route zero

Hot topics from COP26 on how to save our Earth

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November 15, 2021 - The final outcome

Intended to conclude last Friday, the COP26 negotiations continued until Saturday. With the aim of capping global temperature rises at 1.5°C, world leaders worked throughout the night to reach the best conclusion.

Here are some of the main points agreed on the final day:

  • Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) were found to be inadequate, given the time limits the climate faces. India was the only major emitter that produced NDCs falling in line with the 1.5°C goal. NDCs will be further discussed at next year’s climate conference, in Egypt.
  • Developing countries were promised an increased investment of $500 billion, over the next five years. This is to help them adapt to climate change.
  • All countries will be required to report against a common framework, by 2024. This is to ensure the verification and assessment of progress on pledges.
  • $20 billion was pledged in commitments of public and private money for global forest protection.
  • The “phase-down of unabated coal” was widely criticised. Developing countries were left to feel even more vulnerable. By refusing to take urgent action on emission-heavy fuels such as coal, developing countries may face an accelerated loss of homes, livelihoods, land and infrastructure.

Secretary General of the UN Antonio Guterres said: “The COP26 outcome is a compromise, reflecting the interests, contradictions and state of political will in the world today. It’s an important step, but it’s not enough. It’s time to go into emergency mode. The climate battle is the fight of our lives and that fight must be won.

And that brings the conference to a close. Thanks for joining us!

If you’d like to start your route to net zero, get in touch to find out how EIC can help you with your carbon management.

November 12, 2021 - Second draft agreement described as “disappointing”

World leaders worked throughout the night to produce a second draft of the final COP26 agreement. But while this draft has called for much tighter deadlines of net zero targets and reduced emissions, it has nevertheless been described as “disappointing”. This is due to the way it has watered down other issues.

Commitments to end the use of coal and fossil fuels have not been sufficiently dealt with in this draft document. Developing countries have also drawn attention to the lack of drive to fulfil the earlier promise of $100 billion per year from richer countries, to help with adaptations.

World leaders are calling for more specific targets and time limits on the previously discussed agreements. To try and limit rising temperatures to anywhere near the originally agreed 1.5°C, countries must cut emissions and become net zero, closer to the 2030 target.

Developing countries forced to take the lead

India has spoken out at the conference this afternoon, referring to its “deep disappointment” at the lack of significant progress on finance agenda items. More support is needed from richer countries, if developing countries are to ever adapt to changing climates.

While there was consensus from several countries to invest $100 billion per year in developing countries by 2020, this target has still not been met. Meaning that poorer countries, who often release the least emissions, are most in peril when it comes to climate change.

India’s representative also reminded the wealthier nations that they must phase out fossil fuels and coal as soon as they can. For the sake of India and other countries in a similar position, as well as the planet as a whole.

Final text must include a proposed end to ‘unabated coal’

US climate envoy John Kerry has said that the final draft of the agreement must put an end to ‘unabated coal’ and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. ‘Unabated coal’ refers to the use of coal that isn’t mitigated by technologies that reduce CO₂ emissions (such as Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage).

The latest draft proposal, released this morning, calls on countries to accelerate “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.”

Kerry said that the US “are the largest oil and gas producer in the world and we have some of those subsidies”. He also added that US President Joe Biden had put legislation in place to stop this.

He went on to say: “We’re struggling for money, but $2.5tn in the last five years, six years, went into fossil fuel. That’s the definition of insanity – we’re there feeding the very problem we’re here trying to solve.”

What’s happened so far today?

COP26 President Alok Sharma is set to deliver a press release later today. But before we hear from him, let’s take a look what has happened so far today:

  • Overnight, key architects from the Paris climate deal informed world leaders that they must take serious action to reduce their emissions at a faster rate.
  • Campaigners and civil society groups staged a walkout at the COP26 venue this morning, condemning the legitimacy and lack of ambition.
  • A second draft of the summit agreement was released, encouraging countries to set more ambitious net zero targets.
  • Civil society groups have put forward 10 declarations calling on countries to pay climate debt, invest in green finance and acknowledge loss and damage.

A recap of what has been agreed so far

The past two weeks has seen many agreements, and even more proposals, from countries willing to fight climate change. And while there have been several steps in the right direction, smaller countries are now looking towards larger nations to take the lead.

The US and China are two of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. While it is important that all countries change their carbon habits, it is vital that these two countries agree to find ways to limit their impact on the environment.

So, what has been agreed so far?

  • More than 100 countries have agreed to stop deforestation by 2030. Including Brazil, home to the Amazon rainforest.
  • The US and EU have pledged to cut methane levels by 2030.
  • The US and China have agreed to work together, with the aim of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°
  • A number of countries have committed to investing money, to help developing countries adapt to climate change.
  • More than 40 countries have pledged to reduce their reliance on coal as an energy source.

Draft agreement inching forward negotiations

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the draft COP agreement published this morning is inching forward negotiations. But she has also called for more commitment to the previously agreed $100 billion per year, pledged to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Sturgeon also touched on being far off-track from the global warming limit of 1.5°C. Earlier this week, we heard from the Climate Action Tracker who warned that we are on an uphill trajectory, despite the pledges made at the summit.

Sturgeon said: “We’re still on track for a world of 2.4°C global warming, for many parts of the world that is a death sentence.”

What to look out for today:

What’s planned for today?

Today is the final day of COP26. Negotiations will take place to reach a collective conclusion on the final draft of the agreement.

What to look out for?

