COP26 Day One Summary – 1st November 2021

COP26 Day One Summary – 1st November 2021

A £3bn climate aid package, India’s net zero target and a promise to end deforestation, the first day of COP26 brought about commitment to change.

Using the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Boris Johnson took the opportunity to announce a climate aid package of £3 billion under the UK-based Clean Green Initiative (CGI), providing developing countries with funding in an effort to help them cut back on emissions and ideally see net zero within their reach.

Sir David Attenborough took the stage after the Prime Minister and stated how he has watched the natural world decline throughout his lifetime and urges leaders to be motivated by hope rather than fear.  He also addresses how those who have affected the climate the least are hit hardest by its changing before delivering an ultimatum, “Is this how our story is due to end? A tale of the smartest species doomed by that all too human characteristic of failing to see the bigger picture in pursuit of short-term goals?”.

India’s PM, Narendra Modi, made several commitments for his country clear, including India to be getting 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and reducing their carbon emissions heavily by the same year. He also said that India has a net zero goal of 2070, twenty years past the ideal 2050 date though still a large step for the third largest emitter in the world.

The Queen sent a video message to the attendees of COP26, bringing attention to the late Prince Philip’s efforts to bring light to the issues of pollution and her pride in how her family has and continues to promote environmental issues. This personal message told world leaders that, “The time for words has now moved to the time for action” and how they must act “for our children and our children’s children”. Despite being unable to attend due to health risks, the Queen made it clear she wanted change to happen. “It is the hope of many that the legacy of this summit – written in history books yet to be printed – will describe you as the leaders who did not pass up the opportunity; and that you answered the call of those future generations.”

The most notable aspect of the first day was the pledge to end and begin reversing deforestation by 2030. 105 world leaders signed the declaration, including Brazil, China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo whose countries account to 86% of the world’s forests. This pledge includes £14 billion that will be used to restore land in developing countries and supporting indigenous populations and a £1.1 billion fund will contribute towards protecting the second largest rainforest, located in the Congo Basin. However, whilst many view this as a huge step in the right direction, others are questioning how it will be enforced and whether places like Brazil can be trusted to keep to it. Some feel like the goal of 2030 is too far away. The UK’s Environment Secretary, George Eustice, claims that the financing will help and we should be positive about the engagement countries have had. The declaration can be found here.

In addition to this, 28 governments, accounting for 75% of global trade in produce that threatens forests, signed into the new Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Statement which is part of a roadmap of actions made to turn trading sustainable and reduce the impact it has on our forests. 10 of the largest companies dealing with such commodities, such as palm oil and soy, have announced they will have a shared roadmap of actions consistent with an average global temperature rise goal of 1.5oC by COP27.

2 Comments

  1. Ken Stoll 4 weeks ago

    Great summary & much less bias than the mainstream media, thank you.

    • Author
      E4 Environment 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Ken. We will be posting updates throughout COP26 so watch this space!

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