A Greener Planet with a Greener Future to everyone

The outcomes of COP26 and Finance in Commons, the only way is to leave no one behind.

Hot expectations

During more than one month, news and commentators worldwide spoke about the expectations, coverage of the daily meetings, and the outcomes of the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP26), held in Glasgow and here in Berkeley Global Society couldn’t be different.[1] This year’s edition was a record-breaker, with more than 38,000 participants representing 194 countries.

The 13 days were intense in negotiations, panels, and discussions. The outcomes were highly expected. Compromising with the so wanted 1.5 °C (max.), global warming is changing the way the whole world lives, does business, produce, and consume, from one side, which follows catastrophic environmental events if the compromises were not reached, from the other.

The “Glasgow Climate Pact“will accelerate action on climate this decade and finally complete the Paris Rulebook,[2] reflecting all the agreements reached. We will try to explore clearly and shortly the critical aspects of the four awaited and anticipated in our previous post: Mitigation, Adaptation, Financing, and Collaboration. [3]

Warm outcomes

Mitigation was the “hot” topic of this edition.[4] Commitments to move away from coal power, halt and reverse deforestation, reduce methane emissions, and speed up the switch to electric vehicles were made. Countries representing over 90% of world GDP committed with a near-global net-zero emissions, and 153 countries put forward new 2030 emissions targets (NDC). One hundred thirty-seven countries pledged to end deforestation by 2030, with 91% of the world’s forests covered. Over 100 countries signed up to the Global Methane Pledge to reduce global 30% of methane emissions by 2030.

Coal, the most significant contributor to human-created climate change, was the topic with higher expectation after the prior declarations of the USA, China, and key International Organizations. Those expectations were fulfilled. During the COP, 190 countries agreed to phase down coal, and 65 countries have committed to coal phase-out. Moreover, thirty-four governments and five public finance institutions committed to ending direct public support to coal, an annual decrease of US$ 24 billion.

Adaptation,[5] which focuses on adapting our habits, decisions, and infrastructure to be more resilient and suffer less the effects of climate change, did not have much attention during this COP. Even with 80 countries having Adaptation Communications or National Adaptation Plans to increase preparedness to climate risks and International Organizations committing themselves  to double the 2019 levels of adaptation finance by the year 2025, more could and should have been done.

No climate action would ever be possible without money, only committing trillions of dollars with green growth, green finance, and diminishing inequalities the 1.5-degree Celsius will be reached, making financing[6]  a pivotal goal to be achieved. However, there is a long way forward in this goal. Developed countries made some progress towards delivering the $100 billion-a-year, and by 2023 it is expected to be reached. And, at COP26, over $350 million has been committed to the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund, and over $600 million was pledged to the Least Developed Countries; however, it is far from enough.

The Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) play an essential role in mobilizing finance and capacity building to guarantee projects in line with adaptation and mitigation measures. Before COP 26, only the World Bank had a time-bound plan to align with the Paris Agreement, and now almost every MDB has plans to align with the Paris Agreement. Additionally, nearly all MDBs now have green finance targets and goals to increase financing. The participation of MDBs was strong during the COP. The Finance in Common Annual Meeting outcomes introduced several ideas and goals regarding climate change and sustainable development goals. Likewise, with 26 leading bilateral and regional development finance institutions, the International Development Finance Club committed a climate finance mobilization target of $1.3trillion until 2025. Climate change financing also needs the support of the private sector. In this edition, “over 450 institutions, responsible for over $130 trillion of private financial assets, are committed to net-zero targets”.

The final goal: collaboration; needs governments, private sector, civil society, academia, and NGO to work together to the common 1.5-degree Celsius goal. To reach this goal at COP26, the Paris Rulebook was finished. This framework will guarantee transparency and prevent greenwashing and greening, will facilitate a common international reporting of emissions, support, carbon markets, timeframes, and further regulations needed[7].