Finance talks will continue to take prominence today, as leaders commit to investing in developing countries. Negotiations on all of the topics laid out this fortnight have been discussed overnight, in the hopes that a stronger final draft of the agreement will be produced.

There is also an urgency for countries to increase their net zero plans and reach their targets by 2030. This is in the hope that climate warming can be capped at 1.5°C.

UN Secretary General António Guterres told the Associated Press news agency that this warming limit goal was on “life support”.

How will it affect you?

Once the terms of the final draft have been agreed, countries will need to take effective and efficient action. This will mean more legislation and commitments for businesses, councils and housing.

November 11, 2021 - UN Secretary General warns that the world is on track for “well above 2°C”

As the penultimate day of the climate conference comes to an end, panic is beginning to set in. World leaders have announced that much more must be done before tomorrow’s final day. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the world remains “on track for catastrophic temperature rise well above 2°C”.

For the world to achieve its original goal of limiting temperatures to 1.5°C, global emissions would have to be cut by 45%, by 2030 at the latest. Even with the pledges made this week, this target seems extremely ambitious.

Guterres also said: “net zero pledges require rapid, sustained emissions cuts this decade.”

COP26 President Alok Sharma holds press conference

Following today’s talks on Cities, Regions and Built Environments, COP26 President Alok Sharma addressed a press conference. He began by expressing that time really is running out. While the conference closes tomorrow evening, Sharma said that “we are not there yet on the most critical issues”.

Sharma went on to encourage ministerial co-facilitators, other ministers and negotiators, who are “rolling their sleeves up” to accelerate finance. And he insisted that limiting climate warming to 1.5°C is still a possibility, despite the Climate Action Tracker dismissing this goal.

World leaders will be circulating another draft cover of the summit agreement this evening. This will hopefully urge ambition and global change.

He agreed that the first draft of the agreement was ambitious, to say the least. But Sharma said that the UK has come “a very long way in terms of our transition on clean energy,” and will continue to strive towards net zero. In turn leading other countries towards their net zero targets.

Climate finance must be targeted

The UK government’s COP26 spokeswoman, Allegra Stratton, says that the issue of climate finance “needs a push”. Climate finance was discussed in depth during the first week of the conference. This is the amount of money that richer countries have pledged to invest in developing countries, to help them cope with climate change.

Wealthier nations had previously agreed to pay $100 billion a year to developing countries, by 2020. But this pledge was pushed back to 2023. Both Stratton and COP26 President Alok Sharma have expressed disappointment at this delay. And continue to apply pressure, to extract the maximum possible finance.

Stratton said: “The thing about this COP, this is the first crank of the ratchet. This is the moment of truth. Paris was fantastic and a beautiful historic moment but it was an agreement we would come back with evidence that all countries wanted to bring down carbon emissions.”

“In the next 36 hours we will reveal whether we’ve all got what it takes,” she continued.

New global alliance pledges to end oil and gas production

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) launched today. Led by Denmark and Costa Rica, alliance members set a date for when they will stop producing fossil fuels. They have pledged to also ban permits for the extraction or exploration of new oil and gas.

So far, other members of the alliance include:

  • France
  • Greenland
  • Ireland
  • Québec
  • Sweden
  • Wales

Many of these countries, such as Greenland, currently have large reserves of unexplored fossil fuels.

Halting oil and gas exploration in these territories could be a significant step in the right direction. But large producers of fossil fuels such as the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia have yet to join this pledge. This serves as a reminder that we still have a long way to go before we can cut out oil and gas completely.

Portugal, California and New Zealand did not quite agree with everything in the pledge, and are currently ‘associate members’. But these countries have committed to taking “significant concrete steps” to curb oil and gas production.

Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s minister for climate, energy and utilities, said: “Our goal is not small, our ambition is not modest. We hope today will mark the beginning of the end of oil and gas.”

How can cities prevent further climate change?

Cities are some of the biggest polluters of the atmosphere. And this in turn means they will suffer the direst consequences. More than 90% of all urban areas are coastal. And by 2050, more than 800 million urban residents could be affected by rising sea levels, as well as coastal flooding.

1.6 billion people could also fall victim to chronic extreme heat, while 650 million could face water scarcity.

To prevent any further harm to the environment, cities must lay out a net zero roadmap. Installing infrastructure, embracing green tech and cutting high-carbon activities. There are just some of the ways cities can help to reduce their emissions.

Following yesterday’s discussions on transport, cities have pledged to put measures in place to reduce emissions. More city bikes, scooters and extended cycle lanes in cities around the world. The UK’s railway networks are also working towards becoming more accessible and sustainable, with green tech and lower fares. This should encourage residents to choose greener transport options.

Reducing energy use in our homes to help future generations

Housing makes up a significant percentage of UK emissions. It is important that we regulate and reduce the carbon footprint of our homes.

At EIC, we were able to assist award-winning housing association Poplar HARCA with this issue. Poplar HARCA wanted a better understanding of their carbon footprint and to ensure compliance with legislation such as SECR.

EIC were able to help future proof its business, through carbon reporting and identifying the best solutions for a net zero journey.

We delivered a clear and concise roadmap on how to achieve net zero emissions. This will play a crucial role in the housing association’s energy strategy. Leading them towards future sustainable growth.

Get in touch to find out more about how EIC can help you future proof your business and strive towards net zero.

Cities across the world create over 70% energy-related emissions

One of the focus points at today’s climate conference will be how cities can reduce their carbon emissions. Cities are responsible for 71-76% of energy-related CO₂ emissions. This must change urgently.

