Reflecting back on the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or “COP26,” it may well become known as the “Pledge and Commitment COP.” Governments, businesses, multilateral institutions and civil society focused their two weeks in Glasgow on how to “get things done” to limit the planet’s rising temperatures to 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels. The apparent solution: pledges and commitments. Now comes the hard work: adhering to these pledges and commitments, with clearly defined milestones, in a transparent and accountable manner to ensure environmental integrity.
As COP26 spilled over into Saturday, one of the key issues being debated throughout the course of the conference remained outstanding—agreement on the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Negotiations on Article 6, being led by Singapore and Norway, had failed to reach a consensus by Friday’s scheduled end date and continued through the night.
The long anticipated 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) kicked off last week in Glasgow and we have been closely monitoring the events of the conference, particularly where Singapore and the wider Asia Pacific region are concerned. COP26 has been labeled as the “last chance saloon1” for averting disastrous climate change and delegations from countries around the globe are working tirelessly to reach agreement on key issues which, if resolved, have the ability to potentially assist in stemming the tide of global warming. Over the course of the first week of COP26, a number of significant announcements were made, which can be summarized as follows:
- Coal – The United Kingdom, together with the support of a 190-strong coalition of nations and organizations, launched a proposal to phase out coal power and end support for new coal-fired power plants set out in the “Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement” (the “Statement”). The Statement commits to:
- End all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally.
- Rapidly scale up and deploy clean power generation.
- Phase out coal power in the 2030s for major economies and by 2040 for the rest of the world.
- Ensure a just transition away from coal power in a way that benefits workers and communities.
As we previewed before the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26, or the “Conference”), ongoing international discussions have produced notable initiatives to protect natural capital and biodiversity while tackling the climate crisis. Those discussions are gaining traction as the week continues. On November 2, the World Leaders Summit’s forests and land use event saw numerous new commitments and initiatives from governments, businesses, investors, civil society and philanthropists to reduce deforestation and land degradation, mobilize investments in forests, and transition to sustainable agriculture practices and deforestation-free supply chains. Chief among these was a pledge signed by more than 100 countries and the European Union to halt and reverse global deforestation and land degradation by 2030.
Yesterday, we highlighted some of the developments on coal at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), including issuance of a “Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement” committing to ending all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally and pursue a transition to clean power generation. While a number of countries and organizations appeared to support the pledge, with many issuing their own statements on ending international coal financing and phasing out coal-fired power generation during COP26’s Energy Day, fewer than 80 countries and organizations have actually signed onto the statement’s binding commitments (the “Pledge”).
The phase-out of coal-fired power—one of the main culprits for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide—has dominated discussion at Energy Day at COP 26. Overnight, the United Kingdom, together with the support of a 190-strong coalition of nations and organizations, launched a proposal to phase out coal power and end support for new coal-fired power plants set out in the “Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement” (the “Statement”). The Statement commits to:
What is green finance?
The term “green finance” refers to financial products and services provided for project investment and financing, project operation and risk management in sectors such as environmental protection, energy efficiency, clean energy, green transport and construction, with the aim of supporting environmental improvement, responding to climate change and encouraging resource conservation, efficient use and other economic activities. Put more simply, green finance involves the engagement of traditional capital markets to create financial products and services which deliver both investable returns and environmentally positive outcomes1. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, green financing is intended to “increase the level of financial flows (from banking, micro-credit, insurance and investment) from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to sustainable development priorities.” 2 In doing so, green finance not only offers investors a return on their investments, but also the additional benefit of being environmentally responsible.
Akin Gump was pleased to recently host its inaugural global virtual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Summit. ESG leaders and Akin Gump lawyers and advisors shared their perspectives on a wide range of topics at the forefront of ESG—including key developments and risk factors for investors, companies and stakeholders both in the United States and internationally.