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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Pandemic ponderings: Protect nature to avoid future pandemics

IPBES Pandemics report identified the risk and solutions

New research from the University of Queensland highlights Biodiversity loss and ecosystem health are strongly linked to human health. Scientists have investigated the links between the COVID-19 pandemic and the deterioration of the world’s ecosystems and their biodiversity, discovering feedback loops that suggest a potential increase in future pandemics.

“We’ve long known that issues like land-use change, intensive livestock production, wildlife trade, and climate change drive the emergence of zoonotic diseases, as they increase human-wildlife interactions." said Master of Conservation Biology graduate Odette Lawler, a contributor of the study  in Professor Salit Kark’s Biodiversity Research Group at University of Queensland. 

The study was published in Lancet Planetary Health as  The COVID-19 pandemic is intricately linked to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Glasgow Climate Pact outcomes: ambition, but too slow to prevent catastrophic climate impacts

There will be those who condemn the Glasgow COP a failure, and others that hail it a success. 

On a meeting level where 197 countries + Europe need to agree on outcomes based upon using a consensus process, it is somewhere in between.

The decision text incorporates the science and the urgency, but then fails to step up with the requisite actions to match the science.  

The science says we are still causing too much greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, heading for around 2.4 degrees Celsius Global warming by the end of the century according to Climate Action Tracker assessment released 9 November: Glasgow’s 2030 credibility gap.  Many countries targets (such as Australia) are still far from sufficient.

And the science as provided in the IPCC 6th Assessment report has only got clearer that passing 1.5 degrees poses enormous risks to life and health, biodiversity, and passing tipping points in the climate system making reversing global heating more difficult. The UN Secretary General called it a Code Red for Humanity.

We are losing the race against time to bring emissions under control. The Paris climate target of 1.5C is almost out of our reach.

So what were the outcomes of the Glasgow Climate Pact?

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Australia at COP26 diary

UN climate conference, the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) is ocurring in Glasgow from Monday November 1 to Friday November 12, 2021 (but may also go overtime into the weekend). This is my digital diary of Australia at COP26. I may not be able to be present in Glasgow but I can still follow whats going on. Follow with me.

You can watch press conferences, main plenaries at the UNFCCC COP26 livestream site program. Civil Society have organised Climate Fringe TV that includes livestream events.

15 November: 

Glasgow Climate Pact outcomes: ambition, but too slow to prevent catastrophic climate impacts

A list of what COP26 achieved, but also the failure to live up to what the science requires. The Emissions Gap has diminished, but is still subtantial. Responses from Australia Institute, Climate Council and Australian Conservation Foundation. Major signal that coal is on it's way out, but also more subtle signals for phase out of oil and gas. Blog: Glasgow Climate Pact

COP26 inches to a close, for the first time including language on coal and fossil fuels phase down

Watching the UNFCCC livestream

UN Climate Change conferences are reknowned for running extensively into overtime with last minute negotiations to try and salvage a way forward through the consensus process. This one was no different with a Saturday afternoon ending.

Draft texts are issued, debated, watered down, reissued, debated and further watered down until enough compromise has been achieved for consensus. Occasionally some new ambition may sneak in, but generally its a dilution of action. It's a tough process, especially when urgency and ambition is required, which empowers countries with vested interests in maintaining fossil fuel production. 

Australia has taken advantage of this process in the past, such as when the Australian delegation threatened to walk out in 1997 at final stage of negotiations unless a special clause on land use emissions was inserted. We got our way and a special clause was created specifically called the Australia clause which allowed us to increase our emissions by 8 percent while all other countries had commitments to reduce emissions.

During the final days of this negotiation process, Small island states and many developing countries gave up  in the spirt of compromise on the Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility to be replaced by a vague Dialogue during 2022 as part of Draft texts version 3, but they were not happy about this. But the fact there were other areas of ambition in the overall deal and they are suffering now from climate impacts, made them commit to consensus.

But during the discussion India, Iran, Nigeria and China objected to the wording around coal and inefficient fossil fuel sibsidies phase out. The stocktaking plenary was adjourned and huddles reformed.

