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Highlights of 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) – PART 2

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United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26)

The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held from 31st October –12 November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK), for better alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • Egypt was chosen to host the upcoming session of the conference COP27 in 2022 and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was chosen to host COP28 in 2023.

Highlights of COP26:

-India Launched a Web Portal on EVs – ‘E-Amrit’ 

i.India launched a web portal on electric vehicles (EVs) named ‘E-Amrit’ at the COP26 Summit. The portal will act as a one-stop destination on all EV-related information and will raise awareness on EVs and sensitize consumers on the benefits of switching to EVs.

ii.The web portal was developed and hosted by NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog under a collaborative knowledge exchange programme with the UK government and as part of the UK–India Joint Roadmap 2030, which was signed by the Prime Ministers of both countries.

iii.The UK High-Level Climate Action Champion Nigel Topping and NITI Aayog Adviser Sudhendu Jyoti Sinha have participated in the launch.

iv.Two-wheelers and three-wheelers constitute more than 70 percent of global sales and more than 80 percent in India.

Note – Indian Schemes such as FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicle) and PLI (Production Linked Incentive) are important in creating an ecosystem for the early adoption of EVs.

-MOEFCC Secretary Launched COP26 Charter of Actions Prepared by TERI

Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, Secretary, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC), has launched ‘COP26 Charter of Actions’, which was prepared by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

i.The charter highlights key themes and sectors at the national and global level to enable the development of climate-sensitive policy decisions, meaningful climate action, and charting an equitable and sustainable future.

ii.The charter was launched at the side event of UNFCCC titled, ‘Beyond Climate Neutrality: Using Long-term Strategies (LTS) to Chart an Equitable Path for a Resilient Planet’.

iii.The event was organized by TERI and TERI School of Advanced Studies along with the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), Warsaw Institute for Economic and European Studies Foundation (WiseEuropa), and Ecologic Institute.

iv.The Charter activities are supported by the British High Commission, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and Tata Cleantech Capital, and held under the aegis of TERI’s flagship Track-II initiative, the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS).

Note – Article 7.2 of the Paris Climate Agreement recognizes the adaptation of integral global response to climate change and Article 4.19 of the Paris Agreement includes the Long-Term Strategies (LTS) on mitigation over climate change.

-UK Announced ‘India Green Guarantee’ to unlock Funds for EVs in India

i.At the COP26, the UK announced about providing an ‘India Green Guarantee’ to the World Bank, to unlock an additional 750 million pounds for green projects across India.

ii.The green guarantee financing will support clean and resilient infrastructure in sectors such as clean energy, transport, and urban development.

iii.Through an aid-backed Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), the UK has committed more than 210 million pounds in new investment at the UN climate summit to support transformational green projects in developing countries, including India.

iv.The financing, which is UK’s new Clean Green Initiative (CGI) will support schemes such as EVs manufacturing in India, Green Bonds in Vietnam, and Solar Power in Burkina Faso (West Africa), Pakistan, Nepal, and Chad (Central Africa).

  • The projects are expected to mobilise more than 470 million pounds in additional private sector finance.

v.UK being the president of COP26, became the 1st country in the world to commit to phasing out new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035, with all new heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) sold in the UK to be zero-emission by 2040.

-India Celebrates Transport Day at COP26

i.The UK COP26 Presidency has selected transport as a priority theme and designated 10 November as the dedicated Transport Thematic Day.

ii.On Transport Day at COP26, India, represented by NITI Aayog, participated in the 4th ministerial dialogue of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Transition Council (ZEVTC), a global forum on enhancing political cooperation on the transition to zero-emission vehicles.

iii.To enable faster, cheaper, and easier transition to EVs, the ZEVTC brings together ministers and representatives of some of the world’s largest automobile markets to collectively address key challenges in the transition to ZEVs.

iv.On behalf of the Government of India, NITI Aayog extended its support to the non-binding and COP26 declaration, which is focused on global level accelerating transition to zero-emission vehicles.

  • The world’s first motorcycle was introduced on November 10, 1885.

-Developing Nations Demanded $1.3 trillion/year Funding in Climate Finance

i.The draft placed by the COP26 has not offered any enhancement to the climate financing budget and insisted the developed nations meet the $100 billion/year target.

  • Background: In 2009 at COP15, the world’s wealthy countries had pledged to provide $100 billion/year of climate finance for developing countries every year till 2020. In 2015 at COP21, the period was extended till 2025.

ii.As the wealthy nations failed to deliver the target by 2020, the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) (including India) have requested a demand for wealthy nations to channel not less than $100 billion of the at least $1.3 trillion/ year from 2030 to enhance the climate finance flow.

iii.The developing countries demanded to allocate a significant percentage of climate finance i.e. not less than $100 billion, in the form of grants, with at least $700 billion/year to Africa alone.

iv.India’s climate action plan notifies the need for $2.5 trillion funding by 2030 and african nations estimated they will need $1.3 trillion per year by 2030.

Note – India is part of the LMDC grouping along with China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and others.

v.Two contributions noted at the draft

  • US$ 232 million pledged for the Adaptation Fund to finance adaptation projects in developing countries. (If this materializes, it would be the highest money amount ever flowing into the Adaptation Fund).
  • Announcement of US$ 413 million for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), that are being the most vulnerable to climate impacts.