Described as the “sleeping giant” of carbon emissions, this sector is often disregarded in the discussions on climate change. These emissions are generated through activities such as the construction of buildings, manufacturing of building materials (including steel and concrete) and the movement of people, goods and services.

UK homes are responsible for 40% of the nation’s carbon emissions. And for the country to remain a sustainability leader, these emissions must be reduced considerably.

What to look out for today:​

What’s planned for today?

Today’s theme of Cities, Regions and Built Environment will focus on advancing action in communities, to create routes to net zero. There will also be more talks and negotiations on the first draft of the summit’s final deal.

What to look out for?

Climate finance will be a continuous talking point today. Negotiations will take place on green economies. And how they help countries to cope with the impact of extreme weather abnormalities. With UK homes responsible for 40% of the country’s carbon emissions, the discussions around Cities, Regions and Built Environments will be vital.

How will it affect you?

Working together to deliver change will be essential, following the discussions held at COP26. Businesses and housing make up a significant percentage of cities and regions. It is for this reason that they must find ways of becoming as sustainable as possible. Whether this is cutting emissions through installing infrastructure, or embracing green energy change is urgently needed.

November 10, 2021 - EU’s Green Deal plan includes promoting green mobility

In a bid to make Europe a climate neutral continent by 2050, the EU’s ‘Green Deal’ plan is set to promote green mobility. To reach this ambitious goal, transport emissions must be cut by 90%.

Many cities around the world have incorporated bikes and scooters into their transport networks, and reduced bus fares. With the increase in cycling, European cities such as Berlin, Paris and Milan have also extended cycle lanes. Aimed at encouraging cyclists to choose this medium for all journeys. Since the beginning of 2020, 14 out of 27 EU countries have added at least one tax incentive, in an effort to boost cycling.

And while cycling is not practical or accessible for all, changes are also being made to public transport in cities across Europe. Cutting fares, adding routes and boosting sustainable infrastructure are a few of the ways that authorities are encouraging people to choose a greener route to work or school. These are aimed at helping reduce their countries carbon footprint and strive towards net zero targets.

The importance of an effective carbon management plan

Having a structurally sound carbon management plan is essential for your business, as it strives towards net zero targets. And following COP26, efficient shifts towards sustainability are vital.

A carbon management plan is a strategy created by a business, which helps them to organise its carbon reduction objectives. By putting in place a carbon management roadmap, businesses can easily track their progress and reset future targets.

At EIC, our carbon solutions team worked with Joy Global to better understand their emissions and ensure compliance with carbon legislation. We helped Joy Global to collect consumption data for both of their sites, and their vehicle fleets. We also assisted them in becoming compliant with key legislation, such as ESOS Phase 2 and SECR.

Get in touch to find out more about how EIC can help you with your carbon management and legislation compliance.

UK’s Environment Bill passes into law after two years

Following a battle over sewage levels in rivers, the UK government’s Environment Bill has finally been approved by Parliament. Originally rejected by ministers, the government put forward its own alternative. It was hoped that the bill would be passed before COP26, but it has only become law as of today.

The Environment Act establishes a green watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) to hold public authorities and ministers to account.

The Act also requires the government to produce a statutory plan to reduce sewage pollution. Environment Agency figures have shown that water companies discharged raw sewage into rivers more than 400,000 times last year, with untreated waste. A total of £1.1 billion is being invested by water companies, to improve storm overflows over the next five years. This comes as part of a wider £5 billion programme of environmental improvements.

By taking more care about what is released into our water systems, we can help to protect eco-systems and general public health.

UK rail unions call for increase in spending on rail services and infrastructure

The UK’s rail unions have called for significant spending on infrastructure and cuts to fares. This is in a bid to encourage people to shift from travelling in their cars, to using zero carbon trains. By making sustainable transportation options more accessible, the UK could reduce its transport emissions considerably.

Implementing these proposals will also generate more jobs within the railway industry. The Scottish Organiser with the TSSA union, Gary Kelly, said that the UK government proposed cutting up to 10,000 rail jobs nation-wide. By making railways more sustainable, more eco-conscious passengers will be attracted. More jobs will be created and there will be less reliance on cars and roads.

Glaswegians have also gathered in the city centre, to protest against the lack of integrated and affordable bus and rail services in their city.

How is the UK tackling transport emissions?

Earlier this year, the UK government announced that no new fossil fuelled vehicles would be sold after 2040. The government has also proposed a ban on the sale of smaller diesel trucks from 2035, and larger diesel trucks by 2040. These measures are further helping the UK to stay ahead, as a leader in sustainability.

Despite the UK making significant strides, COP26 President Alok Sharma warned that there was “still a mountain to climb”. So, today we will see how other countries intend to progress with tackling transport emissions.

Major car manufacturing brands including Ford, General Motors and Mercedes, have also promised to work towards 100% zero emission vehicles by 2035. Cities and local government have also pledged to make the shift towards zero emissions by the same date.

Draft of agreement for the summit released

The UN has published the first draft of a potential agreement for the summit, known as the ‘COP cover decision’. The document is currently seven pages long and urges countries to “revisit and strengthen” their net zero targets. This urgency comes after scientists revealed that even with the pledges made at COP26, temperatures will hit 2.4°C at the end of the century.

It has become clear that to cap the temperature rise at 1.5°C, countries must improve their carbon cutting plans. The document will also refer to the $100 billion a year in climate finance, that was promised to developing countries. The cover decision also outlines steps for a much larger sum from 2025, although this amount is as yet unspecified.