Australia actually had accepted the deal that included a call for "accelerating efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies." They had already successfully lobbied with others to soften the text with those two adjectives: unabated and inefficient.

When the plenary restarted India proposed asking to change language to "phase down" coal instead of "phase out". Switzerland, Europe, Mexico, Marshall Islands and Fiji all expressed profound disappointment at this proposed change, and questioned this as a non-transparent process. Switzerland received overwhelming applause. 

The most eloquent statement came from the Marshall Islands:

"On behalf of the Marshall Islands I wish to read into the record our profound disappointment with the change in the language on coal from phase out to phase down. I ask that this be reflected in the report of this meeting. This commitment on coal had been a bright spot in this package. It was one of the things we were hoping to carry out of here, back home with pride, and it hurts deeply to see that bright spot dim. We accept this change with the greatest reluctance. We do so only, and I really want to stress only, because there are critical elements of this package that people in my country need, as a lifeline for their future. Thankyou.

Fiji said "we were told 2 days ago that we could not add Loss and Damage language because it was "last minute", now new language on coal has been added 2 minutes before adoption of the text. A "phase-down" has no demonstrable measures to monitor the end of coal."

The reaction actually put COP President Alok Sharma into tears for a moment, as he said, "I am truly sorry about how this process has unfolded. It is also vital that we successfully conclude this package"

This is going to lead to a much greater push next year for Loss and Damage implementation and finance, at COP27, which has been long delayed at these conferences. 

Antigua and Barbuda speaking on behalf of AOSIS commented that they "would like to take note that we expect to see the development of a Loss and Damage facility by COP27." Venezuela added that they "would like to take up the issue of unilateral measures in subsequent COPs".

There was cheering in the American delegation and around other sections of the Plenary hall as the decision on Article 6 on carbon markets was gavelled, putting in place this important part of the Paris Agreement rulebook, although it seems there are already identified issues of integrity with the rules passed.

Read my blog on the assessment of outcomes from the Glasgow Climate Pact.

You can follow the flow of the diplomatic huddles and statements in the tweet thread below:

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Australia, Captain of the Fossil Fueled Five, wins Colossal Fossil of COP26

Australia wins Colossal Fossil Award of COP26 - Jo Dodds accepts award

Loss and damage is very real even for first world people in Australia. After the Black Summer bushfires there are still people living in tents two years later, while a bushfire recovery fund remains entirely unspent. This is the same arrogance that Australia has treated our first nation people since invasion and colonisation, and our Pacific neighbours who have pleaded for Australia to step up on climate action, phase out of coal, and fund loss and damage in our region.

Australian really is at this time the unrepentant captain of the Fossil Fueled Gang of Five and well deserves the Colossal Fossil award of COP26.

This is Australia's shame, especially disturbing given the abundant renewable energy resources, and the deep knowledge of indigenous people from 60,000 to 80,000 years of experience of land management and culture. Our First Nation peoples have already experienced climate change and sea level change on our continent, and have embedded knowledge of these changes within dreamtime stories that can provide insight to transition.

Jo Dodds, President of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, accepted the award for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor.

Australia the captain of the villians? The Fossil Fueled Five - Comparing Rhetoric with Reality on Fossil Fuel Production at #COP26

Launch of the Fossil Fueled Five Report at Panda Hub at COP26

A new report investigates the role of 5 western developed countries, their current climate plans and their current fossil fuel expansion plans.

The Fossil Fueled Five report comes at a critical time as there is gowing discussion at UN Climate conferences and generally in the community that fossil fuel production needs to be reigned in as demonstrated by the recent Production Gap Report, and the UN Environment Program Emissions Gap Report.

We saw the coal exit pledge gain ground at this UN climate change conference, and the launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance.

This report was produced by the University of Sussex and conducted in cooperation with the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative and key regional partners in each of the 5 countries – Uplift (UK), Oil Change International (USA), Greenpeace (Norway), The Australia Institute (Australia) and (Canada).

Watch the launch (below) which features Canadian environmental activist Tzeporah Berman, Freddie Daley from the University of Sussex, Tessa Khan, Lawyer, Founder & Director, Uplift UK, Colin Rees with Oil Change International, a young FoE Norway activist, and Richie Merzian from the Australia Institute.

Friday, November 12, 2021

UN Secretary General speech at #COP26: "We know what must be done" as negotiations centre on draft decision texts

UN Secretary General setting the tone for the final days of negotiations, arguing we need ambition in the COP26 decision text and in the CMA (Paris Agreement) Decision text.

The Draft decision text as of Friday morning still mentions coal and fossil fuels. The original Paris Agreement does not mention coal, oil or gas, or fossil fuels even once. Will it survive till the gavel comes down?

Veteran climate journalist Ed King has summarised current status, and he argues the draft text appears to maintain reasonable ambition:

"The latest COP26 draft political text landed at 0713 (UK time), and appears significantly more balanced with stronger elements on adaptation, finance and loss & damage. The elements of the text aimed at speeding up action to close the gap towards emissions goals are there - with no radical changes from the previous version and dates still intact. The language on coal has been qualified but has survived the night, which many predicted it wouldn't." 

  • Para 27: New UN work programme to scale up GHG cuts, reporting at COP27 in 2022
  • Para 28: 'Urges' [strong language] countries who have not landed new plans to do so by 2022
  • Para 29: Requests all countries to raise climate targets in line with 1.5-2C by and of 2022
  • Para 30: Commissions annual UN assessment of climate plans from 2022
  • Para 32: Urges [strong] countries to deliver net zero mid century plans by 2022
  • Para 36: Signal to countries to accelerate shift off fossil fuels, coal to renewable energy
  • Para 44: Notes "deep regret" of developed countries for missing $100bn target 
  • Para 46: Urges countries' to 'fully deliver on the $100 billion goal 'urgently' through 2025
  • Para 66: Welcomes further operationalisation of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage
  • Para 67: Decides [very strong] the Santiago Network will have a technical assistance facility to provide financial support for technical assistance on loss and damage 

Methane, coal transition, transport and forest pledges at COP26 still leave substantial emissions gap - Climate Action Tracker


I'd like to say the various pledges made these last two weeks have eliminated the emissions gap, but they haven't. If they are implemented and garner more signatories they will shrink the gap. New analysis by Climate Action Tracker shows that for the countries that have signed the pledges, they have closed the 2030 emissions gap between a 1.5°C path and government targets by around 9% - or 2.2 GtCO2e.

The UN Environment Program Emissions Gap report published late October showed that the planet heading to 2.7C climate catastrophe without needed 2030 ambition at COP26

"Even with all new pledges and such sectoral initiatives for 2030, global emissions are still
expected to be almost twice as high in 2030 as necessary to for a 1.5°C compatible pathway.
Therefore, all governments need to reconsider their targets towards COP27 in 2022 to jointly
enhance mitigation ambition." says Climate Action Tracker.

The final decision of the conference is presently being worked through. There is a draft clause which  give nations that have not submitted “new or updated” 2030 targets another 12 months to “revisit and strengthen” their emissions reduction effort in their Nationally Determined contributions. 

Fossil awards today to the UK on loss and damage finance, and to New Zealand squibbing on ambition in their NDC

Host country, the UK gets a fossil award for failing to do their homework on loss and damage finance. And they had a year extension to do it. 

The second award to New Zealand, thought that appearing green would disguise their lack of NDC ambition and they  literally said that just because a refreshing of the NDC has been asked of countries "it doesn't mean we have to.”  Come and join Australia in the (coal) sin bin neighbours.

Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance launches at COP26 - early movers on the production side of fossil fuels addressing climate change

Denmark and Costa Rica launch Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA)

Today saw 12 jurisdictions step up to announce phase out of oil and gas, to address the production side of the emissions gap.

These countries are the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, the early movers and initiators. The initiative is lead by Denmark and Costa Rica.

At the launch they were joined by France, Greenland, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, and New Zealand. Sub-state jurisdictions included Quebec, Wales and California.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Regulations to force CEFC green bank to fund Carbon Capture and Storage wins Australia a Gold Fossil Award, Brazil 2nd for backwards time travel

The dastardly deeds keep rolling with Australia, with commitment to change the regulations for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund Carbon Capture and Storage to keep fossil fuels afloat.

