After six years of difficult and technical negotiations, the UN climate talks at COP26 in Glasgow finally gave us a strong Paris Agreement rulebook for international cooperation through carbon markets and called on countries to take specific and urgent measures to address dangerous climate change.
“The agreed Article 6 rules, while not perfect, give countries the tools they need for environmental integrity, to avoid double counting and ultimately to clear a path to get private capital flowing to developing countries. The carbon market rules allow countries to focus their efforts on ambitious implementation of their emission-cutting targets.
“Today’s agreement on Article 6 provides the rules necessary for a robust, transparent and accountable carbon market to promote more and faster climate ambition and create a further avenue for finance flows from developed to developing countries.
“The decision eliminates double counting for compliance markets and establishes a strong framework to ensure appropriate accounting for voluntary carbon markets that also supports emission reductions in countries hosting carbon market activities. The carry over of credits left over from the Clean Development Mechanism is not fully restricted with some 120 million tonnes carried forward, but their use is restricted to the first cycle of national commitments.
“The broader agreement at COP26 also represents good progress. In a process typically defined by general and broad calls for action, the decisions at COP26 take a new and welcome direction highlighting specific and urgent climate action. While countries will need to do more at future COPs on adaptation funding, climate finance and loss and damage, COP26 rightly called on countries to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030, to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by around mid-century, to stop fossil fuel subsidies and to accelerate the phase down of highly-polluting coal power. For the first time, COP26 calls countries to commit to action on methane in the next decade.
“A COP26 signal to phase out coal and fossil fuels is significant, even if weaker than ideal. The science is clear: we need to rapidly move away from fossil fuels to keep the Paris Agreement global temperature goals alive and avert climate catastrophe.
“COP26 decided to accelerate the ratcheting mechanism of the Paris Agreement and the delivery of new national commitments, making clear that countries are responding to the fact that current country pledges do not yet put us on a 1.5ºC path.
“Regretfully, there was little movement on the issue of compensating developing countries already suffering from the worst impacts of climate change, known as loss and damage. Developed countries responsible for most of the climate pollution will need to put much more on the table, in the interest of global equity.
“The sum of COP26 went beyond the two weeks in Glasgow. The COP drove critical announcements long before delegates were on the ground. However, we saw important new announcements in Glasgow, including the U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s. This is a hopeful sign that the two countries emitting the most greenhouse gases will continue to work together to tackle climate change.
“We also saw huge progress on issues that help countries deliver real reductions in emissions — slashing methane pollution and protecting tropical forests. There’s no way to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement without these solutions.
“This COP will be remembered as the Methane Moment — the year this long-overlooked climate pollutant finally received the attention it requires. EDF is proud to have played a key role in focusing global attention on the methane issue, and delighted to see major progress made on controlling this potent greenhouse gas, which the IPCC says is vital to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“Nature also took center stage, with important announcements on forest protection. The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use committed more than 100 countries, including Brazil, to end deforestation by 2030. Several countries, including the U.S., pledged billions of dollars in funding to help make that goal attainable. The private sector also stepped up, with the LEAF Coalition announcing it has mobilized $1 billion in public and private financing to stop tropical deforestation.
- Kelley Kizzier, Vice President for Global Climate, Environmental Defense Fund
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