Report of main proceedings for 1 November 2021
Glasgow Climate Change Conference
The World Leaders Summit was the highlight of the day, kicking off with an opening ceremony titled “Earth to COP.” Throughout the day, negotiations took place on key implementation issues, ranging from Article 6 (cooperative approaches) to transparency issues.
World Leaders Summit
Opening Ceremony: Earth to COP: Prime Minister of the UK Boris Johnson drew attention to the seriousness of the climate crisis, warning against the “anger and impatience” of youth should COP 26 not deliver the scale of action needed. He stressed that solutions are attainable, and the developed world has the responsibility to fund climate action in developing countries.
Brianna Fruean, an advocate from Samoa, stressed the power of words to “change worlds,” and called on leaders to “wield the right words” followed up by action. She highlighted the leadership of Pacific youth, rallied under the cry “we are not drowning, we are fighting.”
Txai Suruí, a young advocate from the Amazon, urged ending “the pollution of hollow words.” She said that, while people were closing their eyes to reality, one of her childhood friends was murdered for protecting forests. She called for placing Indigenous Peoples at the center of COP 26 decisions.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said recent climate action announcements might give the impression the world is on track to fulfilling the Paris Agreement’s objectives. Calling this an illusion, he cautioned that if commitments fall short by the end of this COP, countries must revisit their plans, not every five years, but every year, until 1.5°C is assured, fossil fuel subsidies end, carbon has a price, and coal is phased out.
His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, underscored that trillions, not billions, of dollars are needed to create a sustainable future. He said world leaders understand that the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of prevention, and urged them to work together to save the future for young people.
COP 26 People’s Advocate Sir David Attenborough said the stability of the climate system that enabled the development of human civilization is breaking, urging world leaders to turn this tragedy into a triumph by reducing global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.
Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley described the mitigation, finance, and adaptation finance gaps as “immoral and unjust.” She called for an annual increase in International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights of USD 500 billion per year, for 20 years, to finance the transition, underscoring that a 2°C future is a “death sentence” for the people of vulnerable countries.
A youth representative from Chile, in a video message, urged leaders to listen to young people, take into account the knowledge of civil society, and work locally to have global impact.
A youth representative from Egypt, in a video message, shared lessons from his experience working with local communities, stressing opportunities to achieve economic empowerment through green initiatives.
WeThe15 campaign ambassador Edward Ndopu reminded leaders of their extraordinary power to change the trajectory the world is on and urged them to help guarantee a safer future for every life.
Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi called on COP 26 to go further than the G20, urging intelligent use of the tens of trillions of private funds available, and calling on the World Bank and other multilateral development banks to share risks the private sector cannot bear alone.
Delegates viewed a video animation of a poem written by eight-year-old Delphine, which won the UK’s “Our Planet Now” competition.
Elizabeth Wathuti, Kenyan youth climate and environmental activist, reminded leaders that their decisions at COP 26 will determine whether children will have food and water.
Statements from leaders: Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sánchez announced an allocation of USD 30 million to the Adaptation Fund in 2022 and a commitment to increase its climate finance by 50% by 2025, to EUR 1.35 billion per year, and to allocate 20% of its Special Drawing Rights to vulnerable countries.
President of the United States Joseph Biden expressed determination to demonstrate that the US is not only back at the table but also leading by example. He announced the United States’ first: long-term strategy to achieve net zero emissions no later than 2050; adaptation communication; and contribution to the Adaptation Fund. He stated the intention to quadruple US climate finance by 2024. He also announced the launch, with the EU, of the Global Methane Pledge, through which over 70 countries commit to collectively reduce methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
President of Indonesia Joko Widodo said his country’s forestry and land use sector, which contributes 60% to Indonesia’s emissions, will become a net carbon sink by 2030. Saying his country will continue to mobilize climate finance and innovative financing, including green bonds, he enquired how much support will be available from developed countries to developing countries.
Lamenting that small island states suffer the consequences of industrialization and climate change, and highlighting that COVID-19 wiped away 75% of his country’s tourism industry, President of Seychelles Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan called for an end to using income status as a criterion for support, and instead adopting a “vulnerability index.”
Noting that current pledges would take the world to 2.7°C of global warming, President of France Emmanuel Macron called for pledges and strategies to reduce the gap to the 1.5°C target before the closure of COP 26. He called for linking the climate, biodiversity, and trade agendas, and for trade agreements to reflect climate commitments.
