The UK’s £27.5m pledge for a new Urban Climate Action Programme (UCAP), a World Bank trust fund that will mobilise $200m over the next ten years to decarbonise road transport in emerging markets and 19 governments stating their intent to support the establishment of green shipping corridors: These are just three out of multiple commitments that have been made during week two of COP26.

During the second week of the landmark event, we have seen themes such as adaptation, loss and damage, gender, science and innovation, transport and cities, regions and built environment – and that has also resulted in many exclusives across the gasworld website, including Luxfer Gas Cylinders, Karpowership, Roadgas and more.

But what has all of this really meant for the world we live in today? Here, we look back over the last five days and how what some of the commitments and statements from various personnel means for us.

Monday 8th November: Adaptation, Loss and Damage

Focused of delivering the practical solutions needed to adapt to climate impacts and address loss and damage, Monday’s theme of Adaptation, Loss and Damage saw global leaders commit to a shift towards locally led adaptation through over 70 endorsements to the Principles for Locally Led Adaption.

Speaking at the COP26 on the day, Alok Sharma, COP President, said, “Nowhere is immune to climate change and this is precisely why we must come together to forge global agreement here in Glasgow, responding to adaptation needs which is vital.”

He continued, “There needs to be a sense of urgency in our negotiations. The science is clear, we have no time to lose, and I will ensure that negotiations proceed in a timely manner. Whilst of course ensuring transparency and inclusivity.”

So, what exactly are Principles for Locally Led Adaption? Launched in January (2020), when forty governments, leading global institutions and local and international NGOs committed to the set of principles, the effort provides a guide on how to change the standard ‘business as usual.

Such ‘business as usual’ approach is carried out from the top-down for and looks at how climate finance is currently directed, to a ‘business unusual’ model, where decisions are made at the lowest appropriate level on where and how this money and support are used.

At COP26, this was built on with another 30 leaders committing to the principles.

The Adaptation, Loss and Damage themed day of COP26 also saw the UK announce £290m in new funding for adaptation today, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the African Development Bank commit to a balanced approach to climate finance and the launch of the Race to Resilience campaign.

Tuesday 9th November: Gender, Science and Innovation

In celebration of Science and Innovation on the Tuesday of this week, COP26 saw the launch of various initiatives to enhance international cooperation between governments, academics, businesses and civil society and ensure science and innovation delivers for all in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

As part of these commitments, 47 countries committed to build health systems which are able to withstand the impacts of climate changes and which are low carbon and sustainable – the need of which has been recently highlighted through the effects felt from the devastating coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The move includes 42 countries, representing over a third of global health care emissions, which have committed to develop a sustainable, low-carbon health system. 12 of the 42 countries have set a deadline of 2050 or earlier, by which their health system will reach net zero.

Of course, as well as Science and Innovation, Gender was a big focal point of the day. Some of the main takeaway points included Canada ensuring that 80% of its $5.3bn climate investments over the next five years target gender equality outcomes and Germany announcing a new Gender Strategy.

Sweden, Nigeria, the US and Ecuador also made strong gender-focused moves.

Wednesday 11th November: Transport

Focusing on all things clean transportation on Wednesday, gasworld brought to you exclusives with Luxfer Gas Cylinders and Expleo in which we heard mainly about hydrogen-powered transportation and how it can decarbonise various modes of transport.

In Glasgow, decarbonising transport was of course the main focus as well, with 30 countries agreeing to work together to make zero emission vehicles the new normal by making them accessible, affordable, and sustainable in all regions by 2030 or sooner – a move which will inevitably result in a surge in hydrogen vehicle demands.

Further to that the launch of a new World Bank trust fund is believed to mobilise $200m over the next ten years to decarbonise transport in emerging markets and developing economies.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), whilst global transport emissions increased by less than 0.5% in 2019, owing to efficiency improvements, electrification and greater use of biofuels, transportation is still responsible for 24% of direct CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. 

Showcasing a leading role on the decarbonisation of transport at COP26, the US joined the UK as co-chair of the Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council, which hopes to launch its first annual actional plan in 2022 to focus on zero emission vehicle infrastructure, CO2 or fuel efficiency standards and regulations, the decarbonisation of heavy-duty vehicles and supporting a global transition.

Formed in November 2020, ZEVTC aims to accelerate the pace of the global transition to zero emission vehicles. The Council is made up of governments and representatives from some of the world’s largest and most progressive automotive markets.

Thursday 11th November: Cities, Regions and Built Environment

Arguably setting the stage for the Cities, Regions and Built Environment themed day at COP26, Thursday saw the UK pledge £27.5m of new funding for the new Urban Climate Action Programme (UCAP) to support cities targeting net zero.

The programme, funded through International Climate Finance, will support cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to take climate action and create a sustainable future, by helping them implement innovative climate action plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 and prepare low-carbon infrastructure projects to reduce emissions.

In order to achieve its goals UCAP will help cities to implement projects like low-emission public transport systems, renewable energy generation, sustainable waste management, new climate-smart buildings codes and climate risk planning.

Already, we are seeing the start of many cities implementing green technologies for a decarbonised future. A perfect example of the successfulness in implementing hydrogen technologies into urban cities and environments can be exhibited in Tokyo, Japan, with the city successfully powering much of the recent 2020 Olympic Games using hydrogen. 

Recognising the launch of UCAP, Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan, said, “From our homes and workplaces to our towns and cities, the buildings we live in are a fundamental part of our daily lives, but also a significant source of global emissions.”

“That’s why at COP26 today we are calling on cities, regions, governments and businesses to seize the moment and set bold net-zero targets as we work together as a global community to end our contribution to climate change.” 

Friday 12th November: Closure of Negotiations

COP26 itself may soon be drawing to a close but talks and negotiations are still going strong. Already, we’ve heard that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi this morning, to discuss progress on negotiations at COP26.

The leaders agreed that a final push was needed in the talks to drive progress across adaptation, mitigation and finance and deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement, working together to keep 1.5°C in reach and maintain momentum towards COP27 in Egypt.