COP26: what world leaders have agreed at 2021 Glasgow climate change summit - UK to give £290m to poor nations

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World leaders are under pressure to keep global warming below 1.5C

The COP26 climate change summit is underway in Glasgow with world leaders under pressure to keep global warming below 1.5C.

The conference opened with keynote speeches from Sir David Attenborough, the Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who warned of a climate change “doomsday”.

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Around 120 heads of state and government attended the summit, where countries are under pressure to take more action this decade to cut the emissions driving rising temperatures.

World leaders left the event on Tuesday (2 November) but delegates remain in Glasgow.

Here we take a look at what agreements and pledges have been made at the COP26 conference.

What has been agreed at COP26

UK pledges £290m to help poorer countries

The UK has pledged to give poorer countries £290m to help with the impact of climate change.

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The majority of the money will go to Asian and Pacific nations.

It will help those countries invest in planning and investing in climate action, promoting low-carbon development and improving conservation, the government said.

However, poorer nations have argued that they will be the worst affected by climate change and called for $100bn (£74bn) of financial help.

The wealthiest 1% of countries account for more than double the combined emissions of the poorest 50%.

Coal power

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More than 40 countries have made a commitment to move away from coal powerMore than 40 countries have made a commitment to move away from coal power
More than 40 countries have made a commitment to move away from coal power | Shutterstock

More than 40 countries have made a commitment to move away from coal power during the COP26 climate change summit.

Poland, Vietnam and Chile - all countries that heavily rely on coal - were among those to sign-up to the pledge. However, major coal-dependent nations such as the US, India and China did not follow suit.

The move comes as scientists warn that carbon emissions from fossil fuels look set to rebound to close to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 – and could even rise further in 2022.

The pledge by more than 40 countries means a commitment to ending all investment in new coal power.

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They also agreed to phase out coal power for major economic countries in the 2030s and the 2040s for poorer nations.

Net zero for UK firms

Listed companies and financial institutions will be forced to publish their plans on how they will transition to net zero.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s reforms are hoped to halt so-called greenwashing.

Mr Sunak said the new rules will be drawn up by a task force with members from universities, civil society groups, industry and regulators.

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The plans will include high-level targets to reduce greenhouse emissions, the steps companies plan to take to get there and milestones ahead of 2050.


AFP via Getty Images

More than 100 leaders, whose countries cover 85% of the world’s forests, have committed to both halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

The pledges were backed by £8.75 billion of public funding with a further £5.3 billion in private investment, Downing Street said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed the move, saying it would help with the COP26 goal of restricting global warming to 1.5C. Forests help absorb carbon emissions.

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“Forests support communities, livelihoods and food supply, and absorb the carbon we pump into the atmosphere. They are essential to our very survival,” Mr Johnson said.

The agreement covers the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia - an area of more than 13 million square miles. It also will include forests of Canada and Russia.

The UK will commit £1.5 billion over five years to support the pledges - this includes £350 million for tropical forests in Indonesia and £200 million for the Leaf Coalition.

Net zero

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to cut emissions to net zero by 2070.

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Despite it being the first time the country has set a target, it misses a key goal of COP26 to get countries to commit to net zero by 2050.

India is the world’s fourth biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, behind China, the US and European Union.

Mr Modi also pledged that his country would get 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Methane emissions

Nearly 100 countries have signed a pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

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The initiative, which was led by the EU and US, aims to cut emissions of methane - a greenhouse gas which comes from sources including livestock farming and fossil fuel extraction.

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