The latest at COP26:
- Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and 21 other countries sign a historic deal to stop new direct public finance for coal, oil and gas development by the end of 2022.
- Several major coal-using nations have pledged for the first time to phase out their use, others vowed to end investment in new coal-fired power plants.
- Canada will help boost new funding for developing nations’ coal exit needs better planning for workers.
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Catch up on yesterday’s events here, and read our recap on how Canada lost the bid to host COP’s corporate sustainability data office; Bank of Canada is planning new tools to better assess how climate change is impacting the economy. Also from yesterday, the spotlight is on Indigenous clean energy voices, ‘Greta Mania’ is in full effect, and Gabon’s green logging laws offer COP26 countries a path to climate action.
3:00 p.m. ET
New funding for developing nations’ coal exit needs better planning for workers
South Asian nations need to create more effective plans to be able to utilize new funding to help developing countries speed up their shift from polluting coal to greener energy, researchers said this week.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would provide up to $1 billion for a programme backing a just transition from coal power to clean energy in emerging economies, run by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF).
On Thursday, the CIF launched the “Accelerating Coal Transition” (ACT) investment programme, backed by pledges from the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada and Denmark totalling nearly $2.5 billion, saying it was the first of its kind.
The first countries to benefit from the initiative will be South Africa, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, representing over 15% of coal-related emissions globally, with the aim of expanding it to more nations later.
1:00 p.m. ET
UK gears up to produce rare earth magnets, cut reliance on China
Britain could revive domestic production of super strong magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines with government support, to cut its reliance on China and achieve vital cuts in carbon emissions, two sources with direct knowledge said.
A government-funded feasibility study is due to be published on Friday, laying out the steps Britain must take to restart output of rare earth permanent magnets, the sources said.
A magnet factory would help Britain, hosting the COP26 U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, meet its goal of banning petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and slashing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
11:45 a.m. ET
Industrial companies boost target for green hydrogen in climate fight
A global coalition of industrial companies said it has boosted a target for emissions-cutting hydrogen generated with renewable power such as wind and solar energy.
Companies and governments have touted green hydrogen, derived from water using electrolyzers powered by renewable energy, as a way to cut carbon emissions. But it now costs about four times more to make green hydrogen than it does to make “grey hydrogen” using electrolyzers powered by natural gas or other fossil fuels.
The Green Hydrogen Catapult (GHC) set a goal of 45 gigawatts (GW) of electrolyzers, powered with green electricity, to be developed with secured financing by 2026, with targeted commissioning in 2027. The electrolyzers could produce enough hydrogen to power about 45 average-size steel mills, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for fossil fuels, the group said.
The GHC was founded by companies including Fortescue Future Industries, the clean energy unit of Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, Danish wind power company Ørsted and Swedish startup H2 Green Steel.
10:00 a.m. ET
Joint statement also prioritizes clean energy finance by end of 2022
Canada has joined the United States, United Kingdom and 21 other countries in a historic deal to stop new direct public finance for coal, oil and gas development by the end of 2022.
The deal, signed at the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, also promises more emphasis on financing renewable energy.
“Canada can lead in the low-carbon world if we keep putting our investments, innovations and brain power behind ambitious climate action,” said a release from Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.
“That means quickly winding down new public international investments in unabated fossil fuels and powering up the shift to clean sources of energy.”
- The Canadian Press
9:00 a.m. ET
Indonesia signals about-face on COP26 zero-deforestation pledge
Indonesia’s environment minister has dismissed as “inappropriate and unfair” a global plan to end deforestation by 2030, days after her country, home to a third of the world’s rainforests, joined 127 other nations in making the deforestation pledge.
The agreement late on Monday at the COP26 climate talks was at odds with Indonesia’s development plans and the global goals should be fine-tuned, said minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, who attended the summit in Glasgow.
“Forcing Indonesia to (reach) zero deforestation in 2030 is clearly inappropriate and unfair,” she said on Twitter on Wednesday. “The massive development of President Jokowi’s era must not stop in the name of carbon emissions or in the name of deforestation,” she said, referring to Indonesian leader, Joko Widodo by his nickname.
8:00 a.m. ET
India, Indonesia and Philippines join coal transition programme
India, Indonesia and the Philippines will join South Africa as the first recipients of a multibillion dollar pilot programme aimed at accelerating their transition from coal power to clean energy, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) said on Thursday.
The four countries account for 15 per cent of global emissions related to coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. Cutting their emissions more quickly will help the global effort for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a key goal of COP.
Indonesian Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif said his country was committed to reducing and replacing its coal power plants with renewables in energy transition.
“Climate change is a global challenge that needs to be addressed by all parties through leading by example,” he said in a statement.
7:00 a.m. ET
Countries pledge to phase out climate culprit coal
Several major coal-using nations have pledged for the first time to phase out their use of the heavily-polluting fossil fuel or to speed up existing plans to do so, while others announced commitments to end investment in new coal-fired power plants.