The draft agreement also encourages countries to:

  • Accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel power
  • Set out specific strategies to achieve net zero targets by 2030
  • Take meaningful action to limit global warming to 1.5°C, as previously agreed under the Paris climate accord

22 governments and European Commission announce plans to incorporate clean energy

A global initiative, comprising of 22 countries and the European Commission, has announced that it will work to invest in clean energy technologies. This is to help reduce carbon emissions created by large industries.

The announcement, described as a “breakthrough”, will be based on various missions. These missions will help to facilitate urban transitions, eliminate emissions from industry, enable CO₂ removal and produce renewable fuels. This is part of Mission Innovation, a project which will bring governments together with international organisations and private sector investors.

Following an announcement earlier today, warning of increasing temperatures, pledges such as this one could have a huge effect on protecting the Earth.

What to look out for today:​

What’s planned for today?

Global transport emissions increased by less than 0.5% in 2019. This is actually a considerable improvement – since 2000, there has been a year-on-year increase in emissions of 1.9%. But more must be done to reduce emission levels further. Talks today will touch on zero emission vehicles, the generation of new jobs and cleaner air in cities.

What to look out for?

The UN has released its first draft of the potential summit agreement, known as the “cover decision”. This has been drawn up in the hope of continuing pledges to cap temperature levels at 1.5°C. Announcements are also expected around hydrogen and shipping.

How will it affect you?

Countries will encourage businesses to commit to ensuring all new car and van sales are zero emissions by 2035. Making this transition will not only significantly lower business’s emission levels, it will also increase their green credentials. This could lead to a wider range of more environmentally-aware clients.

November 9, 2021 - How can you protect the environment from the comfort of your home?

While significant changes must be made at a higher corporate level, there are many ways that you can incorporate sustainable practices into your daily life. Having a thorough understanding of your carbon footprint is the first step towards reducing it.

Once you have identified where you use the most energy, you can correct wasteful habits. There are several ways you can bring more sustainable routines into your daily life, including:

  • Walking, running, cycling or taking public transport rather than driving
  • Avoid buying products packaged in single-use plastics
  • Using reusable products such as coffee cups and food containers
  • Remembering to reuse, reduce, recycle

It is in everyone’s best interests to protect our planet. Even the best interests of a generation yet to be born.

Global warming could reach highs of 2.4°C despite COP26 pledges

Despite pledges made at this year’s climate conference, it has been predicted that the world is still incredibly far from reaching its green goals. Scientists have announced that the Earth will warm to 2.4°C by the end of the century, rather than the initially predicted 1.5°C.

While last week saw many countries committing to end deforestation and cutting methane levels, it seems that much more must be done. As temperatures rise by even a minuscule degree, weather changes become heightened, putting people at risk of dangerous and unpredictable abnormalities.

Many countries have pledged to reach net zero targets between 2050 and 2070. But this may already be too late. Without change during the years leading up to 2030, the world may be in serious danger of more irreversible climate changes.

A Climate Action Tracker has been observing promises made by world leaders, both before and during COP26. It has noted that the conference: “has a massive credibility, action and commitment gap”. And if we are to even attempt to achieve a warming limit of 1.5°C, we have to correct these gaps.

Climate change is a feminist issue

Nicola Sturgeon has focused today’s talks on how climate action can help to promote gender equality.

“We must make sure that the experiences of women and girls across the world, so often disproportionately impacted by climate change, are understood as we devise the solutions,” she said.

Women across the world repeatedly fall victim to gender inequality in many different forms. Laws, employment and general attitude can often limit women’s opportunities to better themselves, and the world around them. But female world leaders are now trying to change that by encouraging women and girls of all ages to participate in bettering the environment.

More than one billion people could face dangerous heat if warming reaches 2°C

Met Office scientists say that more than one billion people could face dangerous levels of heat stress, if global warming reaches 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Heat stress is a combination of heat and humidity. It is determined by a wet bulb globe temperature of above 32°C. This is a measurement that takes into account temperature, humidity, wind speed and solar radiation. Heat stress can cause sufferers to experience serious physical symptoms, such as heat exhaustion and a strain on the organs including the heart and lungs.

68 million people around the world are currently impacted by extreme heat stress. And as climate temperatures continue to rise, so will this threat to public health.

Women and children more displaced by climate change than men

The UN estimates that 80% of people that have been displaced by climate change are women. The 2015 Paris Agreement has made specific provision for the empowerment of women.

Indigenous groups in particular see women who are the primary care-givers, fall victim to the effects of climate change more than men. This is because women tend to have responsibility for tasks such as collecting water, and foraging in harsh weather conditions brought on by the climate crisis.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon joined other female world leaders to call for more women and girls to be involved in climate change.

They released a statement at the start of COP26 stating: “We believe that the fight against climate change must be closely connected to the fight against gender inequality, and agree that ensuring women’s and girls’ leadership is vital if global efforts to tackle climate change are to succeed.”

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by climate change, facing greater risks and burdens from its impacts, particularly in situations of poverty.”

Climate change will kill more than the pandemic if we don’t act​

The UK government’s scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said that climate change will kill far more people than any pandemic, if left unaddressed. Much like Covid-19, science will hold an important place in preventing further environmental damage.

Although today’s talks will focus on science and innovation, Sir Vallance took this moment to remind listeners that we cannot rely solely on technology. It is important that we continue to improve on climate science and further technology. But people, businesses and countries must make changes to their daily lives if we are to have any hope of reaching a greener future.

