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COP26 – Closing of Negotiations

Today sees the scheduled close of negotiations begin at COP26. Negotiators and national representatives are working tirelessly to ensure that COP26 finishes with a full set of ambitions for the international community that will keep the target of 1.5oC alive.

Have global leaders done enough? With climate experts telling COP26 that the world is still on track for 2.4oC of warming, they have accused governments of overseeing a ‘massive credibility, action and commitment gap’. Analysis released by Climate Action Tracker (CAT) initiative earlier this week estimates that global greenhouse gas emissions will still be twice as high as they need to be in 2030 if the world is to have any chance of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5oC as set out in the Paris Agreement.

What did we need to achieve at COP26?

The key COP26 Goals to be discussed and agreed by global leaders during the two week climate conference were as follows:

1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.

To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

  • accelerate the phase-out of coal
  • curtail deforestation
  • speed up the switch to electric vehicles
  • encourage investment in renewables.

2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects.

At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:

  • protect and restore ecosystems
  • build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives

3. Mobilise finance

To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020. 

International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

4. Work together to deliver

We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together.

At COP26 we must:

  • finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
  • accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

What are the major outcomes from COP26?

Following CAT’s assessment published this week, Professor Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute – another CAT partner organisation – stressed that there needed to be urgent focus on delivering robust policies and commitments to accelerate climate action within the current decade, as many recent long[1]term net zero pledges lack the detail or credibility needed to deliver emissions reductions in line with a 1.5C scenario

Greenpeace International’s executive director Jennifer Morgan described CAT’s projections as “devastating”, as she called on governments to “immediately set aside their differences and work with uncompromising vigour for a deal to save our common future” at COP26 this week. “We have until the weekend to turn this thing around,” she warned. “That means countries agreeing how they’re going come back next year and every year after that until the gap to 1.5C is closed. The Ministers shouldn’t leave this city until they’ve nailed that.”

What is the North East’s role?

Prior to COP26, the North East Leaders published a statement in which they said:

Our region was at the heart of the industrial revolution, and once again our villages, towns and cities are showing their capacity to innovate and lead the way in a new revolution towards a Net Zero economy.

Across the region, we have declared climate emergencies, we are cutting our carbon emissions, and considering our impact on the environment with every decision that we make.

Addressing the climate emergency is everybody’s business. Aspirational speeches and policies looking 40, 30, and 20 years into the future are not enough. Climate change is happening now, our planet is heating up, and if solutions don’t come and attitudes don’t change, it will be too late to undo the damage.

You can read the full statement here.

How is NEECCo placed to help the North East achieve ambitious targets?

It’s clear from the existing data of carbon consumption, emissions and net zero targets that the necessary transition to a greener living is challenging but essential. The creation of the North East England Climate Coalition is our region’s contribution, on behalf of future generations, to the urgent, radical and at scale response demanded by the climate emergency. We aim to empower our region with the tools and resources we need to deliver real change, igniting a passion in everyone to build a brighter and sustainable future.

The core aims of NEECCo are to:

  • Convey an overall vision of our Region in the future that everyone – people, communities and organisations in all our diversity – can identify with, including recent arrivals without generational connection to our past. A vision encapsulated in the phrase ‘Becoming England’s greenest region’
  • Adopt clear and necessarily ambitious targets that can be monitored and evaluated. ‘We commit to meet them and we intend to beat them’
  • Deliver climate and environmental initiatives that can only be accomplished regionally and beyond individual sectors
  • Give clear added value to our partners regionally and locally, across all of society – the private, public and voluntary sectors. Working with our partners we aim to attract resources and achieve national and international profile that could only be achieved (at scale) by a region-wide initiative such as our coalitions

How can you help?

NEECCo needs the support of a wide range of organisations from the private, public and VCSE sectors to represent the commitment of our region and show that together we can achieve our ambitious target to become a global leader in the climate emergency. Make your pledge to support the mission of NEECCo and bring about real change. We want all our supporters to deliver their contribution to our collective efforts and work together on becoming England’s Greenest Region.

Become a supporter of NEECCo and pledge your support to our mission of ‘Becoming England’s Greenest Region’. The collective action of our supporters will strengthen the regions efforts towards achieving our ambitious but essential targets. We all need to work together today for a better tomorrow, and we can achieve our goal of becoming England’s Greenest Region.

Join in the conversation

Take a look around your local community and business networks to see how you can join in the conversations around climate change. Here are a couple of things coming up this month:

Climate Clock Running Down – Did they COP out? Citizens Assembly South Tyneside

Saturday 20th November 2021 – 10.30am (Online)

Climate clock running down – did they Cop out? Tickets, Sat 20 Nov 2021 at 10:30 | Eventbrite

COP26 and Beyond – Tynedale Transformed

Sunday 14th November

COP 26 and Beyond – Tynedale Transformed

Look out for conversations on social media with

#COP26 #TogetherForOurPlanet #BecomingEnglandsGreenestRegion #NetZeroNorthEast

If you’re interested in joining NEECCo’s Business Network email ask@neecco.org.uk