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C40 COP26 Daily Briefing
Week 2
Looking back at Wednesday, 10 November, 2021
Welcome to C40 COP26 Daily Briefings, a new C40 service to inform you of what's happening at the 26th UN Conference on Climate Change taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31 to November 12, 2021. This daily COP26 briefing recaps the activities and announcements of the day and lets you know what's coming up the following day to ensure you are kept fully up to date on all COP26 discussions. You are receiving this email because you are a C40 member, or a C40 partner, or have joined the Cities Race to Zero campaign. If you do not wish to receive our emails, please unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of this briefing. We hope these briefings will help you understand what's at stake at COP26. Happy reading!
What happened in the formal COP26 intergovernmental process?
  • 10 November marked Transport Day at COP26 and welcomed progressive announcements on ‘ending the internal combustion engine’ and decarbonising all forms of land, sea, and air transport, as well as some important bilateral declarations to move negotiations forward. The negotiations are still far from delivering what is needed, but these bilateral moves show some progress towards a politically acceptable outcome.
  • The cover texts that have been issued and that are up for negotiation include proposals to “keep 1.5°C alive.” However, overall, they lack balance as adaptation, loss and damage, and finance remain short of the higher levels of ambition necessary for a robust outcome. In terms of mitigation, the inclusion in the draft text of the concept of "reaching 1.5°C by 2100" is particular concern, because it implicitly allows for overshoot scenarios, whereby surface temperatures could increase for a certain amount of decades before being lowered to 1.5°C only towards the end of the century. Click here for a further, more detailed explanation provided by Myles Allen, Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.
  • The US and China - the world’s two largest emitters - issued a US-China Joint Glasgow Declaration, in which both countries commit to collaborate and remain in dialogue around reducing emissions in the 2020s, including by cutting methane emissions and deploying technologies. By “detoxifying” the US-China relationship, there is potential to lay a foundation for both to get behind a Glasgow Acceleration Package. While strong on collaboration, disappointingly, the declaration does not signal a concrete increase in ambition. Neither major emitter can afford to look like they are undermining multilateral agreements by seeing this declaration as a sufficient substitute for an ambitious call to action in the COP26 outcome text.
  • With only 48 hours on the clock until the official end of COP26, negotiators and ministers will have to demonstrate leadership - not just political guidance - to address the gaps that remain. This is necessary to achieve the high ambition political outcome that sends the unambiguous signal that all Parties - particularly those most responsible for the climate crisis - will be accelerating action in the next 18 months.
What did cities do in Glasgow?
  • As part of the “The Future is Public Transport” campaign jointly launched by C40 and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), mayors, unions, transport authorities, regulators, and partners released a joint global coalition statement on public transport in which they call on national governments to collectively double public transport journeys in cities by 2030 and advance a just transition to zero-emissions public transport. These actions are vital if nations are to meet their climate goals and limit global heating to 1.5°C,
  • C40 and the ITF have modelled this in new research across five major cities - Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, and Milan - to demonstrate that as well as supporting the sustainable development of urban economies, the right investment in public transport would create tens of millions of green jobs worldwide. This would be received with overwhelming public support, according to newly released opinion polling, which shows that 9 in 10 people want better, faster, and more sustainable public transport in their cities.
Other announcements/updates?
  • Transport Day welcomed a series of announcements relating to decarbonisation in several transport sectors, including cars, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, buses, aviation, and shipping.
  • On cars, the Glasgow Declaration on the Acceleration of the transition to Zero-Emission Vehicles was announced, which is aiming for every new car and van sold by 2040 to be zero-emission (by 2035 in leading countries). This Declaration is distinct from the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) 2030 ‘Glasgow Breakthrough’ (a similar announcement but with different signatories and a parallel UK Presidency initiative) announced by leaders last week. The Declaration does set out positive ambition, but explicitly says that it is not legally binding and does not include a clear accountability or transparency approach. Further clarity is needed to be able to track this announcement, including at the Clean Energy Ministerial that will take place in 2022, alongside the ZEV ‘Glasgow Breakthrough’ assessment.
Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles
  • On medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, a global Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 100% zero-emission medium and heavy duty vehicles (trucks and buses) by 2040 was announced, with an interim goal of 30% zero-emission new vehicle sales by 2030. The MoU, organised by CALSTART's Drive to Zero campaign and the Netherlands, and officially endorsed by C40, was signed by Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Uruguay, and Wales. Quebec (Canada) and Telangana (India) also signed alongside companies Scania, DHL, and Heineken. The MoU provides positive benchmarks, but has little detail on how signatories will be held accountable for their efforts and how they will be assessed on progress and delivery.