He went on to say: “In the pandemic it took a concerted worldwide effort to come up with vaccines, drug treatments… understanding what behavioural change is necessary. The same is true for the climate.”

What to look out for today:​

What’s planned for today?

Gender, science and innovation will be the topics of focus at today’s discussions. It is essential that countries around the world develop solutions to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

What to look out for?

Six region-led visions are set to be unveiled during today’s talks. Developed through dialogue between academics and citizens, these visions imagine what a net zero world could be like.

There will also be opportunities to explore the environmental benefits of a net zero future during today’s conversations.

How will it affect you?

Sectors across the world are working on technologies to step up to the increased demand for innovation. New technologies will be essential in the efforts to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Aside from focusing on science and innovation, the talks today will also touch on progressing gender equality. Discussions on gender equality aim to ensure the full participation of women and girls, in the efforts to battle climate change.

November 8, 2021 - What do developing countries want from COP26?

While developing countries have historically contributed the least emissions, they have also suffered some of the worst consequences of global warming. So, it is important that they have a big say in what happens at COP26.

During the last 50 years, weather abnormalities such as flash floods, forest fires and droughts have been occurring at an alarming rate. Particularly in less developed countries. Establishing and distributing climate finance is the first step in getting these countries ready for the changing climate.

These countries are calling for the fulfilment of a $100 billion yearly pledge from wealthier nations.  This will help them to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. They also want agreement on reaching net zero targets by 2050, to acknowledge the loss and damage they have experienced. These steps are just the beginning in every country pulling together to reach a net zero future.

What can we take away from Obama’s speech?

Former US President Barack Obama addressed world leaders at COP26 today. He opened by stating that “when it comes to climate, time really is running out”. While he praised the “meaningful progress” that has been made since the Paris Agreement in 2015, he acknowledged that the world is still falling short of its goals.

Obama went on to declare that the “US is back” under the new administration – referring to the fact that former President Trump had pulled out of the Paris Agreement. He also said that President Biden’s new infrastructure bill will create jobs. As well as helping the US to achieve its target of a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, by 2030.

Going on to address young people, Obama says: “I want you to stay angry, I want you to stay frustrated. But channel that anger, harness that frustration.” Once again touching on the idea that we are working towards a future for generations to come.

He ended his speech by encouraging the world to step up as quickly as it can. “There are times where I am doubtful that humanity can get its act together before it is too late,” he remarked. Calling for more action from every corner of the world, the Hawaiian-born former leader used his speech both to encourage, and to warn.

Fossil fuel industry brings largest delegation to COP26

Following an assessment of the participant list at COP26, campaigners have found that there are more fossil fuel delegates than delegates from any single country. As many as 503 people are attending the conference with links to fossil fuel interests.

The participation of these delegates has been described as “an arsonist at a firefighters’ convention” by campaigners. And they have called for these attendees to be banned from the discussions. Half of the world’s fossil fuel assets may become worthless by 2036, but these assets are currently a huge issue in the bid to prevent further climate change.

To put it in perspective, about 40,000 people are attending the conference. While Brazil has the biggest official team of negotiators, with 479 delegates.

What are adaptation measures and how do they affect your business?

With the world focusing on preventing further climate change, it is important that countries also realise that change is already happening. And so, we must adapt accordingly.

Adaptation measures are environmental, social and economic adjustments in response to the current climate crisis. They aim to manage climate risk to an acceptable level. Allowing a business time to sketch out plans to improve implementation and curb greenhouse emissions.

While businesses have acknowledged climate change in some form, many are yet to establish adaptation strategies. If businesses don’t adapt and mitigate to become more sustainable, the world will experience more natural disaster and extreme weather events.

COP26 has called for ‘action on adaptation’s’ to reduce emissions.

These actions include:

  • Plans and more finance to be put in place.
  • Protecting and restoring habitats.
  • All countries to produce an ‘Adaptation Communication’.

Setting emissions reductions targets is just the start of your journey

Countries across the world are putting roadmaps in place to meet their net zero targets. This tactic is also essential for businesses that want to future-proof themselves. Setting your emission reductions targets (also known as science-based targets) could help businesses accelerate towards their net zero goals and trigger a boost to the economy.

But identifying these targets is just the first step in your journey towards net zero. To reach your emissions reduction targets, you should set out a balanced and easy to navigate road map. This includes tracking your emissions, reducing greenhouse gases and reporting progress.

EIC assisted our client Poplar Harca in achieving a deeper understanding of their carbon footprint. We were able to help future-proof their organisation as they took the next step towards sustainability. This was achieved through thorough data analysis, carbon reporting and identifying the best energy saving solutions.

Not only will working towards and achieving these targets benefit the environment, it will also help your business to attain corporate social responsibility credentials. In turn boosting profit, while reducing waste and cutting emissions.

Learn more about the next steps after setting your emissions reduction targets, in our blog.

What to look out for today:​

What’s planned for today?

Today’s discussions will focus on how the world can practically and efficiently adapt to climate impacts. This will also include addressing the loss and damage in the worst affected countries.

What to look out for?

There will be more talk on green finance today. World leaders will look at how they can help poorer countries better adapt to a changing climate. Deliveries on climate finance promises are essential if countries are to pull together and fight to better the environment.

How will it affect you?

Having a better understanding of adaptation measures is vital for countries and businesses to strive towards a greener future. Preparing yourself and future proofing your business means getting to grips with the changes that are to come.

