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C40 COP26 Daily Briefing
Week 2
Looking back at Thursday, 11 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?
  • Thursday, 11 November was Cities, Regions, and Built Environment (CRBE) Day and saw several events hosted and announcements made by cities, demonstrating the work that cities are doing to halve global emissions by 2030 and the impact these actions are having on keeping the world on a 1.5°C trajectory. These announcements come against the backdrop of the final tense negotiations around the COP cover decision, the main political outcome of COP26. 
  • A new version of the cover text was released early Friday morning and nations will work non-stop over the next 24 hours to finalise the draft of the outcome decision. Amidst concerns that some text is being watered down, Ministers will have to continue to push for a high ambition outcome, so that the following elements are directly included and clearly reflected in the final agreement:
    • A pathway for accelerated climate mitigation action and implementation in this critical decade, with clear dates and processes to revise and enhance 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) until the gap to 1.5°C is closed.
    • Support for developing countries struggling with climate impacts, specifically a doubling of global adaptation finance - at the minimum - by 2024 (from 2019 baselines) to move toward balancing the $US 100 billion equally between mitigation and adaptation.
    • Environmental integrity that does not allow for double counting of emissions to narrow the 2030 emissions gap.
    • Clarity on what the world is collectively working towards on adaptation and loss and damage, ahead of the 2023 Global Stocktake.
    • Increased finance, with a firm commitment to deliver the full US $600 billion promised cumulatively from 2020-2025, as well as a post-2025 finance goal.
    • A clear signal that Parties are starting to confront the urgency of phasing out fossil fuels that has never been explicitly mentioned in a COP agreement until now.
  • Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were confirmed as hosts of COP27 and COP28, respectively. Egypt signaled an intent to make COP27 a ‘truly African COP’ which will particularly prioritise climate finance, adaptation and loss and damage. The UAE stated that COP28 would be an important occasion to build on achievements made since COP21 in Paris, notably through the first Global Stocktake, focusing on reducing emissions but not “reducing growth rates and development.”
  • 193 parties have now ratified the Paris Agreement, with signatures from Turkey on 10 November and Iraq due on 1 December. Iran has not ratified the agreement, but a spokesperson said that it would if international sanctions against Iran were removed.
What did cities do in Glasgow?
  • Cities and regions unite behind immediate, ambitious, equitable and science-based climate action to keep the 1.5°C target within reach. Recognising the increasingly urgent impacts of climate change and the need to keep global temperature rises to 1.5°C, the Under2 Coalition and C40 Cities issued a joint statement that highlights their joint commitment to undertake immediate, ambitious, equitable and science-based climate action at local and regional levels, and calls on Parties to the UNFCCC to deliver a “Glasgow Package” that accelerates climate action and respond to key climate justice concerns, including:
    • A timeline and process for revisiting 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) ahead of the 2023 Global Stocktake, building on regional and local climate contributions.
    • Delivering the US $100 billion of climate finance for the Global South.
    • Ensuring that the trillions being spent on the economic recovery from COVID-19 support a recovery that is green, just, and puts the world on a pathway to 1.5°C.
    • The recognition of the role of cities and multi-level governments in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
  • The High-Level Event on Global Climate Action celebrated the achievements of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPCGA) over the last five years and presented the High-Level Champions’ vision for the improvement of the Marrakech Partnership for 2021-2025 (endorsed by C40 and many others). Ugandan youth activist, Vanessa Nakate, bringing the voice of the youth and the voice of the Global South, laid down the gauntlet at world leaders’ feet and asked for them to “prove us wrong” and show that net-zero pledges will translate into immediate actions. In reaction to this powerful call, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, stressed - to wide acclaim - that rich, developed countries have an obligation to pay their debt to developing, vulnerable countries, and that the finance required should be viewed “not as an act of charity, but as an act of reparation.” As a coherent sign of leadership, Scotland announced that it would increase its total contribution for loss and damage to £3 million, showing the way for the Global North to answer the calls of justice and financial compensation for loss and damage demanded by Global South and vulnerable countries.
  • The session also welcomed remarks from C40 Chair-Elect and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who echoed these sentiments with strong words of his own about how “cities are doers, while national governments are delayers.” Mayor Khan expanded upon how London - and other cities across the globe - are implementing concrete climate actions, for instance the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London that charges a fee for vehicles which exceed a set emissions standard and that with recent extensions now covers a zone of up to 4 million residents. As C40 Chair-Elect, Mayor Khan also restated his goals of earmarking two thirds of the C40 budget to the Global South and continuing ongoing efforts to deliver a green and just recovery from COVID-19.
  • The event concluded with an invitation to Parties to provide their own views on the future of the MPGCA 2.0. During this unprecedented sequence, several countries expressed their support to working with non-state actors to accelerate action. A particular standout intervention was delivered by the Deputy Minister of Planning, International Cooperation, and Climate Change from the Dominican Republic, Milagros de Camps, who, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) highlighted how vital the mobilisation of non-state actors is to support climate ambition, especially relating to those communities who suffer the most disproportionate climate impacts. This signals the potential to forge partnerships between cities and vulnerable countries to jointly advocate for climate justice and ambition.
