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Insights from COP26: Day 8 - Adaption, Loss and Damage Day

By Andrew Adie
08 November 2021
Green & Good (ESG and Impact)

By Andrew Adie

Day eight and the start of week two is arguably the point where COP26 becomes a real diplomatic slog.

The world leaders have come and gone, many of the key announcements have been made (with some significant progress and the IEA calculating that the commitments made so far, if implemented, would cut global warming to 1.8C). Now the tough negotiations are really hitting their stride.

If the aim of COP26 (to keep ‘1.5 alive’) is to be realised, then we need to see countries committing to faster and deeper carbon cuts and we need a breakthrough on diplomatically tortuous issues such as Article 6.

Article 6 was a point of much debate today, as it lays the foundation for a global carbon pricing and carbon trading regime that either has the potential to enable us to put a value on protecting nature, allow countries to pay to offset carbon outputs and channel funds to developing nations; or to provide a playbook for greenwashing – depending on how the final agreement looks.

Agreeing Article 6 has eluded negotiators since 2009 and getting agreement on it will be a key metric for success at COP26.

The other ongoing topic for debate on adaption loss and resilience day was the need for the G20 countries to meet the broken promise to deliver $100bn a year in financial support to developing nations to enable them to meet the cost of adapting to a net zero world. The UK today announced that it would give an additional £290m a year but the full $100bn funding has still not been pledged.

The weekend also brought 100,000 people onto the streets of Glasgow for the Global Day of Climate Justice with the broad consensus that COP26 hasn’t yet delivered enough and that the politicians need to work harder.

Into this atmosphere strode Barak Obama. Greeted by crowds, cheering and a reception that most serving global leaders would pray for, Barak Obama’s message to the world, and to COP26, was simple: We need to do more, we need to move faster and we’re running out of time. He pledged that America was back and called on world leaders and negotiators to be ambitious and was critical of Russia and China for failing to play a full role in the Conference.

He also praised the world’s youth for standing up and demanding faster action and called on voters (particularly young voters) to be more activist – to put pressure on governments to deliver decarbonisation targets and do more to protect the planet. His closing comment: "I’m ready for the long haul if you are, so let’s get to work," suggests he intends to continue his leadership on these issues. The only mar on an otherwise powerful return to the global stage were tweets from activists repeating again that they had no access to the COP26 venues, so they couldn’t directly listen to his message for the world’s youth.

To add to the pressure on delegates, Global Witness has released analysis today showing that there are more delegates from the fossil fuel industry at COP26 than there are from any single country.

While week one saw some strong progress and a feeling that COP26 had got off to a better start than many feared, with a strong focus on solutions and the role of the private sector in driving forward the transition to net zero, week two is shaping up to remind us all that more needs to be done if Glasgow is to deliver real impact in the battle to ‘keep 1.5 alive’.

The coming days will be crucial and the pressure is growing.