U.K. business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said late Wednesday that the commitments made on the sidelines of the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, meant the “end of coal is in sight.” But critics noted the several major economies still have not set a date for ending their dependence on the fuel that is a major source of planet-warming emissions.
The British government said pledges of new or earlier deadlines for ending coal use came from countries including Poland, Ukraine, Vietnam and Chile. Further details about which countries were doing what were to be announced Thursday at the conference, known as COP26.
6:30 a.m. ET
London mayor touts vehicle congestion charge at COP26
Few cities have been more vigilant about imposing vehicle emission charges than London, and the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has used an appearance at COP26 to encourage other urban centres to follow suit.
“The issue of air quality is an issue of social justice,” Mr. Khan told reporters at the climate change conference in Glasgow on Wednesday. “We’re seeing thousands of premature deaths because of poor quality air.”
London became the first major city to introduce a congestion charge in 2003. Under the original scheme, vehicles entering the central core on weekdays had to pay a daily fee of £5, the equivalent now of $8.50. The fee, which has since been raised to £15 and is now charged every day, was credited for a reduction in traffic and an increase in public transit use. And it has been widely adopted elsewhere.
6:30 a.m. ET
Global carbon emissions have rebounded to nearly record pre-pandemic levels, report
A report by around 100 scientists from 18 countries has found that global carbon emissions have rebounded faster than expected and are close to the record level seen before the pandemic.
Carbon emissions “continue to increase, despite COVID-related reductions in 2020, due to continued CO2 emissions,” said the report released Thursday by the Global Carbon Project.
The scientists said greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 5.5 per cent in 2020 but are expected to rise by 4.9 per cent this year. “Emissions from coal and gas use are set to grow more in 2021 than they fell in 2020, but emissions from oil use remain below 2019 levels,” said the study called the Global Carbon Budget.
“What many of us were thinking in 2020 - including me - was more of a recovery spread out over a few years, as opposed to a big hitch in 2021,” Glen Peters from the Center for International Climate Research in Norway told the BBC. “That’s where the surprise comes for me - that it happened so quick, and also there’s a concern that there’s still some recovery to come.”
The study said fossil fuel emissions in the U.S. and the European Union will rise by 7.6 per cent in 2021 but the long term trend shows a decline in emission. The trend was rising in India which will see a 12.6 per cent jump in emissions this year after a 7.3 per cent fall in 2020. “For China, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked further growth in CO2 emissions, pushed by the power and industry sectors,” the report said. “CO2 emissions from China in 2021 are projected to be 5.5 per cent above 2019 levels, reaching 11.1 billion tonnes,” said the report.
The research will be sober reading for delegates at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow where efforts are being made to get countries to cut carbon emissions enough to slow the rise in global warming to 1.5C.
“To achieve net zero by 2050, we must cut emissions every year by an amount comparable to that seen during COVID,” said Pierre Friedlingstein, from the University of Exeter who participated in the project. “This highlights the scale of the action that is now required, and the importance of COP26.”
6:00 a.m. ET
Net zero and methane pledges push world near Paris climate goal
Net-zero emissions pledges and a commitment by leaders at the COP26 climate conference to cut methane, if enforced, could enable the world to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday.
“New @IEA analysis shows that fully achieving all net-zero pledges to date & the Global Methane Pledge by those who signed it would limit global warming to 1.8C,” IEA chief Fatih Birol wrote on Twitter.
The comments, made a few days after the pledges were announced at the Glasgow summit, drew warnings of caution as the IEA’s new assessment relies on countries and companies following through with their promises for years if not decades to come.
5:00 a.m. ET
Coal is in the crosshairs as UN climate summit stirs clean energy pledges
Government representatives at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow on Thursday will turn their focus to tackling the global economy’s addiction to fossil fuels with a raft of new pledges aimed at curbing production and use of oil, gas and coal.
Planned announcements are meant to help speed a transition to cleaner forms of energy that scientists and world leaders say are needed quickly to slash greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
But the pledges could also highlight lingering divisions between wealthy nations pushing for a swift end to the dirty fuels of the industrial revolution, and poorer developing countries that rely on coal and other fossil fuels to grow.
- Trudeau reaffirms pledge to impose GHG emissions caps on Canada’s oil and gas industry
- At COP26, Canada joins more than 100 nations in pledge to end deforestation by 2030
- COP26 is a circus with a purpose: Putting climate change in the spotlight so no country can ignore it
- Explainer: A guide to the world’s most consequential environment conference
- Glossary: key concepts for the Glasgow climate conference
Opinion and analysis
- Andrew Coyne: How much we cut carbon emissions is less important than how we do so
- Adam Radwanski: Canada’s global-carbon-price pitch at COP26 is an uphill battle
- Campbell Clark: After COP26 climate conference, the carbon trade war will inch closer
- Editorial board: The global warming alarm clock is ringing. Wake up
- Gary Mason: Steven Guilbeault is the right environment minister for our times
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The Globe and Mail
This article was compiled by Sierra Bein