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With only four months to go, how can we build the political will for an ambitious, balanced package at COP26 that keeps 1.5˚C alive?
In his keynote speech at London Climate Action Week’s Road to COP26 closing event, COP26 President-designate Alok Sharma set out how Glasgow can rise to this challenge.
He cited a number of priorities: net zero targets, NDCs, coal phase out, adaptation, loss & damage – and notably climate finance, calling for donors to publish a collective plan for delivering the $100bn a year commitment between now and 2025, mentioning G20 ministerials in July and the UN General Assembly in September as key moments for new pledges.
It was less clear how these building blocks would add up to a ‘Glasgow Package’ that can define a legacy of COP26 that accelerates ambition and action to close the remaining gaps to reaching the 1.5C goal. When challenged by the chair Nick Mabey (CEO of E3G & Chair of LCAW), Sharma emphasised this would be discussed at the UK-hosted Ministerial on July 25-26th. Clearly now is the time for climate actors to begin building consensus around a Glasgow Package.
Civil society plays a vital role in this process. Amanda Khozi Mukwashi (CEO of UK-based Christian Aid) and Renato Redentor Constantino (CEO of Philippines-based Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities) emphasised that the package must address gaps in adaptation and unlock sources of loss and damage finance.
Both pointed to the need for developed countries to meet and exceed the $100bn commitment, phase out fossil fuel finance and fund transitions to clean and resilient economies for developing countries. Constantino warned Sharma that failing to plug the $100bn gap before COP26 would risk repeating the infamous Copenhagen COP15 – a sobering illustration of the jeopardy Glasgow faces.
Mukwashi gave Sharma her own reality check, pushing him for clarity on how COP26 can set new ambition-raising timeframes in the early 2020s to close the emissions gap to 1.5˚C, whilst also cautioning that it would be impossible to agree on a 1.5˚C COP26 package without voices of communities on the frontline of the climate crisis in Glasgow.
That requires a step change to address the vaccine inequity and shrinking fiscal space faced by climate vulnerable countries – an important reminder that COP26 takes place in a world constrained by economic crisis, COVID-19 and climate impacts. The task in Glasgow will be to illuminate the path out of these challenges, and towards a fairer, more equitable and safer world for all.
Keynote: The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, President Designate, COP26
Chair: Nick Mabey, Chief Executive, E3G
UK civil society: Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid
Global civil society: Renato Redentor Constantino, Chief Executive, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities