We’re officially halfway through COP26. Lot’s has happened in just seven days so we thought it’d be a good idea to recap the first week of this major conference before we head into week two! So without overdoing the introduction, here’s Halfway Through COP26: What’s Happened So Far?
If you are already looking ahead to next week at COP26 you can find our COP 26 Daily Preview: Monday 8th November here.
The Build Up to COP26
The build up to COP26 rightly featured much anticipation. It had been billed as our “last chance“. The last chance to stop global warming. The last chance to save nature. The last chance to protect ecosystems. The last chance to save the planet.
However, for many, the hope that something could be done was threatened before the conference had even begun. On 21st October, a document cache was leaked to and published by Unearthed – Greenpeace’s investigative division. The documents showed that coal lobbyists were targeting the IPCC climate change report.
At a similar time, The Lancet published “Code Red for a Healthy Future” – a report showing how the impacts of climate change will be a threat to the health of us all. The report provides a stark warning. In the build up to COP26, it provided a powerful message to carry to world leaders.
Despite the worrying news evident in both stories in the run up to COP26, hope still remained. The Conference of Youth event took place on the eve of COP26.
COY16, as it’s known, saw young people from over 140 countries come together so their voices could be heard. It was an extremely empowering event and featured an opening address from Nicola Sturgeon, a video message from UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres and a talk at the closing ceremony by Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa C..
Youths who took part in COY16 produced an incredible 78 page document called The Global Youth Statement. The Statement is a testament to those who took part and serves as an inspiration to us all. It was presented to the President of COP26, Alok Sharma, at the COY16 closing ceremony.
World Leader’s Summit
A more in depth overview of the World Leader’s Summit can be found in our COP26 Daily Review: Monday 1st November article.
The World Leader’s Summit opened to great media attention. After a performance by Brìghde Chaimbeul on the Scottish small pipes and a poem by the inspirational Yrsa Daley-Ward, Boris Johnson took to the stage. He was followed by speakers including:
Other speakers, with links to their talks, included:
- Walelasoetxeige Paiter Bandeira Surui of Brazil
- Brianna Fruean of Samoa
- António Guterres, the UN’s Secretary General
- Prince Charles
- Sir David Attenbourgh, COP26’s People’s Advocate
- Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados
- Eddie Ndopu
- Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of Italy
- Elizabeth Wathuti, Kenyan climate activist
World Leaders were also shown multiple videos and short films. One, entitled “Earth to COP” can be viewed below.
The World Leader’s Summit gave many hope. Those who spoke urged that we find the will to make the changes needed to stop climate change. Clips of the speeches were shows around the world and a real buzz of excitement took over. Was it finally time that World Leaders and big corporations would commit enough to stop climate change? Would our forests be saved? Would we transition quickly to renewable energy sources?
Only time would tell…but it didn’t take look for new commitments to be made. The question is – will they be enough?
COP26 Deforestation Deal
One of the first big news stories to come out of the first few days of COP26 was a deforestation deal. The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, as it is officially known, saw over 130 countries committing to work together to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. This means that more than 90% of the world’s forests are now covered by the commitment.
The breakthrough commitment was hailed as a huge success as countries recognised for having high rates of deforestation signed up. However, Indonesia, one of those who agreed to the deal have already started questioning their ability to achieve it. The country has called the deal “unfair” raising doubts over their actual commitment to it.
The Declartion has also secured finance agreements totally more than £15 billion. Many are stating this is a huge step forward in the battle to stop worldwide environmental loss and deforestation.
Our original report of the COP26 deforestation deal can be found in our COP26 Daily Review: Tuesday 2nd November.
COP26 Methane Deal
Another breakthrough coming out of COP26 in the first week was the EU and US methane deal. The Global Methane Pledge aims to limit methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
Over 100 countries have signed up to the pledge which is great news. Some think the pledge “may be key to meeting climate goals“.
You can see US President Joe Biden discussing the methane pledge below:
More information on the Global Methane Pledge, including which countries have signed up, can be found in our COP26 Daily Review: Tuesday 2nd November.
COP26 Coal Commitment
On Energy day at COP26, a number of countries signed up to a number of different pledges that targeted global coal use. More than 40 countries signed an agreement to shift away from the use of coal, however, the US and China did not sign up.
Italy, Canada, the United States and Denmark, along with 21 other countries agreed to end international public support for the unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022.
Two other coal-related deals saw:
- 20 countries agreed to stop building new coal plants.
- The Powering Past Coal Alliance added 28 new members.
Full details on the new coal commitments have a read our COP26 Daily Review: Thursday 4th November.
Protests at COP26
One aspect of COP26 that any have tried to ignore is the ongoing protests that have taken place. Protests were taking place in the lead up to COP26 and have continued as the event has progressed.
Protests reached a high on Saturday as the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice took place in Glasgow and around the world. You can watch the whole livestream of the event in Glasgow below:
COP26: What’s Happened So Far
As you will have read, a lot has happened at COP26 so far.
CHEC has also been up to a lot. We’ve been to multiple events, met many wonderful people and have been fully immersing ourselves in the COP26 atmosphere. We’ve been writing daily reviews of all that’s happening which you can read below:
- COP26 Daily Review: Sunday 31st October
- COP26 Daily Review: Monday 1st November
- COP26 Daily Review: Tuesday 2nd November
- COP26 Daily Review: Wednesday 3rd November
- COP26 Daily Review: Thursday 4th November
- COP26 Daily Review: Friday 5th November
- COP26 Daily Review: Saturday 6th November
Each review includes photos from the CHEC delegate team and a video with an overview of the day and interviews with people we’ve met at COP26!
We’re only halfway through and there is a lot more to come!
Have you been attending COP26? What events have you been to? What are you looking forward to next week?