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Daily COP26 Report: Day 0 - 31 October 2021

31 Oct 2021 10:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

At the opening plenary, outgoing COP President Carolina Schmidt of Chile handed over the gavel to Alok Sharma of the United Kingdom. Photo via UNFCCC. 

Welcome to COP26! The IETA team is on-site in Glasgow and we've hit the ground running, preparing for the start of a very busy schedule of side events at the IETA Business Hub.

This year's UNFCCC talks face a stiff test, with social distancing regulations, daily Covid-19 tests and a packed agenda all keeping delegates very focused on the task at hand. 

It's been a very busy run-up to the start of this year's summit as well. More than 110 Parties have so far submitted updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCC, with nearly half of these specifically intending to leverage market mechanisms to help reach their reduction targets.

To this list we can now add New Zealand, which announced its updated NDC early on Sunday. The country pledged to cut emissions by 50% gross (41% net) from 2005 levels by 2030, compared to its original NDC that targeted a 30% reduction. New Zealand also intends to participate in international markets to help reach its target, prioritising developing countries in Asia-Pacific.

Less officially, there were also reports UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson inadvertently revealed last week that Indonesia would be announcing at COP the end of coal use by 2040, and we've also heard suggestions the country may be preparing to launch an emissions trading system.

And while delegates were settling in for two weeks of hard work, leaders at the G20 in Rome agreed to phase out investments in offshore coal plants by the end of 2021. The group stopped short of pledging to stop domestic coal power, saying instead it would work to phase out unabated coal generation as soon as possible.

Opening of the Session

The formal opening of the 26th Conference of the Parties took place on Sunday afternoon, with the formal handover of the Presidency from Chile to the United Kingdom. Incoming President Alok Sharma called on the international system to deliver.

I believe that we can resolve the outstanding issues,” he said in his opening speech. “We can move the negotiations forward, and we can launch a decade of ever-increasing ambition and action.”

“Now is the day, now is the hour,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa told the opening plenary. “Success at COP26 is entirely possible, [but] to fully unleash [the Paris Agreement's] potential we need full implementation,” a reference to the remaining work on Article 6.

The physical restrictions of a Covid COP are already placing strain on the process. Espinosa pointed out that the biggest negotiating room in Glasgow has a capacity of 144: 72 persons at the table and 72 in the back. That is not enough: we have 193 parties now. And then we have also the stakeholders which we want to have included.

Discussions are still going on over how to accommodate the numerous streams of negotiations amid the restrictions, and already some of the agenda has been pared down. At the opening session of SBSTA, delegates agreed to defer a number of items – including those dealing with methodological issues under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol – to the next session.

On the Article 6 track, SBSTA chair Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of Congo proposed that a single contact group be convened to cover discussions on Articles 6.2, 6.4 and 6.8. The discussions will be facilitated by Mandy Rambharos of South Africa, Hugh Sealy of Barbados, Peer Stiansen of Norway and Kim Solberg of The Netherlands. The first meeting of this group will take place on Monday at 1000 hrs.

(Before COP26, Mpanu Mpanu prepared an informal “options paper” outlining the remaining areas of disagreement on Article 6 and potential ways to bridge these gaps, which you may find useful.)

Opening statements from negotiating groups and countries highlighted their priorities for Article 6. Numerous developing country groups emphasised that Share of Proceeds from transactions in all three Article 6 mechanisms must supply the Adaptation Fund, while others, both developed and developing, called for no carryover of Kyoto-era offsets into the new system.

Monday at the IETA Business Hub

IETA has put together a very strong programme of events at the COP26 Business Hub, featuring some very high-level speakers and engaging topics. We will also be launching our special COP26 net zero news programme, entitled #BlueSkyThinking, this coming Wednesday. We'll preview each day's schedule in our Daily COP26 Report.

IETA’s side event programme for Monday November 1 kicks off at 1100 hrs with an event hosted by Carbon Finance Lab. This session will make the case for excluding removal-based carbon credits from NDC’s to accelerate innovation over the next decade. Virtual participation is available via Teams

Indonesia's Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) will hold two events on Monday afternoon. In the first, starting at 1430 hrs, KADIN will be joined by the World Economic Forum to launch a study on the opportunities and challenges facing that country's energy transition.

And at 1615 hrs KADIN will hold a Global e-Mobility Forum, examining ways to speed up the transition to clean electrification, with special focus on electric vehicles and sustainable urban ecosystems.

See our Business Hub Programme Guide for more information.

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