COP26: Key takeaways from week 1 of the conference

All eyes have been on Glasgow, Scotland as the primary week of the UN local weather convention referred to as COP26 attracts to a detailed. The convention was delayed by a yr due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is ready to run till Nov. 12.

The large worldwide enterprise has seen international locations recommit to tackling the local weather disaster and rising world temperatures, whereas protesters have taken to the streets to demand extra formidable targets and targets to cut back emissions from world leaders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau represented Canada at two days of the talks this week, co-hosting a carbon pricing occasion showcasing Canada’s carbon value he known as some of the stringent and impressive on the earth.

The local weather disaster is prime of thoughts for a lot of, as excessive climate occasions linked to local weather change, together with wildfires, hurricanes, famines, and droughts have made headlines over the previous yr.

Latest Nanos polling reported that Canadians are six instances extra prone to say local weather change has a unfavourable affect on their day-to-day well being fairly than constructive, and that an rising variety of Canadians are able to take vital steps to avert catastrophic world warming.

Listed below are some key takeaways from the primary week of the COP26 convention:


The local weather convention is a veritable who’s who of world leaders, with some 30,000 delegates descending onto Glasgow for the convention.

Nonetheless, there have been a number of notable absences, some resulting from logistics and the COVID-19 pandemic, and others possible resulting from politics.

Solely three Pacific island nations, Fiji, Palau and Tuvalu have been capable of ship their leaders to the convention, even supposing many islands and growing nations make up the MAPA (Most Affected Individuals and Areas) of local weather change.

Based on Island Innovation, a 3rd of the Pacific islands introduced they had been unable to ship delegations for the primary time. A lot of these nations signify international locations which are least liable for local weather change however are among the most closely impacted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese language President Xi Jinping had been bodily absent from the convention, with the Chinese language chief submitting a written assertion calling for motion however devoid of recent pledges.

Queen Elizabeth II was additionally bodily absent from the convention, as an alternative making a speech remotely to world leaders through video, following medical recommendation to relaxation.

Indigenous land defenders and different civil society organizations have additionally struggled with attendance on the convention this yr resulting from causes round accreditation and visas, plus lack of entry to COVID-19 vaccines essential to journey and worldwide journey guidelines.

Based on non-profit International Witness, greater than 1,000 environmental and land rights defenders have been murdered because the Paris Accords had been signed six years in the past – one in three of whom had been Indigenous folks.


The guarantees had been flowing thick and quick within the first week of the convention, with Canada becoming a member of a refrain of countries promising to do higher and committing billions in the direction of new tasks.

Canada, the U.S. the U.Okay. and 21 different international locations joined a deal to cease new direct public financing for coal, oil and gasoline growth by the top of 2022 and to shift funding to renewable power. Few particulars had been instantly accessible concerning the deal, nonetheless. It commits signatories to cease utilizing loans, mortgage ensures, grants, share purchases and insurance coverage protection from any authorities or authorities company to finance new worldwide fossil gasoline developments.

The deal doesn’t embody China, Japan or Korea, who’re the world’s prime fossil gasoline funders apart from Canada, which averages about $13.6 billion a yr on financing fossil fuels, virtually all of which circulate by way of the federal crown company Export Growth Canada.

One other settlement introduced on Thursday noticed 23 new international locations make pledges to part out coal energy. The signatories to the International Coal to Clear Energy Transition Assertion didn’t embody China, India and the U.S., however the settlement does embody another massive coal customers like Indonesia, Ukraine and South Korea.

Banks, insurers and traders represented by UN local weather envoy Mark Carney, who assembled the Glasgow Monetary Alliance for Web Zero pledged on Wednesday to place combating local weather change on the centre of their work and promised efforts to make inexperienced investing a precedence.

Carney put the determine at $100 trillion over the following three many years from the finance business.

Greater than 100 international locations dedicated to finish deforestation by 2030 in a transfer to guard the world’s forests. Amongst the signatories are Brazil, China, Colombia, Congo, Indonesia, Russia and the U.S., with greater than US$19 billion in non-public and public funds pledged in the direction of the plan.

Germany, Norway, the U.S. and the U.Okay. led an roughly US$1.7-billion funding pledge to be given on to Indigenous Peoples and communities in recognition of their position in defending the land and forests as a part of the broader deforestation pledge.

The U.S., Britain, France and Germany introduced a plan to offer US$8.5 billion in loans and grants over 5 years to assist South Africa part out coal, as they get about 90 per cent of their electrical energy from coal-fired crops, a significant emissions supply.

Atmosphere Minister Steven Guilbeaut introduced Saturday throughout a speech that the federal authorities will allocate no less than 20 per cent of its $5.3-billion worldwide local weather finance dedication over the following 5 years to restrict biodiversity loss.


COP26 has additionally highlighted how some international locations have moved past the pledge of net-zero emissions and are working at a carbon-negative degree – which means they take in extra climate-changing emissions than they produce every year.

Bhutan, Suriname and Panama shaped a proper alliance at COP26, and known as for measures like preferential commerce, carbon pricing and financing to assist their economies and different carbon-negative nations which are on their method to reaching comparable standing.

“We’re taking step one. What’s the world doing for us? We’re in search of assist,” stated Suriname’s international minister Albert Ramdin. “What these three international locations have achieved has been primarily based on nationwide efforts and nationwide sacrifice.”


Protests and marches have stuffed the streets of Glasgow because the starting of the convention, inspiring solidarity occasions the world over — like sit-in protests from Insulate Britain members on main U.Okay. roadways.

Saturday in Glasgow marked the biggest protest up to now, with estimates of roughly 100,000 folks marching within the “International Day of Motion for Local weather Justice” to demand extra motion from world leaders on the local weather disaster.

Organizers from Saturday’s march stated there have been 250 different local weather change protests held in solidarity in international locations like Canada, Kenya, Turkey, Brazil, the U.Okay., and Australia.

Fridays for Future chief Greta Thunberg was in attendance, however didn’t handle the march as she had on the earlier rally of tens of 1000’s of younger folks on Friday, the place she denounced the alleged inaction from world leaders and greenwashing of the COP26 convention.

Activists like Ugandan local weather justice activist Vanessa Nakate did handle the gang, saying “leaders not often have the braveness to guide. It takes residents, folks such as you and me, to stand up and demand motion. And once we try this in nice sufficient numbers, our leaders will transfer.”

Police presence has additionally been a scorching matter on the convention.

In a letter addressed to the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, representatives from three teams, the COP26 Coalition, Cease Local weather Chaos Scotland and the Local weather Coalition, urged her to intervene in “”the disproportionately excessive variety of officers deployed, mixed with intrusive police surveillance” which they stated is creating “an environment of concern and intimidation and unacceptable chilling impact on the precise to protest.”

Police arrested 21 scientists who chained themselves collectively and blocked a highway bridge over the River Clyde and boxed-in a gaggle of activists who lit off fireworks throughout the march Saturday. One individual was arrested.


With recordsdata from Reuters, CNN and the Related Press 

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