Climate Change Negotiations Outcomes at the COP26 Glasgow

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Climate Change Negotiations Outcomes at the COP26 Glasgow

The COP26, a two-week landmark climate change conference, has ended. The UK hosted the summit in Glasgow from 31 October to 13 November. It brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Final documents and statements have all been published.

To understand how the negotiations at COP26 went and the outcomes achieved, click to read the following document.

COP26: the Negotiations Explained

The document explained the significance of COP26 since the COP21 where 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement. It presented and unpacked the most important document that came out of this years’ climate summit, the Glasgow Climate Pact.

In addition to the new deal, the summit has also finalised the ‘Paris Rulebook’.

While the Paris Agreement established a new international framework to accelerate efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change, the Rulebook sets this Agreement in motion by laying out the tools and processes to enable its full, fair, and effective implementation.

According to IndiaSpend, the rulebook “obligates countries to set adequate emissions targets, report on their progress transparently, provide finance to developing countries to meet their commitments and operationalise carbon markets” (Lopes, 2021). But experts viewed the Rulebook as weak as it does not compel countries to ramp up climate action, specifically their GHG emission. The Rulebook has a bottom-up approach where governments largely determine their own NDCs, accounting and compliance rules. And because it is so decentralised, countries have avoided agreeing on a shared accountability and transparency mechanism.

Carbon or emissions trading is one of the most debated rulebook negotiations. A carbon market allows countries unable to meet their emissions targets to buy carbon credits from those who have reduced emissions or have ‘credits’ for sale, especially from places where it is cheap to make these reductions while continuing with their GHG emissions.

A 2015 report shows that this is an inefficient way to reduce emissions and that 75% of carbon credits traded unlikely represented a reduction in GHG emissions. The lack of a strong accounting and transparency mechanism in carbon trading can also lead to double counting.  Countries selling the credit can claim the reduction for themselves, and the country buying can also claim the same emissions reductions.

Article 6 of the Paris Rulebook acknowledges that parties may choose to cooperate internationally to meet part of their NDCs using emission reductions achieved in other countries.  This allows parties to purchase carbon credits or offsets or create a link between carbon markets, such as linking the new UK Emissions Trading System to another international system.

At the COP26 conclusion, negotiators finally settled the issues around the Paris Agreement Rulebook, including regulations around carbon markets and regular reporting of climate data by all parties. 

To see all the wide-ranging set of decisions, statements and declarations that resulted from the COP26 two-week climate talks, click the below:

Source Citations:

Lopes, F. (2021, October 4). Explained: Paris Rulebook And Its Role In Global Climate Action & Politics. IndiaSpend. Retrieved from https://www.indiaspend.com/earthcheck/explained-paris-rulebook-and-its-role-in-global-climate-action-politics-778426

COP26: The Negotiations Explained. UK Government. Retrieved from https://ukcop26.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/COP26-Negotiations-Explained.pdf

COP26 Reaches Consensus on Key Actions to Address Climate Change. (2021, November 13). United Nations Climate Change. Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/news/cop26-reaches-consensus-on-key-actions-to-address-climate-change

Explaining the Paris Rulebook. What you Need to Know for COP24. World Resource Institute. Retrieved from https://seors.unfccc.int/applications/seors/attachments/get_attachment?code=TY1H234DTG1HX0DK676QYVWQ8EDKKTH6

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