the selection criteria (no more than 250 words in total).
More substantive discussions with prospective pioneer countries will follow the Taskforce Steering Committee’s consideration of initial expressions of interest.
The Steering Committee will then decide on the final list of pioneer countries. These will be announced at COP26 in November 2021. Countries not included in the first cohort of pioneer countries will be considered for future phases of implementation.
Work together to deliver.
READ COP26 EXPLAINED
Reaching agreement in the negotiations is our formal responsibility as the Presidency of COP26. Doing so will help deliver on our other three goals and show everyone that the world is moving to a resilient, net zero economy.
Finalise the ‘Paris Rulebook’
A focus for the negotiations is finalising the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement, called the ‘Paris Rulebook’.
- Find a solution on carbon markets, by creating a robust system of carbon credits that supports the move to net zero.
- Resolve the issues of transparency, by putting in place a universal system that encourages all countries to keep to their commitments.
- Broker an agreement that drives ambition from governments over the coming years to keep 1.5 degrees alive.
The UN negotiations are consensus-based, and reaching agreement will depend on leaving no issue behind and making sure everyone’s voice is heard.
Which is why we are working hard to remove barriers that prevent everyone from participating in COP26 and championing the voices of communities vulnerable to climate change, including indigenous peoples and communities grappling with the transition from high carbon activities.
Turn ambition into action
However, finalising the Paris Rulebook on its own will not deliver net zero. This decade is decisive and we need to turn ambition into action.
Governments, business and civil society (sometimes called ‘non-state actors’) need to work together to transform the ways we power our homes and businesses, grow our food, develop infrastructure and move ourselves and goods around.
This is why the UK COP26 Presidency is working with countries and partners including the UN High Level Champions on Climate Action to:
By committing to work together in this way we are laying the foundations for faster progress in the decade to come.