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COP26: Leaders' Summit and G20 Rome Summit

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G20 Rome Leaders’ Declaration commitments, a landmark agreement to end and reverse deforestation, new global technology and innovation goals, a global methane pledge and more.

The G20 Rome Summit took place over the weekend, with COP26 starting on Sunday and the Leaders’ Summit concluding today. A number of countries have made new net zero pledges, new NDC announcements and new climate finance commitments, as well as the following key announcements:

G20 Rome commitments

In their Rome Declaration, the G20 leaders made a number of references to sustainability issues:

  • The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with a particular recognition of the importance of the 1.5 degree goal. They however stopped short of committing to net zero by 2050, instead “acknowledging the key relevance” of carbon neutrality “by or round mid-century”.

  • The Declaration stops short of committing to a phase-out of coal, but commits to ending international public finance for new unabated coal power generation by the end of this year.

  • The role of methane in climate change was explicitly acknowledged, as was the UN Environment Programme launched its International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO), which was launched at the Rome meeting. The IMEO will measure global anthropogenic methane output with the aim of catalysing dramatic reductions of the greenhouse gas. 

  • The USD100 billion pledge has been reaffirmed, with the declaration noting that the Climate Finance Delivery Plan (the plan for how developed countries will meet the pledge) indicated the goal would be reached by no later than 2023.

  • The leaders supported the FSB’s roadmap for addressing climate-related financial risks and the IFRS Foundation’s work on a global sustainability reporting standard.

  • The members will “enhance” their efforts towards sustainable consumption and production which will include adopting circular economy approaches and involving the private sector, civil society and academia.

  • Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation also featured prominently, with calls for CBD Parties to adopt the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework when COP15 concludes next year, recognition of the importance of the work on nature-related disclosure and a commitment to planting 1 trillion trees by 2030.

Ending and reversing deforestation by 2030 and deforestation-risk commodities

Over 100 countries, representing 85% of the planet’s forests, have agreed to end deforestation by 2030 by endorsing the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use. Endorsing countries include Brazil, Indonesia, China, Colombia, Canada, Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

The Declaration is expected to commit the countries to conserve and accelerate restoration of forests and other terrestrial ecosystems, implement and redesign agricultural policy to incentivise sustainable agriculture and facilitate trade & development policy that promotes sustainable agriculture and commodity production/consumption.

This will be backed by a pledge of USD12bn in public finance over the next 4 years to support activities in developing countries such as restoring degraded forests, addressing wildfires and bushfires and supporting indigenous communities’ rights.

28 governments representing 75% of global trade in key deforestation-risk commodities will sign a new Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Statement, committing to common actions to support sustainable trade and forest protection including improving transparency of supply chains.

Brazil has separately announced a commitment to end illegal deforestation by 2028.

The investment sector is complementing the public policy action. The CEOs of over 30 financial institutions with over USD8 trillion AUM have committed to use best efforts to eliminate deforestation driven by agricultural commodities from their portfolios by 2025. 

Global Methane Pledge

The Global Methane Pledge, a joint EU-US initiative, was officially launched.  Pledging countries will commit to a collective goal of reducing methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 by 2030, with a particular emphasis on high source emissions. Over 100 countries representing 70% of the global economy have now joined.

The EU is expected to propose legislation on EU methane emissions next month, with the US Environmental Protection Agency proposing rules on methane leaks at US oil and gas wells.

“Glasgow Breakthroughs” – accelerating clean technology and innovation

More than 40 countries launched the Breakthrough Agenda today, a commitment to accelerate the development of clean technologies and other solutions to meet the Paris Agreement goals and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

The Glasgow Breakthroughs are four global goals for the Agenda:

  • Power: Clean power is the most affordable and reliable option for all countries to meet their power needs efficiently by 2030. 
  • Road transport: Zero emission vehicles are the new normal and accessible, affordable, and sustainable in all regions by 2030.
  • Steel: Near-zero emission steel is the preferred choice in global markets, with efficient use and near-zero emission steel production established and growing in every region by 2030.
  • Hydrogen: Affordable renewable and low carbon hydrogen is globally available by 2030.

Each “breakthrough” includes global metrics to be developed, leading initiatives for international collaboration and participating countries.

A number of public and private sector initiatives to support the Glasgow Breakthroughs were announced.

Japan publishes Strategic Energy Plan

Japan joined other prominent transition policy programmes in the lead-up to COP26 with the publication of its 6th Strategic Energy Plan.  The new plan includes significant increases in the use of renewables in Japan’s energy mix by 2030.  

Tomorrow, the focus will turn to finance, with an examination of how public and private finance can be mobilised at scale for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Author: Kelly Sporn