  • A coalition of international investors announced a commitment with the Zero Emission Bus Rapid-deployment Accelerator (ZEBRA) to invest over US $1 billion in zero-emission bus fleets for public transportation in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. ZEBRA is a partnership led by C40 and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), with funding from P4G. This international alliance works to support the deployment of over 3,000 electric buses onto the streets of Latin American cities. Switching from diesel-powered to zero-emission buses leads to cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to improving air quality and public health, electric buses have lower operational and fuel costs than traditional diesel buses. This last factor is key for public transit providers, who have struggled with decreasing ridership and declining fares during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • On aviation, an International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition was launched with 23 signatories so far, including Canada, the UK, US, France, Turkey, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and others. The signatories are committed to reduce aviation emissions in line with 1.5°C, by looking into new sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and aircraft technologies and will work with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) scheme.
  • ​​​​Transport Day saw a fair amount of focus on shipping as a hard to decarbonise sector, with strong participation from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). This is important because the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meets Nov. 22-26 and will be discussing a possible new target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions (to replace the current target of 50% reduction by 2050). MEPC will also be focusing on the use of market-based measures to reduce emissions (e.g. levies) and the revision of its current greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy, to be finalised in 2023. The hope is to bring the momentum from COP26 into MEPC76, with an opportunity to mobilise countries that typically do not take an active role in the IMO (e.g. many in the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), given the inclusion of shipping goals in the Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use released at COP on 2 November. This could make a difference to the level of ambition which IMO adopts going forward.
    • The Clydebank Declaration was the most significant shipping outcome. 22 countries - and possibly more - committed to working toward zero-emission maritime routes. The Declaration establishes green shipping corridors (zero-emission maritime routes between two or more ports), aiming for at least 6 corridors by 2025, scaled up by 2030. Whilst this is a step in the right direction, the Declaration does not require vessels transiting in the corridor to be zero-emission or to participate in the partnership, so ambition is weak and does not significantly add to the IMO’s limited attempts to align international shipping with the Paris Agreement. However, work is beginning on how to operationalise this and the inclusion of Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Chile, and Costa Rica is of note, in a list predominantly made up of developed countries. As part of the C40 Green Ports Forum, C40 cities are implementing policies and programmes that mitigate air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions from ports, shipping, and supply chains, and are working to establish zero-emission green shipping corridors which are to be announced soon.
    • The UN Global Compact - a strategic UN initiative that encourages businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies - and the shipping industry jointly created a ‘people-centered’ Shipping Just Transition Task Force to ensure a just transition to net-zero in the maritime sector. Bringing together the International Chamber of Shipping, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and the UN Global Compact, this Task Force will support seafarers through the transition to zero-emission shipping. The focus is on developing skills and jobs needed in a decarbonised economy, with a particular focus on developing economies.
    • Nearly 30 maritime and energy companies signed Operation Zero, a collective statement of intent for the deployment of zero-emission vessels (ZEVs) across the North Sea’s offshore wind farms by 2025, along with the development of supporting shoreside infrastructure to scale up and maintain this advanced, environmentally sustainable fleet.
    • The Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV) (announced earlier in 2020 but highlighted at COP26) includes Amazon, Brooks Running, Frog Bikes, IKEA, Inditex, Michelin, Patagonia, Tchibo, and Unilever, who pledged to transition 100% of their ocean freight vessels to zero-carbon fuels by 2040.
What's coming up today?
  • Thursday, 11 November is Cities, Regions, and Built Environment (CRBE) Day at COP26, exploring how action can be accelerated by subnational leaders to mitigate emissions and create resilient communities. All throughout the day, C40 and partners are delivering key announcements and hosting several events, including: 
    • COP26 Presidency Event: Building a Better World Together: Accelerating Deep Collaboration for Built Environment Climate Action (09-10:30 am GMT, Blue Zone, Area F, Meeting Room 4, link to stream); 
    • Accelerating Climate Action in Cities (10:15-11:15 am GMT Blue Zone, Area D, UK Pavilion, link to stream); 
    • UN High-Level Climate Champions Action Event: Decarbonising and adapting our Built Environment and Cities (10:30-13:15 GMT, Blue Zone, Action B Hydro, Room 1), link to stream
    • COP26 Presidency Event: Ministers and Mayors on buildings as a critical climate solution (16:00-17:00 GMT, Blue Zone, Area F, Meeting Room 4, link to stream); 
    • and concluding with the Global Climate Action High-Level Event: Racing for a better world (15:30-17:30 GMT, Blue Zone, Area F, Plenary Cairn Gorm, link to stream).
  • The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) will highlight the climate leadership of over 11,000 cities and local governments - representing more than one billion people - with the release of two flagship reports: Further and Faster Together: The 2021 Global Covenant of Mayors Impact Report, and the Multilevel Climate Action Playbook for Local and Regional Governments. Details of these reports, discussed during the event at the Multilevel Action Pavilion, can be accessed here.
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