Sunday, January 16

COP26 Scorecard: What Was Really Achieved from Two Weeks of Talks?

Fourteen days of talks and a few nights in a sprawling and heavily sanitized conference center in Glasgow, Scotland, produced some promises of progress, a strict set of rules on carbon markets, and some big aspirations that will have to be tested against reality. in recent years. ahead.

Below is a snapshot of the most important results.

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Coal target
It was diluted at the last minute to a commitment to “phase out” rather than “phase out” coal power, but the inclusion remains significant as the first mention of coal in a COP text. It does not achieve the goal of “consigning coal to history”, but it goes beyond what the G-20 has done to date and sends a clear signal.

China-US Agreement USA
The biggest surprise in Glasgow was the agreement of the two largest issuers to work together. No big concrete actions, but good news – at least the pair are talking about the weather amid the broader diplomatic showdown. China had been largely absent from the talks until then.

Carbon trading rules
Hard-earned and long-awaited. The rules on international carbon trading bring clarity to companies and standardization that should help reduce emissions, although some activists worry that they are not strict enough. The pressure to specify the rules was growing as the voluntary compensation market grew out of control.

Methane compromise
More than 100 countries agreed to reduce methane; and there is a reference to methane for the first time in the pact. It is not binding, but again, it is a powerful signal that it is time to tackle emissions that are much more powerful than CO2.

Kick off the plans
Countries must return next year with better climate plans. But there is an exclusion clause.

New rules were agreed that will allow greater scrutiny of emissions reports. Lastly, climate targets should be comparable, allowing everyone to assess what everyone else is doing.

Cash for damages
For the first time, it is recognized that countries affected by catastrophic weather events will receive assistance. There is an agreement to properly configure a mechanism, although the finer details and exact cash have yet to be worked out. That’s something for COP27, in Egypt next year.

Many of the side deals agreed at the COP disappointed, but a pact on deforestation could make a difference.

Unlike some of the other offers, this one was signed up by the major players.

Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney duped banks, investors and insurers representing $ 130 trillion in assets to decarbonize their businesses by mid-century. Finance is a powerful tool in the fight against climate change, but the list does not include the three largest banks in the world, all of which are Chinese and the main providers of coal finance.

The magic number
All of this leaves us on our way to 1.8 degrees Celsius warming, if all promises are fulfilled, according to the IEA, and it’s a big yes. That is much better than where we were on the way to the COP, but still well above what is safe.

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

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