-India, South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines Join Coal Transition Program

i.India joins South Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines as the first round of beneficiaries of Accelerating Coal Transition (ACT) Investment Program of CIF (Climate Investment Funds), which was aimed at accelerating the nations’ transition from coal power to clean energy.

  • The 4 nations contribute for 15 percent of global emissions related to coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.

ii.CIF initiated two new programs at COP26 for transition to clean, renewable energy, namely ACT Investment Program and Renewable Energy Integration (REI) Program, which are dedicated to support a transition to clean energy for developing countries, which is essential to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2030.

iii.ACT Investment Program:

  • ACT is a $2 billion program, the first of its kind, designed to de-risk, pilot, and scale investments across three critical dimensions of the coal transition: governance, people, and infrastructure.
  • Canada committed $1billion to the ACT Investment Programme and additional support came in from the United States, Britain, Germany, and Denmark (100 million) with a total commitment of almost $2.5 billion.
  • The project will work with 6 multilateral development banks to offer low-income loans and technical assistance for coal-transitioning countries.

iv.REI Program:

  • REI is a $300million program, it is the world’s only large-scale investment program dedicated to tackling barriers to clean energy integration in emerging economies.
  • Ukraine, Fiji, Colombia, Kenya, and Mali – CIF CEO, Mafalda Duarte were the first round of beneficiaries of the program and the second round of beneficiaries include -Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia and Turkey.

-Alliance to phase out oil and gas ‘BOGA’ launched; led by Costa Rica and Denmark 

i.At COP26, a first of its kind alliance of governments named ‘Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance’ (BOGA) was announced with commitment to phase out the production of oil and gas.

ii.The alliance was led by Costa Rica and Denmark, and the six full members of it include France, Greenland, Ireland, Quebec, Sweden and Wales.

iii.The member nations will commit to end new licensing rounds and set an end date for oil and gas exploration and production (aligned with Paris Agreement objectives).

iv.California and New Zealand join the alliance as associate members and Italy also expressed their support to the coalition, becoming a ‘Friend of BOGA’.

-Countries, Carmakers commit to end fossil-fuel vehicles by 2040

India and 32 other countries, companies, and cities signed a COP26 declaration to collaborate to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles by selling only cars and vans that are zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) by 2035 (for developed) and by 2040 (for developing economies) to cut carbon emissions and global warming.

  • The signatories include two Asian countries, India and Cambodia, and several African countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic. The signatory companies include Ford, General Motors, and Leaseplan.
  • The world’s top two carmakers, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG, as well as major car markets China, the United States and Germany, did not sign up the commitment.

-22 countries Sign Clydebank Declaration to Boost Green Shipping

Over 20 countries including the US, Japan, Australia and Canada have signed the Clydebank Declaration to support the establishment of green shipping corridors – zero-emission maritime routes between 2 (or more) ports.

  • The declaration intends to develop at least 6 green shipping corridors between two or more ports by 2025 and many more by 2030.
  • As per the declaration, the corridors would arise from partnerships between willing ports and operators to decarbonize specific shared maritime routes.
  • Amazon, Ikea, Michelin, Unilever, Patagonia and many others have announced they will only buy zero carbon freight from 2040.

Note – India is not a signatory of this declaration.

-Maharashtra won the Inspiring Regional Leadership Award

i.Maharashtra became the only state in India to win the Inspiring Regional Leadership award at the inaugural leadership awards of the Under2 Coalition held on the sidelines of the COP26 summit.

  • Aaditya Thackeray, the state’s environment minister, collected the award at Stirling Castle in Scotland.

ii.The Under2 Coalition is the largest global network of states and regions committed to climate action and is made up of more than 260 governments who represent 1.75 billion people and 50 percent of the global economy.

  • The state launched the 1st holistic state-wide climate change mitigation and adaptation program in the world (Majhi Vasundhara).

-Antarctic Glacier is Named after Glasgow

A previously unnamed glacier in West Antarctica has been formally named Glasgow Glacier. The 100-km long body of ice, which has been experiencing rapid melting, was formally named by researchers at the University of Leeds to mark the COP26.

  • Besides Glasgow, the 8 newly named glaciers after cities include Geneva, Rio, Berlin, Kyoto, Bali, Stockholm, Paris and Incheon (the cities names include where important climate reports were issued, or policies were agreed).
  • The names will be added to the International Composite Gazetteer for Antarctica, for the use on future publications.

-UNEP to set up office in India

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav stated about India’s agreement with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to set up the UNEP’s country office in India.

  • Yadav met UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw to exchange views on the topic of land restoration.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that India will restore 26 million hectare of India’s degraded land.

-ISA, UNFCCC inked pact to fight Climate Change

International Solar Alliance (ISA) and UNFCCC inked pact at COP26 conference in Glasgow to fight climate change.

  • The MoU was signed by Ajay Mathur, Director General, ISA and Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNFCCC.
  • As part of the agreement, both institutions will jointly organise a set of activities with the UN Climate Change secretariat to facilitate the implementation of mitigation action in the energy sector, facilitate the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions, and Long-term Low Emission Development Strategies.

Ganga Connect: Jal Shakti Ministry stated about a global exhibition and an outreach platform Ganga Connect’, which has been inaugurated in Cardiff in Wales to showcase the multiple facets of the river system and connect with a range of interested partners.

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