What we can take away from last week at COP26

Last week, COP26 discussions packed in a lot of information and proposals, covering many topics. It was clear from the start that this year’s talks would focus on preventing further climate issues for generations to come. Boris Johnson warned world leaders that they will be judged with “bitterness and resentment” by future generations if they don’t prevent further environmental harm.

Significant proposals then started to follow. This included many countries pledging to end deforestation by 2030. And several others followed in President Biden’s footsteps in an agreement to reduce methane levels.

After the first two days of the summit, the conference jumped straight into finance. Throughout the day, many highlighted issues in the global financing system and the topic of green investment was targeted. The UK Chancellor then went on to call for countries to start investing in a low carbon future. This green investing will be collected and distributed to poorer countries that have felt significant effects of both climate change and the pandemic.

Clean energy was the next topic for the conference to dissect. This began with a focus on the coal industry. A group of 190 countries have pledged to make the move away from coal. And while this is a significant step in the right direction, the biggest coal-dependent countries such as the US and India refused to agree to this.

Friday and Saturday then saw a more refined focus on the generations that these pledges will affect. Several talks were given by young climate activists. And the streets of Glasgow also saw speeches from activists including Greta Thunberg. The conference continues this week with the hope that more proposals will be made that change countries across the world for the better. Much of the talks will also focus around how global warming can be limited to 1.5°.

November 5, 2021 - New climate award for schools

To bring climate conversations into classrooms, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has proposed a series of new measures. These include a Climate Leaders Award recognising efforts to protect the environment.

Much like the Duke of Edinburgh Award, pupils will be able to progress through bronze, silver and gold levels. These levels will include extracurricular activities such as volunteering.

Staff will also be supported in teaching about nature and children’s impact on the world through a “model science curriculum“. This is to be implemented in 2023.

How can businesses help to protect the environment for future generations?

Businesses across the world play a huge part in each country reaching their net zero targets. And in turn, securing a greener future for younger generations. Aside from making vital changes on a larger corporate scale, there are also many ways businesses can make changes to improve daily office life.

Incorporating green energy systems such as LED lighting, solar panels and on-site battery storage can significantly reduce a businesses carbon footprint. Before installing sustainable technology, it is important that businesses understand where they are using and wasting the most energy. By carrying out an audit they can identify which system would benefit their specific needs.

At EIC, we offer energy saving solutions including LED lighting and smart procurement. Our energy and water audits can help you understand which areas of your business need adjusting. Get in touch to find out how EIC can help your business with protecting the environment for future generations.

How schools and universities can ease students’ eco-anxiety

With the climate crisis worsening, it is important that we acknowledge the anxieties younger generations may hold towards their future. It is vital that these anxieties are addressed as people of all ages come together to help prevent further climate issues.

Young people are ready to make a difference in the world, but they need to understand what is going on in the world around them. It is important that an education in climate issues is easily accessible. Schools and universities can also put in place practices to help ease students’ mind that their carbon footprint is reducing. Practices like:

  • Setting up environmental societies for students and staff
  • Becoming zero waste
  • Offering sustainable transport
  • Making recycling receptacles easily accessible
  • Reducing energy consumption

Boris Johnson spoke on the first day of the conference about the importance of healing the Earth for future generations. When speaking about generations to come, he said: “They will judge us with bitterness and a resentment that eclipses any of the climate activists of today, and they will be right. COP26 cannot be the end of the story on climate change.”

What to look out for today:​

What’s planned for today?

Today’s discussions will focus on youth and future generations. World leaders will elevate the voices of young people through a focus on the importance of education in climate change. There will also be several marches and speeches outside of the summit by young activists including Greta Thunberg.

What to look out for?

Inside the conference, we will hear from several young speakers on how climate change is affecting their lives. Many are also expecting announcements on climate education in schools.

How will it affect you?

Teaching children about climate change is essential in making a change. By helping young people to understand the issues that are affecting our planet, they can get skills, values and knowledge to help build a climate resilient future. Incorporating climate conversations into the curriculum, will also help children put environmentally friendly structures into day-to-day life from an early age.

November 4, 2021 - “Coal is no longer the king”

Earlier today, 190 countries pledged to edge away from using power generated by coal. Britain’s COP26 President, Alok Sharma, has revealed that so far during the conference, £13 billion has been pledged to go towards a transition from coal to clean energy.

According to the IEA, the burning of coal produces 27% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. If we are in with any hope of limiting the climate warming to 1.8°C, this must reduce considerably.

Alongside 20 other governments, the UK has pledged to phase out its use of coal-fired power and stop building plants. Despite China and the US refusing to sign any coal related deal, Sharma insisted that the “end of coal is in sight”.

COP26 pledges signal 1.8°C of global warming

We are now halfway through the first week of COP26 negotiations. So far, some hopeful structures have been set out for the future through agreements and pledges from world leaders. The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, announced that only if all pledges are honoured will the increase in warming be limited to 1.8°C. These pledges include agreements on carbon neutrality and cutting methane levels.

Before COP26, the UN published an analysis that explained that even with pledges the world’s climate would warm by a staggering 2.7°C.

When discussing the considerable difference in temperatures, Fatih Birol said: “the result is extremely encouraging. If all the pledges on carbon neutrality and methane pledges were to be fully implemented, we would have a temperature increase trajectory which is 1.8°C. This is excellent.” 

What benefits will green energy bring for businesses?

Renewable energy is the future. Discussions at COP26 have solidified the importance of incorporating green energy and technology. Aside from environmental, economic and social benefits, green energy will enable businesses to future-proof themselves.