The announcement echoed in Glasgow in the cavernous meeting halls of the UN Climate Change conference COP26 and Climate Action Network awarded a 1st place award to Australia. This is Australia's 5th Fossil of the Day award at this COP.

The Federal Government will add $500m boost to CEFC, but will try to update regulations for this money to go on Carbon Capture and Storage (A failed technology), and soil carbon. Legislation is required and this is not a done deal yet. It requires Labor and Senate crossbench to support this. Many Australians will be calling on Labor, Greens and Crossbench MPs and Senators to oppose this change to the CEFC remit.

USA-China Glasgow Declaration at COP26 maintains ambition on CO2 and methane

China and US Climate Envoys take the stage at COP26 announcing Joint Declaration

There has been a lot of pressure on China, with the lack of presence of President Xi Jingping at the Leaders summit last week. The US called out China for the lack of this presence. 

But today Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart John Kerry stunned observers by announcing the China-US Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s. 

This adds to the feeling that although the outcome of COP26 may be mixed, lacking in ambition in some areas according to the Draft cover text, and still not resolving the Emissions Gap or Production Gap, there is still substantial movement going forward.

As background, China only offered a very minor update to it's NDC commitment at COP26. 

But this was after it had increased ambition at the Biden summit in April which included commitment to  join the Kigali Amendment, strengthen control of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, and phase down coal consumption.

In September China committed to stop funding overseas coal projects at the UN General Assembly. September. 

Even though President Xi did not attend COP26, China does have a substantial delegation at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, COP26. 

On Wednesday the USA and China announced their declaration, and outlined what actions both countries would be taking together into the 2020s. This will give a boost to those negotiators arguing for more ambition in the draft textxs for the final COP decision on mitigation, adaptation, Common timeframes and finance.

Transport Day at COP26: aviation, shipping, EVs but don't mention cycling, micro-mobility or public transport

Wednesday 10 November was designated transport day at the UN Climate conference COP26. After the energy sector, the transport sector needs to be decarbonised. Decarbonisation of electricity grids will substantially contribute and assist in reducing transport emissions.

The UK Government used their position as COP26 Presidency for 3 specific declarations, all areas that need to be addressed. But on public transport, e-mobility, cycling, and walking infrastructure and change in mobility behaviours very little.

UN Secretary General on Sustainable Transport (14 October)

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres slammed the IMO for its slow progress on shipping emissions at the Second Global Sustainable Transport conference on 14 October 2021:

“We must accelerate the decarbonization of the entire transport sector.

“Let’s be honest. While member states have made some initial steps through the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization to address emissions from shipping and aviation, current commitments are not aligned with the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement.

“In fact, they are more consistent with warming way above 3 degrees. 

“Adopting a new set of more ambitious and credible targets that are truly consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement must be an urgent priority for both these bodies in the months and years ahead.

The priorities are clear:

  • Phase out the production of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 for leading manufacturing countries, and by 2040 for developing countries.
  • Zero emission ships must be the default choice, and commercially available for all by 2030, in order to achieve zero emissions in the shipping sector by 2050.
  • Companies must start using sustainable aviation fuels now, in order to cut carbon emissions per passenger by 65 per cent by 2050.
  • All stakeholders have a role to play, from individuals changing their travel habits, to businesses transforming their carbon footprint.
  • Governments must incentivize clean transport options, including through standards and taxation, and impose stricter regulation of infrastructure and procurement.

“In developed countries, transport policies that encourage cycling and walking in urban areas, rather than driving short distances, can contribute to progress across the SDGs: on climate, health, pollution and more.

“Sustainable railway systems should be upgraded and expanded for medium and long-distance travel for people and goods, to increase efficiency and encourage shifts in behaviour.

“Second, we must close access and safety gaps.

“This means helping more than one billion people to access paved roads, with designated space for pedestrians and bicycles, and providing convenient public transit options.

“It means providing safe conditions for all on public transport by ending harassment and violence against women and girls, and reducing deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.”

Cycling and related organisations have written an open letter: COP26: Government leaders must commit to boosting cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and reach global climate goals quickly and effectively. We have seen many cities already doing this, especially in Europe, but also North America.

