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COP26 Overview: What happened at the Glasgow Summit

The COP26 summit has come to an end after two weeks of negotiations amongst world leaders and global delegates. After lengthy discussions over the last few days of the event, the Glasgow Climate Pact has been finalised. The agreement is not legally binding but serves to set the global agenda on climate change over the next ten years. It aims to guide nations towards decarbonisation as part of a significant global transition. It is clear with the goals highlighted that Renewable Energy training will continue to be of vital importance to support critical Renewable projects. Read on for a COP26 overview and to discover what happened at the Glasgow Summit.

Overview of COP26 highlights:

Climate Finance

The agreement saw the 200 nations involved pledge to increase funds for developing countries who are at most risk from climate change consequences. The funds are designed to assist the switch to clean, renewable energy. This follows a previously failed pledge for richer countries to provide $100 billion a year by 2020.

The Pact notes that the “current provision of climate finance for adaptation remains insufficient”. As such, the Glasgow Pact urges developed countries “to at least double their collective provision” of climate finance for adaptation to developing nations from 2019 levels by 2025. This should help these countries move away from fossil fuels and towards Renewable Energy Technologies earlier than planned.

It is clear from the discussions at the conference that Renewable Energy Finance projects are going to be vital to sustain and manage global climate pledges.

Curbing Emissions

It has been outlined in The Glasgow Climate Pact that global greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030. This goal was created to allow global warming to be maintained at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency projects, such as wind farms and solar farms, will help with the aim of curbing emissions and reducing our carbon footprint.

Rules for a global carbon market were put into place during the summit, with the UN establishing a framework for trading credits that represent carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere. This framework should help to inject funds into schemes that help reduce emissions globally and will be open to both public and private sectors.

Coal

Countries made plans to accelerate the phasing out of coal for the first time ever at a COP summit. Coal is the “dirtiest” fossil fuel and needs to be phased out rapidly in order for the planet to stay within 1.5C of global heating. Coal is responsible for 40% of annual CO2 emissions, so to have this mentioned specifically at the summit is a significant step in the right direction.

To hit the coal phase-out target as set at COP26, a minimum of 40% of the world’s coal-fired power plants must be closed by 2030 at the latest. No new coal-fired power plants can be built in that time to stay on track with this goal. High-quality Renewable Energy adoption will be required to help reach this target and assist the world’s phase-out of coal usage.

Deforestation

Leaders from over 100 countries, and around 85% of the world’s forests, have pledged to end deforestation by 2030. This is vital for the biological absorption of CO2 to assist with global warming.

The deforestation pledge includes almost $19.2 billion of public and private funds. Over 30 of the world’s largest financial corporations have agreed to cease investment in activities that promote deforestation.

Other key highlights from the Summit:

  • China and the United States announced a deal to work together to cut emissions over the next 10 years. As some of the world’s biggest economies (and emitters), this is a positive step forward and shows nations putting differences aside to focus on the matter at hand.
  • The UK pledged to reduce the emissions of the health system by 2050 at the latest. Some of the devolved nations have revealed plans to reach Net Zero in this area sooner. The world’s health systems reportedly account for 4.6% of overall greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero revealed they will contribute $130 trillion of private funds to enable the transition to clean energy across the globe.
  • 95 high profile organisations from a range of sectors commit to being ‘Nature Positive’, agreeing to work towards halting and reversing the decline of nature by 2030.
  • Pension funds in the Nordic countries and UK have announced they will invest $130bn in clean energy and climate projects by 2030. As part of this commitment, the funds will also report every year on the progress of their climate investments.
  • The UK pledged to engage 75% of farmers in low carbon practices by 2030.
  • It was made clear that luxury carbon consumption of the top 1%, including the use of private jets and space travel, puts the 1.5 degree target at risk.

What can we take from COP26?

While the agreements made by the participating countries in COP26 are going to be self-policed, there is certainly hope that the world can start to turn around when it comes to climate change. Renewable Energy projects and technologies will be of paramount importance over the coming years to support the 1.5C degree goal (with sophisticated Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Solutions), phasing out fossil fuels (through low-carbon projects), and manage climate finance.

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