1. Key COP26 stories
A group of countries, companies and cities has committed to phasing out fossil-fuel vehicles by 2040, as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions and curb global warming. The Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans, sees the groups pledge to “rapidly” accelerate the transition to low-carbon emission vehicles.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has proposed the first framework for sustainable trade finance. The proposal was set out by Andrew Wilson, policy director at the ICC. While others have begun to set definitions for parts of the sustainable finance industry, such as green bonds, “none of those frameworks can be easily or reliably applied to the financing of trade,” Wilson said on the sidelines of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged world leaders on Wednesday to go further in their pledges at COP26, saying the goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius remained within reach. “I think with sufficient energy and commitment, and with leaders from around the world now ringing up their negotiators and asking them to move in the ways that they know they can move, and should move, I still think we can achieve it,” he told a news conference.
Top representatives of the oil producer group OPEC defended a future role for fossil fuels at the UN climate conference on Wednesday, arguing the world can slash greenhouse gas emissions without swearing off oil and gas. The arguments clashed with the efforts at the summit to secure ambitious pledges from world governments to tackle climate change.
Today, COP26 on-stage panellists and speakers are set to focus on urban issues – specifically, how to make sure that the world’s cities, towns and infrastructure are bringing down emissions and preparing for extreme weather in a warmer world.
Denmark and Costa Rica will also officially launch their “Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance” and announce new members who will commit to stop handing out new oil and gas extraction permits and eventually halt domestic production.
Pope Francis asked Catholics on Thursday to pray for the success of the UN Climate Change conference in Glasgow because “time is running out” to save the planet.
2. US and China unveil deal on emissions cuts
The United States and China, the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, unveiled a deal to ramp up cooperation tackling climate change, including by cutting methane emissions, phasing out coal consumption and protecting forests.
US climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua announced the framework agreement at the UN climate conference in Scotland. Both billed it as a way to tip the summit toward success.
“Together we set out our support for a successful COP26, including certain elements which will promote ambition,” Kerry told a news conference about the deal between Washington and Beijing. “Every step matters right now and we have a long journey ahead of us.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Xie told reporters the deal would see China strengthen its emissions-cutting targets. “Both sides will work jointly and with other parties to ensure a successful COP26 and to facilitate an outcome that is both ambitious and balanced,” Xie said.
The joint declaration said China would begin phasing out its coal consumption during the five years from 2026-30 and would cut emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane.
3. US airlines and Amazon join push to reduce aircraft emissions
Major US airlines and Amazon’s aviation unit are joining an effort to speed the development and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to decrease emissions in air transport.
The Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA) said United Airlines, Amazon Air, Alaska Airlines, and JetBlue are joining the effort, which includes major corporate airline customers, to help drive greater SAF production, price cuts and technological advancements.
The Environmental Defense Fund and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) launched the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance in April.
At the climate talks in Glasgow, RMI managing director Bryan Fisher said aviation emissions would be equivalent to the sixth largest country’s total emissions. Fisher said SAF is “almost largely 100%” of the solution through 2030 “and still a very large part” through 2050 but SAF is just 0.1% of jet fuel consumed today.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will represent the United States as a coalition of countries led by Britain are expected to announce the “International Aviation Climate Ambition Declaration,” Reuters reported, citing sources.
On Tuesday, the United States said it was setting a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its aviation sector by 2050.
“Making sustainable travel a reality will require extensive investment in low-carbon technologies such as sustainable aviation fuel by our entire industry,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.