What’s more, utilising natural resources will guarantee a steady flow of energy for businesses. This is in contrast to fossil fuel power, which will eventually run out.

Solar energy, LED lighting and on-site battery storage are some of the installations that have already made a significant impact on CO₂ levels. During discussions yesterday, world leaders pledged to invest in poorer countries green funds. Reassuring these countries that they will receive investments to enable them to implement green energy and technology. Read more on how EIC can help businesses install and benefit from solar panel technology in our blog.

Countries are committing to cutting coal

A group of 190 countries have pledged to make the move away from coal. This includes some major coal-using countries such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile. The signatories have agreed to end all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally.

The pledge also includes plans to phase out coal power in the 2030s for major economies. And the 2040s for poorer countries. Several major banks have also agreed to stop financing the coal industry.

While this is a significant step in the right direction, some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent countries have not signed the pledge. This includes Australia, India, China and the US.

The UK has been making steady progress in reducing its coal use. 10 years ago, around 40% of the UK’s electricity was generated through coal, and today that number has dropped to 1%. And although coal has been consistently reduced globally, it still produced around 37% of the world’s electricity in 2019. Meaning these agreements must be strictly followed if any real progress is to occur.

What to look out for today:​

What’s planned for today?

World leaders will spend today discussing how to accelerate the global transition to clean energy. Following financial negotiations yesterday, clean energy plans to fund poorer countries will be laid out.

What to look out for?

Advances on clean fuel such as hydrogen are set to help curb the release of further CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere. These alternatives will be a hot topic of discussion today. 40 countries have also pledged to quit coal. But some of the largest coal-using countries, such as Australia and the US are yet to sign the agreement.

How will it affect you?

Incorporating green energy into businesses and homes across the world could cut carbon emissions significantly. The UK government have released a steady stream of legislation surrounding CO₂ levels as we strive towards net zero. And following the decisions made during COP26, we can expect more guidance and regulations to help businesses move towards a greener future.

November 3, 2021 - Sports organisations to go net zero by 2040

Leading sports organisations, including FIFA, have pledged to meet new climate change targets.

These targets include reaching net zero by 2040 and halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. New and existing members of the Sports for Climate Action Framework will be required to adopt these targets.

The framework was launched in 2018, although specific targets were notably absent. Rather, it committed signatories to five principles – including promoting greater environmental responsibility. So, this significant pledge will accelerate the sports sector towards a greener future.

It will bring together athletes, organisations and entire communities to consider their roles in preventing further harm to the environment. Signatories also include the International Olympic Committee, BBC Sport and the Premier League.

Find out more about the sports sectors route to net zero in our blog.

How does the UK Autumn 2021 Budget align with COP26?

Last month, the UK Chancellor announced the Autumn 2021 Budget. This announcement revealed several new proposals for the UK’s green economy and measures to tackle the ongoing climate crisis. With the aim of creating an economy “fit for a new age of optimism”, the budget is set to help the country boost wages, increase productivity and progress towards a greener future.

Some of the most significant proposals in the budget concern government loan schemes. The state-backed recovery loan scheme will be extended so that it can continue to assist businesses still feeling the effects of the pandemic. The funding will also help businesses to incorporate innovative, technologically advanced green assets.

For businesses previously deterred by high prices, this chance to invest grant funds into green technology could significantly reduce their carbon footprint. And in turn cut UK carbon emissions even further.

We summarised the UK’s Autumn 2021 Budget announcement and how it may affect your business in our blog.

What are the main avenues for green investment?

With ambitious promises being made to countries in need of green investment, it’s now vital to identify the sources of finance. In a speech earlier today, the UK Chancellor revealed that “public investment alone isn’t enough, so our second action is to mobilise private finance.”

This means that while public investment is still needed, there should also be a large contribution from the private sector, to establish this greener financial system. This will be the subject of focus at the conference today.

The Chancellor also announced that as the UK progresses towards becoming the first ever net zero aligned financial centre, there will be big changes to corporate structures. It will soon become mandatory for firms to set out their decarbonisation plans. As well as demonstrating how they intend to transition to net zero, while being monitored by an independent taskforce.

Rewiring of the global finance system

Sunak explained that one of the biggest challenges lies in deploying investment around the world, to deliver climate targets. He went on to pledge that the 20 biggest economies in the world (G20) will commit to delivering $500 billion to those countries urgently in need of financial support. This comes as developing countries have been hit hard by the impact of the global pandemic and climate change.

COP26 has brought together institutions with assets worth over $130 trillion. He is now calling for these assets to be invested in a low carbon future.

The Chancellor explained that this approach would mean:

  • Better and more consistent climate data
  • Sovereign green bonds
  • Mandatory sustainability disclosures
  • Proper climate risk surveillance
  • Proper global reporting standards

What to look out for today:

What’s planned for today?

Today is Finance Day at COP26. Negotiating teams will be heading to back rooms to discuss gaps in the Paris Agreement, and decide on further climate crisis action. Finance ministers from around the world will be joined by UN Special Envoy Mark Carney and other senior industry professionals to discuss climate finance.

What to look out for?

Today’s talks will see more discussion around funding for green technologies. As well as updates surrounding the agreed £73 billion a year promised to poorer countries, to help them adjust to climate change. UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is also expected to outline plans relating to the world’s first net zero financial centre.

How will it affect you?

Financial decisions will make a huge difference to a low-carbon economy. Businesses could have the opportunity to invest in more accessible green technology. And in doing so, reduce their impact on the environment and save money. By 2023, most big UK firms and financial institutions will have to set out detailed plans of how they will progress towards net zero targets.