The declaration calls for all governments and leaders at COP26 to:

  • Declare commitments to significantly boost cycling levels at home. This can be done by:
  • Promoting cycling in all its forms, including cycling tourism, sports cycling, bike sharing, riding to work or school and for exercising
  • Recognising cycling as a climate solution, establishing a clear link between how an increase in bicycle trips and a decrease in private car trips reduce CO₂ emissions
  • Creating and financing national cycling strategies and collecting data on cycling to know where improvements in infrastructure and usage can be made
  • Focusing investments on building safe and high-quality cycling infrastructure and in incentives for communities historically marginalised from cycling
  • Providing direct incentives for people and businesses to switch from automobiles to bicycles for more of their daily trips
  • Building synergies with public transport and foster combined mobility solutions for a multimodal ecosystem capable of covering all user needs without relying on a private car
  • Collectively commit to achieving a global target of higher cycling levels. More cycling in a handful of countries will not be enough to reduce global CO₂ emissions. All countries must contribute, and these efforts must be tracked at the UN level.

Climate Home news also pickup on this silence on public transport and active transport: As Cop26 car pledge underwhelms, delegates ask: where are the bikes?

COP26 declaration: zero emission cars and vans

The COP26 declaration on zero emission cars and vans is a landmark global agreement launched by the UK COP presidency to signal the end of polluting vehicles.

The declaration aims for all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets

A. As governments, we will work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission by 2040 or earlier, or by no later than 2035 in leading markets.

B. As governments in emerging markets and developing economies, we will work intensely towards accelerated proliferation and adoption of zero emission vehicles. We call on all developed countries to strengthen the collaboration and international support offer to facilitate a global, equitable and just transition.

C. As cities, states, and regional governments, we will work towards converting our owned or leased car and van fleets to zero emission vehicles by 2035 at the latest, as well as putting in place policies that will enable, accelerate, or otherwise incentivise the transition to zero emission vehicles as soon as possible, to the extent possible given our jurisdictional powers.

D. As automotive manufacturers, we will work towards reaching 100% zero emission new car and van sales in leading markets by 2035 or earlier, supported by a business strategy that is in line with achieving this ambition, as we help build customer demand.

E. As business fleet owners and operators, or shared mobility platforms, we will work towards 100% of our car and van fleets being zero emission vehicles by 2030, or earlier where markets allow.

F. As investors with significant shareholdings in automotive manufacturers, we will support an accelerated transition to zero emission vehicles in line with achieving 100% new car and van sales being zero emission in leading markets by 2035. We will provide proactive engagement and escalation of these issues with investees, coupled with encouraging all our holdings to decarbonise their fleets in line with science-based targets.

G. As financial institutions, we confirm our support for an accelerated transition to zero emission vehicles in line with achieving 100% new car and van sales being zero emission in leading markets by 2035, supported by making capital and financial products available to enable this transition for consumers, businesses, charging infrastructure and manufacturers.

H. As other signatories, we support an accelerated transition to zero emission vehicles in line with achieving 100% of new car and van sales being zero emission in leading markets by 2035.

Almost as a footnote, other forms of travel are included in this declaration:

We recognise that alongside the shift to zero emission vehicles, a sustainable future for road transport will require wider system transformation, including support for active travel, public and shared transport, as well as addressing the full value chain impacts from vehicle production, use and disposal.


A. Governments

Austria, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom

B. Governments in emerging markets and developing economies

Dominican Republic, Ghana, India, Kenya, Secretariat of Economy, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay, Rwanda, Turkey, Uruguay

C. Cities, states and regional governments

Akureyri, Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Australian Capital Territory, Barcelona, Bologna, Bristol, British Columbia, Buenos Aires, California, Catalonia, Catamarca Province, Charleston, Dallas, Florence, Gangwon Province, Jeju Province, La Paz, Lagos, Los Angeles, New York, New York City, Northern Ireland, Quebec, Reykjavik, Rome, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Sao Paolo, Scotland, Seattle, Sejong City, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Government of Sikkim, South Chungcheong Province, Ulsan Metropolitan City, Victoria, Wales, Washington (state)
NSW has also signed according to this SMH report

