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Four key achievements of COP26 – Espinosa

In a keynote address on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, during the Ministerial Dialogue at the Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE) Energy Week, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, outlined four key achievements made at the month’s UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, which represent “significant progress” in global efforts to tackle climate change.

Glasgow Climate Pact
COP26 President Alok Sharma gestures as he receives applause during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 13, 2021. Photo credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman

“I believe that at COP26, Parties built a bridge between good intentions and measurable actions to lower emissions, increase resilience and provide much-needed finance,” she said.

The first notable accomplishment highlighted by the UN Climate Chief relates to adaptation to the impacts of climate change, which is now deemed to be equally important as reducing emissions. Following COP26, a work programme exists to define the global goal on adaptation, which will help address the climate impacts already happening in all regions of the world.

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At the same time, there is now enhanced technical support for countries to address loss and damage related to climate change that will strengthen global efforts towards resilience.

Secondly, on the critical issue of finance, governments at COP26 agreed on the need for much greater support to developing countries.

“All Parties agreed that much more support needs to be provided to developing countries. They recognised that the most vulnerable cannot be ignored – that much more finance for adaptation is needed – and that it must be predictable,” she said.

Ms. Espinosa acknowledged the fact that developed countries have yet to live up to the Paris Agreement pledge of $100 billion annually in support to developing countries and underlined the urgency of initiating the process for defining the new global goal on finance as soon as possible.

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Thirdly, on the urgent issue of bringing down emissions, Ms. Espinosa welcomed the collective agreement by governments to explore ways of increasing actions to close the current emissions gap, which she called a “significant area of focus as we move forward.”

“The good news is that proven technologies for a net-zero energy system already exist. Some renewables are now the cheapest option to produce electricity in many parts of the world, but their deployment needs to be accelerated. For their part, governments must lead the way in planning and promoting the required clean energy infrastructure investment, including in matters of transmission and distribution,” she said. 

The fourth significant achievement outlined by the UN’s top climate change official include the finalisation of guidelines for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement; the compromise reached on Article Six relating to carbon markets, which will ensure a level playing field for everyone; and the finalisation of negotiations on the Enhanced Transparency Framework, which allows countries to continue building trust.

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The UN Climate Chief pointed out that despite the accomplishments in Glasgow, the world is still far off track to stabilising global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees and urged further and immediate international collaboration to get the world back on track to achieving this goal.

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