President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba said his country is the most carbon-positive country in the world, has adopted a climate law, and will submit a new NDC after Glasgow. He called on major economies to submit new NDCs in line with 1.5°C, proposed a “Marshall Plan on climate,” and urged developed countries to increase the collective climate finance goal by tenfold beyond 2025 to meet developing countries’ needs.
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel acknowledged developed countries’ responsibility to lead on climate action. She assured developed countries will achieve the 100 billion USD target by 2023 and Germany will increase its climate finance to EUR 6 billion per year by 2025. She also stressed the need for carbon pricing.
Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Michael Holness urged all countries to act responsibly with the ambition to preserve the planet for current and future generations. He said for small island states, funding is critical to climate action, particularly for loss and damage.
President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta underscored the nexus between climate change and security, highlighting the impact of extreme weather events on the African continent. He said Kenya is “doing her fair share,” outlining expectations that COP 26 will deliver on ambition, finance, adaptation, loss and damage, and implementing the Paris Agreement.
Prime Minister of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama said the world is losing the race to net zero and urged high-polluting countries to halve their emissions by 2030. He emphasized that the existence of lowland and island countries is not negotiable, and that parties have the moral obligation to protect the future of our children and grandchildren.
Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina underscored that all major emitters must submit and implement ambitious NDCs and developed countries must fulfill their financial promises. As Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, she called for a “climate emergency pact.”
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau recalled the devastation in the village of Lytton due to wildfires. He characterized his country’s carbon pricing trajectory as one of the most ambitious in the world and called on all to work together and step up.
President of Bolivia Luis Arce Catacora denounced “carbon colonialism” and green capitalism, calling for a paradigm shift in economic and social systems to defend Mother Earth. He stressed the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and historic responsibility, urging developed countries to lead.
President of Korea Jae-in Moon outlined promises to cut emissions by 40% below 2018 levels by 2030, join the Global Methane Pledge, and to drive cooperation on forest restoration. He proposed regular youth engagement in climate decision making.
President of the European Council Charles Michel said activists are right to demand more, and leaders have a duty not to be found wanting.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the need for strong commitments to reduce emissions by 2030, a robust framework of rules to make global carbon markets a reality, and scaled-up climate finance.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Damodardas Modi announced five new targets: increasing non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 Gigawatts by 2030; fulfilling 50% of energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030; reducing 1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions between now and 2030; reducing carbon intensity by 45% by 2030; and achieving net zero emissions by 2070. Citing the need to match finance with increasing ambition, he urged developed countries to provide 1 trillion USD of climate finance as soon as possible and proposed to set up a tracking system of climate finance to put pressure on countries that have not lived up to their finance commitments.
Matters Relating to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement: In the contact group, work began on the three sub-items. SBSTA Chair Tosi Mpanu Mpanu noted parties are in their sixth year of negotiations on operationalizing Article 6 and referred to extensive technical work done in 2021. He drew attention to an options paper released prior to the COP to assist parties in navigating the remaining unresolved issues. He said while a balanced package is within reach, it will take engagement and compromise. He announced a proposal to issue a new iteration of draft text by morning, Tuesday, 2 November, and a second iteration before the closing contact group on Saturday, 6 November.
In informal consultations, Co-Facilitator Hugh Sealy (Barbados) outlined the proposed approach and expectations, including: ensuring each voice and position will be heard, including from virtual participants; and continuing on the basis of the three sets of draft texts from Madrid. He explained the new texts will indicate where parties do not feel comfortable with the third Madrid text iterations, and will incorporate nuances and options that have emerged in the dialogues since Madrid. He said the SBSTA Chair would hold a heads of delegation meeting on Tuesday to hear initial views, followed by further informal consultations. He invited views on: specific expectations; issues that have not been discussed explicitly since Madrid; and areas where there is scope to accommodate opposing positions and with emerging “packages.”
Parties expressed their support for issuing a revised text. One developing country group expressed preference to use primarily the first and second Madrid iterations of the draft text, noting that all positions are well captured in these.
Many groups called for further addressing environmental integrity under Article 6.2 (Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes) guidance. Many groups also called for some level of parity between rules for Article 6.2 and those for 6.4 (mechanism), including with regard to environmental integrity, baseline additionality, and accounting. Many called for avoiding double counting.
Some stressed the need for Article 6 to contribute to the 1.5°C goal. Responding to another group’s statement that it would judge any text based on its contribution to ambition, one group enquired whose ambition this would measure and called for “equitable ambition” and a balanced text. A developing country group called for inclusivity in accommodating NDCs with policies and measures and in delivering guidance, including for non-GHG metrics.
Many developing countries called for a capacity-building programme for enabling readiness for Article 6 operationalization, with one group suggesting including this in the Article 6 cover decision.
Many countries, both developed and developing, called for reflecting human rights and rights of Indigenous Peoples in the text.
Some drew attention to the need for balance across the three “mechanisms” under Article 6, with one party stating that “little or nothing has been done on Article 6.8 (non-market mechanisms).”
Parties and groups also called for, inter alia: defining the role and process for the Article 6 review team; equal treatment of shares of proceeds under the Article 6.2 and 6.4 instruments; unlimited use of pre-2020 Kyoto credits under 6.4; transition of all Clean Development Mechanism methodologies to 6.4; ensuring inclusivity and market friendliness to improve overall mitigation in global emissions; safeguards; and timelines for completing the Article 6 work programme. They also expressed various views on baseline additionality.
On “packages,” one group outlined three clusters: ambition, accounting, and finance.
Interventions continued in informal consultations in the afternoon.
Methodological Issues under the Paris Agreement: Common reporting tables for national inventory reports: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Helen Plume (New Zealand), who suggested first discussing the structure and content of the tables before turning to flexibility provisions and finalizing tables towards inclusion in a draft decision. Some parties noted the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories has not been discussed by the CMA, has no legal status, and lies outside of the scope of the modalities, procedures, and guidelines (MPGs) for the enhanced transparency framework. Others noted several countries already use the 2019 Refinement, notably with regard to hydrogen and biochar, and should be able to continue doing so as it improves the comprehensiveness of their reporting, with one country emphasizing that applying the 2019 Refinement does not necessarily entail changes to the structure of the tables. Some developing countries said parties should self-determine how flexibility provisions are presented in output tables. Plume invited parties to submit comments in writing, noting that the Secretariat will compile and circulate these to inform further discussions.
Common tabular formats on support provided and mobilized, needed and received: In informal consultations, co-facilitated by Seyni Nafo (Mali) and Karima Oustadi (Italy), delegates discussed the linkages between tables on financial support and those on capacity building and technology transfer. Several underscored the need to avoid double counting. Many emphasized the usefulness of having summary tables, including for providing an overview of the shares of finance for mitigation and adaptation and the proportions of different financial instruments. A developing country group called for the summary tables to provide an overview over a decadal scale. Others noted that summary tables are a “nice to have” but not mandated in the MPGs, with several emphasizing such tables should be auto-populated. On reporting years, several speakers emphasized the importance of different tables per fiscal or calendar year to allow tracking progress on yearly commitments, while others stressed the need for flexibility to report on support needed on a biennial basis. The Co-Facilitators will prepare an informal note, building on the session’s discussions, intersessional discussions, and parties’ submissions, including a recent joint submission by AILAC and AOSIS.
Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture: In informal consultations, Co-Facilitators Milagros Sandoval (Peru) and Philip Blackwell (Ireland) noted the limited time to complete the group’s three mandates to consider: three outstanding workshop reports; what to report to COP 26 on work done in the three years since the Koronivia road map was approved; and future topics to be considered. Sandoval pointed to “no-status notes” in which the co-facilitators captured the diversity of ideas heard, and invited parties’ reactions. Some parties suggested streamlining the three mandates; others disagreed. One noted, but did not specify, “a gap that needs to be addressed in a very delicate way” and requested longer discussion times. Informal informals will convene.
National Adaptation Plans (NAPs): In informal consultations co-facilitated by Pepetua Latasi (Tuvalu) and Jens Fugl (Denmark), parties discussed the mandates to: develop actions for the next assessment of progress in the NAP formulation and implementation process, to happen before 2025; and consider information from the Adaptation Committee and LDC Expert Group (LEG), including on gaps and needs and NAP implementation. Parties discussed whether support for adaptation must include support for NAP implementation, not just their formulation. Some developing countries lamented the cumbersome process to access finance, including through the Green Climate Fund. Parties agreed the Co-Facilitators’ informal note from the June 2021 SBI session is a useful starting point for Co-Facilitators to produce draft text, but views diverged on whether the draft text should include points under the heading “other issues raised that are beyond the scope of this item.” Two further informal consultations will convene.