November 2, 2021 - Reducing methane levels to save the planet

World leaders have also been discussing the urgent need to lower levels of methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Methane is responsible for one-third of the current global warming attributed to human activities. Although CO₂ makes up a larger percentage of the toxic substances in the atmosphere, methane molecules have a more potent warming effect on the Earth.

According to a UN report released earlier this year, we could halve methane emissions by 2030 using existing technology and at an affordable cost. Current methods would actually save money, such as capturing methane gas leaks at fossil fuel sites. This puts the 1.5°C targets, as laid out in the Paris agreement, realistically within reach.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that reducing methane is “one of the most effective things we can do to reduce near-term global warming”.

Clean tech to accelerate countries towards net zero targets

Several countries including the UK, US, India and China have agreed a plan to coordinate the introduction of clean technologies, in a bid to drive down the costs of these products. Reducing the costs of clean tech will increase access for councils, businesses and homeowners, many of whom may have previously been put off by the high prices.

The switch to installations such as LED lighting and solar panels, has already made a huge impact on the carbon footprints of these countries. Governments are now acknowledging this, putting in place measures to align standards and coordinating their investments to make these technologies more affordable. This would make them more attractive than the fossil-fuel alternatives.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “By making clean technology the most affordable, accessible and attractive choice, the default go-to in what are currently the most polluting sectors, we cut emissions right around the world.”

US President Biden pledges to reduce methane levels

Addressing world leaders, US President Biden announced his country’s commitment to reduce methane levels, as part of its push to remain within the 1.5°C global warming limit. Not only will less methane prevent further harm to the Earth, reduced levels will also boost public health, improve food supplies and help the economy.

A UN report released earlier this year warned that lowering levels of methane in the atmosphere is vital in the fight against climate change. Major sources of methane include agriculture and leaks during gas production and from landfill.

Eighty countries have also agreed to work towards reducing methane levels. And the US President announced that he is excited to work with more nations, in taking this big step towards a greener future.

Deforestation negotiations could not come sooner

In 2020, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest reached the highest levels seen in 12 years. Not only does the rainforest contribute to better eco-systems around the world, locals also depend on it for their livelihoods. Currently an area equivalent to the size of 27 football pitches is lost to deforestation, every minute.

Aside from leaders pledging to halt deforestation, the governments of 28 countries have committed to remove deforestation from the global trade in food and agriculture. These products include palm oil, soya and cocoa. These industries and products are some of the most harmful to the surrounding environment.

More than 30 of the largest financial companies in the world, including Aviva and Axa have also pledged to cut further investments into activities linked to deforestation.

November 1, 2021 - World leaders promise to end deforestation by 2030

A group of world leaders are set to sign an agreement today to end deforestation by 2030. This is the first major deal negotiated at this year’s climate conference. More than 100 leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests, have pledged to halt and reverse the effects of forest loss and degradation.

Among the signatories are Brazil, home to the Amazon rainforest, and Indonesia, the largest exporter of palm oil. Affording protection to the largest areas of forest that are most in danger, should mean that smaller plots of land will hopefully eventually follow suit.

This pledge will be backed by around £14 billion in public and private funding. This finance will be distributed across countries to restore damaged land, tackle weather abnormalities and support indigenous communities.  

Summit leaders urged to think about future generations

During his speech earlier today, Boris Johnson honed in on the importance of preserving the eco-systems for future generations.

When speaking about the children (who will judge us who are not even born yet) Johnson said: “They will judge us with bitterness and a resentment that eclipses any of the climate activists of today, and they will be right. COP26 cannot be the end of the story on climate change.”

It is the children of today and those of the future that will be forced to live with the decisions made during the summit. So, it is vital that negotiations reach effective results, as efficiently as possible.

While the start of the summit continues, young activists have gathered in central Glasgow to demand urgent change. These changes will hopefully see their sustainable futures secured.

What do we need to achieve at COP26?

COP26 will cover an agenda that could seriously impact the emissions reduction targets of governments, large corporations, SMEs and individuals alike.

The climate crisis is continuing to worsen, and with it, the weather. Weather abnormalities such as flash floods, forest fires and hurricanes have caused chaos for towns and cities around the world. Sometimes even leading to the upheaval of families and the destruction of homes and businesses.

So, it is vital that certain topics are tackled with priority, at what has been called the ‘most important’ climate conference ever held. This will include supporting those most at risk, finalising the Paris Rulebook and creating effective adaptation measures.

Read our blog to find out more about what needs to be achieved during COP26 to help the world to create a sustainable future.

COP26 kicks off with a day of speeches

Today saw the start of the COP26 climate summit. After world leaders began to arrive in Glasgow, the vital talks began at 12pm. There have already been several speeches from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UN Chief Antonio Guterres and Sir David Attenborough, among many others.

Antonio Guterres explained in his speech that “we are digging our own graves”, and we must act to “save humanity” and protect the planet. Broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough reminded audiences of the harsh reality that “Those who’ve done the least to cause this problem are being the hardest hit”. Burning fossil fuels, and rising levels of pollution are huge contributors to the decline of environmental health. And this is something that must be addressed during the summit.

Prince Charles also took a stand against coal-fired power and went on to back carbon pricing. “Putting a value on carbon, thus making carbon-capture solutions more economical, is absolutely critical,” he said. Carbon pricing is set to be a hot topic of conversation over COP26.

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