Furthermore, many agreements were reached regarding the collaboration of all the sectors in Power generation (clean, efficient, and affordable); Road Transport (zero-emission vehicles accessible and affordable); Steel (near-zero-emission steel the preferred choice in global markets); Hydrogen (affordable, renewable and low carbon hydrogen).

Cold way forward

Even disappointing many Climate Change activists, Glasgow pledges guaranteed a maximum expected heat of 1.8 °C, and many important pledges were made, mainly in mitigation related to coal, methane emissions, and deforestation. Some advancements were also made in the other three goals, mainly in the Paris Rulebook. All these agreements are considerable steps forward.

To keep going fast forward, Multilateral Development Banks and institutions play a key role. The outcomes of Finance in Common (FICS2), which in this edition congregated more than 510 development institutions around the globe, brought-up declarations of 14 working groups related to green growth, and all the sustainable development goals.[8] The outcomes of FICS2 were” also referred to in this year’s G20 statement, recognizing the importance of MDBs to the development and guarantee a sustainable development.[9]

Every change requires negotiations, with advancements and setbacks. A global change that will change the production, consumption, habits, and costumes is even more complicated with several COPs, meetings, and negotiations needed.

Even with some robust pledges and compromises made by most countries, many countries cannot compromise in the same way. Many other aspects need to be considered to keep advancing. Development gaps, development strategies, inequalities, gender, and diversity are still topics that need to be on the table.

A green agenda requires lots of finance to compensate for the needs of least developed countries and developing countries. Developed countries need to compromise more and compensate the least developed countries. According to the “World Inequality Database,[10]” while the USA produces almost 75 tons of CO2 emissions per capita (tCO2e/cap), Canada and Australia 60 tCO2e/cap, European countries on average produce above 25 tCO2e/cap. In contrast, Latin-American Countries produce below 20 tCO2e/cap, and most African Countries produce below 10 tCO2e/cap. The same is true when we consider the  countries’ inequalities: “the poorest 50% of the US population emit about 10 tonnes of CO2 per person, while the richest 10% emit 75 tonnes per person. […] Similarly, in Europe, the poorest half emits about five tonnes per person, while the richest 10% emit about 30 tonnes.”[11]

The least developing countries still have a long way to arrive at minimum acceptable standards of leaving. Most developing countries have a lot to invest in their basic needs. Producing more expensive products and less competition does n’ot seem a fair sacrifice without proper compensation. A massive compromise by the richer needs to be implemented benefiting the poorer to guarantee that the “green future” will be the same to everyone. A “greener planet” will not mean a “greener future” if the world keeps leaving some people and countries behind.

[1] To see our expectations regarding COP26 refer to our previous post: https://berkeleyglobalsociety.com/en/perspectives/2021-is-hot-october-is-hotter/

[2] There were more than 30 declarations and thousands of pages, the documents are available at: https://ukcop26.org/the-conference/cop26-outcomes/

[3] Final document available at: https://ukcop26.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/COP26-Presidency-Outcomes-The-Climate-Pact.pdf

[4] Mitigation focuses on reducing CO2 emissions

[5] For more explanations regarding adaptation and mitigation refer to our previous post: https://berkeleyglobalsociety.com/en/perspectives/2021-is-hot-october-is-hotter/

[6] For more on Decarbonization and “Greenflation”, refer to Otaviano Canuto’s paper, available on: https://www.policycenter.ma/sites/default/files/PB-51-21-Canuto.pdf

[7] This is one of the topics with more challenges and opportunities related to climate change, to know more about greenwashing and regulating challenges and opportunities refer to our publication: https://berkeleyglobalsociety.com/en/perspectives/beyond-green-growth-the-esg-investment-market-and-the-era-of-responsible-investment/

[8] For more info regarding Finance in Common refer to: https://financeincommon.org

[9] See Italian G20 Presidency. Fourth G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting Communiqué 13 October 2020. And for more regarding G20 refer to: https://g20.org


[11] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/dec/07/we-cant-address-the-climate-crisis-unless-we-also-take-on-global-inequality?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other