WIM: During informal consultations, co-facilitated by Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago) and Cornelia Jaeger (Austria), there were many calls for a decision operationalizing the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage. Several developing country groups put forward ideas for operationalizing the network in a decision to be forwarded to both the COP and the CMA. These included mechanisms to identify the range, quality, and type of technical assistance available by various bodies operating at different scales, and coordination mechanisms to help developing countries identify their loss and damage needs. Finance for loss and damage, particularly slow onset events, was raised by multiple developing country groups. Some developed countries suggested leveraging the convening power of the Network, while another said it should do more. Informal consultations will convene to focus on the Network.
Terms of Reference of the Consultative Group of Experts (CGE) and the 2020 and 2021 reports: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Gertraud Wollansky (Austria) and Sin Liang Cheah (Singapore). A developing country called for time to hear from the CGE, especially to discuss the report on capacity-building needs in preparing national communications and biennial update reports, which he said should inform deliberations on guidance to the CGE. Some developed countries noted discussions should also address the composition of the CGE, highlighting the terms of reference “erroneously overlooked” non-Annex I parties in Eastern Europe. Wollansky indicated the next session of informal consultations would focus on hearing parties’ views and seeking a mandate for the Co-Facilitators to develop draft text under their responsibility.
Common Time Frames: SBI Chair Marianne Karlsen (Norway) facilitated informal consultations, which heard parties’ views on, inter alia: time frame option preferences; NDC implementation period preferences; and implementation end dates for the next round of NDCs. All stressed the need to adopt a decision at CMA 3 on this matter, and many noted the SBI Chair’s informal note from June 2021 contains useful elements for draft decision text.
A number of groups stressed the need for a single time frame for all countries, opposed by some. Many called for ministerial discussions to reach an agreement, with one group identifying the issue as part of the “full package.”
Parties agreed to mandate Karlsen to produce draft conclusions and a draft decision that reflects the options contained in the informal note and any further inputs received from parties. Consultations will continue.
Technology Development and Transfer: Alignment between processes pertaining to the review of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the periodic assessment of Technology Mechanism: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Elfriede-Anna More (Austria) and Stella Gama (Malawi). Delegates’ discussions were informed by an informal note by the Co-Facilitators with four options. Several parties and groups expressed their preference for maintaining stand-alone processes for the CTCN review and the periodic assessment of the Technology Mechanism under the COP and the CMA but aligning their periodicity. They indicated that this option aligns with the agreed elements of effectiveness, efficiency, complementarity, and avoiding duplication of work. A developing country group proposed to defer this agenda item to future meetings in the interest of time. Two developed countries supported the option of maintaining stand-alone processes without any alignment, underscoring their preference to close this item, opposed by one party that noted the mandate of considering alignment between the two processes. The Co-Facilitators will prepare a draft text for further consultations.
In the Corridors
The seams of the tents connecting buildings at the venue strained as a rush of delegates and media arrived for the World Leaders Summit. Rarely has a COP venue felt so full and near-chaotic, perhaps particularly so because of the smaller lives many led during the pandemic. Outside, the queues to enter also bulged. Many attendees faced up to two hours in line to enter the venue, prompting comparisons with Copenhagen, and delays to the start of formal negotiations on issues inside the venue. Nonetheless, alongside leaders’ speeches, negotiations did kick off in earnest, with new iterations of draft text on several issues promised for rapid delivery.
Despite the hectic hallways, observer access to the negotiations remained restricted. One of the fortunate ticketed observers expressed frustration that “little new was announced.” India and Thailand announced new net zero targets. The Republic of Korea said it would increase the ambition of its NDC and the US announced its long-term strategy towards net zero. Many leaders from developing countries called for the rapid delivery of long-promised finance – Prime Minister Modi put the figure at a trillion, as soon as possible. Apart from announcements by Spain and the US on new contributions to the Adaptation Fund, little new money was announced. It remains unclear how, or if, the leaders’ words will influence the negotiations that lie ahead.
Negotiators expected many, many more words as they anticipated a late night ahead to pore over the new draft texts on Article 6 and loss and damage. After exchanging views on Article 6 for a total of 48 hours in 2021, despite the constraints of the pandemic, most negotiators appeared determined to “get down to real work and show the world we are here to deliver.”