  • The Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, held a private strategic meeting with nine mayors, including Mayor Sadiq Khan, of London, to discuss how to accelerate climate action post-COP26, and the cities’ critical role in delivering rapid emissions reductions. The mayors’ leadership roles in their own nations, in partnership with civil society and the private sector, and their mobilization through global networks allow them to bring solutions to scale through concrete measures on the ground that generate verified results for emissions reduction and adaptation. These results in turn support high profile public and private advocacy at national and international levels to drive greater ambition and investment in action. The UN is urging cities to lead in demonstrating credible progress to the world by the time of the global stocktake of the Paris Agreement in 2023
  • C40 launched a new coalition of cities and construction sector companies to tackle the urgent challenge of emissions from the global construction sector, committing to halve emissions from the global built environment sector by 2030. This goal will not be achieved without the support of workers, and in recognition of this fact, C40 has launched a joint statement with Building and WoodWorkers International to ensure a just transition. As part of this coalition launch, two Chinese C40 cities, Beijing and Qingdao, have formally joined the C40 Clean Construction Forum. Through the forum, Beijing and Qingdao will engage in joint research and pilot demonstration projects that will explore the feasibility and action pathways suitable for the Chinese urban context in this important sector.
  • 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. 
  • The UK Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched the new Urban Climate Action Programme (UCAP) that will be implemented by C40 and The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) to support the cities and regions in developing countries most impacted by climate change to accelerate their transition to net-zero. Backed with £27.5 million of new UK government funding as part of the UK’s International Climate Finance commitment, the programme will support cities - across Africa, Asia, and Latin America - including Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur and Bogotá - to implement their climate action plans. These climate action plans may include - but are not limited to - the development of low-emission public transport systems, renewable energy generation, sustainable waste management, new climate-smart building codes and climate risk planning, with a view to supporting cities to prepare low-carbon infrastructure projects and become carbon neutral by 2050.  
  • The actions of cities, particularly in relation to the built environment, were heavily showcased through the UK COP26 Presidency agenda in the event Building a better world together: accelerating deep collaboration for built environment climate action. Participants stressed the importance of adopting a collaborative approach with regards to the built environment which rallies all stakeholders behind the Paris Agreement and COP26 goals. The actions of cities were also reflected in the High-Level Champions Agenda, specifically in the event Decarbonising and adapting our Built Environment and Cities. The event explored how human settlements can inspire radical behavioural and consumption changes for people to lead lives compatible with a 1.5°C lifestyle.
  • Glasgow City Chambers was again a hotspot of city climate leadership with several events featuring mayors and groundbreaking announcements. Lead Councillor for Glasgow, Susan Aitken, formally announced the ambition to make Glasgow a thriving city. Councillor Aitken set out her vision for a thriving Glasgow in the 21st century, moving the post-industrial city towards becoming a more sustainable, equitable, and low-carbon metropolis with good jobs and healthy living for all residents; and continuing to be a place where arts and culture can flourish. The C40 Thriving Cities Initiative will support Glasgow on this journey. The former mayor of Toronto David Miller delivered the keynote address in the event "From Industrial Cities to a Green Urban Revolution," a panel discussion jointly hosted by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Glasgow City Council Leader Cllr Susan Aitken, where mayors from the UK, US, Australia, France, Spain, and Finland spoke about how they are helping their nations to reach their carbon reduction targets by leading climate action and innovation.
  • The UK Government, C40, Cities4Forests and Conservation International hosted a panel discussion that highlighted the vital role of cities and nature-based solutions in the fight against climate change. The session demonstrated the relevance of city commitments in addressing climate resilience and vulnerability, and the value of financing nature-based solutions and pursuing good practices in bringing nature and biodiversity to cities.
  • The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) released two flagship reportsFurther and Faster Together: The 2021 Global Covenant of Mayors Impact Report and the Multilevel Climate Action Playbook for Local and Regional Governments. The impact report highlights how cities and local governments can catalyse climate action implementation, propel the systemic transformations needed to meet the moment and support cities and countries to go further and faster together. The Playbook underlines several key elements of an enabling environment that allows for the interweaving of climate ambition and actions of local and regional governments into Party policy developments to accelerate vertically integrated NDC implementation and investment plans.
  • The Global Director of Cities, States & Regions at Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), one of the official partners of Cities Race to Zero, spoke at an event with IBM on Integrating a Net-zero energy system transformation with the needs of sustainable cities. Panelists highlighted how cities are creating partner ecosystems and deploying technologies to reimagine how built infrastructure can support and accelerate the energy transition. To achieve its goal of becoming the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025, the City of Copenhagen partnered with IBM and Andel, to reimagine energy consumption. Together, they have developed a flexibility platform, which dynamically adjusts heat and power consumption based on signals from the smart grid. By leveraging building flexibility, Copenhagen avoids relying on fossil-fueled, reserve power plants to meet demand and thereby avoids the power plants associated with greenhouse gas emissions. The event can be watched back here.
Other announcements/updates?
  • The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) initiative was officially launched at a press conference led by Costa Rica and Denmark. BOGA brings together Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Ireland, and Spain, as well as two subnational jurisdictions - Quebec and Greenland - who are all committed to ending fossil fuel extraction and production (including new oil and gas), and ensuring a just transition to a carbon-neutral future. It is the first diplomatic initiative which acknowledges the need for a well-managed and just phase out of fossil fuel production as a key element in addressing the climate crisis. Although the Alliance does not set a specific end date for use of fossil fuels or currently has members who are major oil and gas jurisdictions, it is, nonetheless, a significant step forward towards a net-zero future and demonstrates bold ambition in its bid to end the consumption of all fossil fuels, not just coal.
  • The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction launched the Global Heat Forum, led by Scotland, the UK, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), whose aim is to decarbonise heating in the built environment.
     
What's coming up today?
  • Friday marks the official last day of COP, so negotiators will be hard at work ironing out details in the final draft of the outcome decision, while the world watches and waits patiently.
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