D. Automotive manufacturers

Avera Electric Vehicles, BYD Auto, Etrio Automobiles Private Limited, Ford Motor Company, Gayam Motor Works, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, MOBI, Quantum Motors, Volvo Cars

COP 26: Clydebank Declaration for green shipping corridors

States will support the establishment of green shipping corridors globally under the Clydebank Declaration launched at COP26. The central tenets of the Declaration are:

  • support the establishment of green shipping corridors – zero-emission maritime routes between 2 (or more) ports.
  • support the establishment of at least 6 green corridors by the middle of this decade
  • aspiration to see many more corridors in operation by 2030
  • facilitate the establishment of partnerships, with participation from ports, operators and others along the value chain, to accelerate the decarbonisation of the shipping sector and its fuel supply through green shipping corridor projects

Signatories: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, The United States of America

Urgent need to start decarbonising shipping

Latest research on urgent need to reduce shipping emissions by Simon Bullock, James Mason &Alice Larkin of the Tyndall Centre for Climate research, published 27 October in the Climate Policy journal, shows the gap between present IMO actions and what is required to meet Paris Agreement targets for shipping.

The declaration failed to call on greater ambition in shipping.

Shipping emissions are globally equivalent to a mid sized developed nation such as Germany.

Because of long ship life lead times, we can't afford to wait.

The article concludes that significantly stronger short- and longer-term targets need to be set for the sector to be compatible with the Paris Agreement’s goals: 34% reductions on 2008 emissions levels by 2030, and zero emissions before 2050, compared with the sector’s existing target of a 50% cut in CO2 by 2050. Crucially, strengthening the target by the IMO’s strategy revision date of 2023 is imperative. The long asset lifetimes of ships and shipping infrastructure limit the speed of transition such that a delay of even a few years will dictate an untenable rate of decarbonization and increased risk of pushing the already challenging Paris goals out of reach.

A decade of no progress at @IMO_HQ  in cutting shipping emissions means the only feasible pathway remaining is the green one - with linear reductions to zero from 2023.

Key policy insights

  • There is a gap between targets set out in the IMO’s Initial Strategy and what is needed by the shipping sector to be Paris-compliant.
  • Paris-compliant targets require a 34% reduction in emissions by 2030, with zero emissions before 2050. Existing targets imply no absolute reduction in emissions to 2030, and only a 50% reduction by 2050.
  • The longer the delay in setting new targets, the steeper subsequent decarbonization trajectories become. Delay beyond 2023 would necessitate an untenably rapid transition, given long shipping asset lifetimes and global requirements for new land-side infrastructures, increasing the mitigation burden on other sectors.

COP26 in November 2021 is an opportunity for the shipping sector to signal its intent to strengthen its targets, and to implement this in its 2023 strategy revision process, at the latest.

COP 26 declaration: International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition

Countries commit to ambitious action on international aviation emissions, including through a new global goal and promotion of cleaner fuels and technologies.

There has been much criticism of this declaration, that it fails to bring the ambition necessary for addressing aviation emissions and climate impact. Read the critiques at Blog: Civil aviation High Ambition emissions reduction at COP26? yeah nah just more greenwashing, blah, blah , blah - back to you ICAO

Stay Grounded has a Petition to the UN climate convention, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the EU Commission, EU Parliament, and national governments: to Stop Greenwashing — Reduce Air Traffic Now!

Signatories to the declaration included: Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Maldives, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America.


Civil aviation High Ambition emissions reduction at COP26? yeah nah just more greenwashing, blah, blah , blah - back to you ICAO

Spoof Aviation ambition website details what true ambition might look like

The United Kingdon today unveiled the  International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

High ambition? Get out . There is nothing substantially new in this declaration.

The declaration notes that the number of global air passengers and volume of cargo is expected to increase significantly over the next 30 years, and they want the aviation industry to continue to build back better and grow in a sustainable manner.

It also acknowledges that international action on tackling aviation emissions is essential, including specifying the 1.5C and 2C Paris Agreement temperature targets.

Meanwhile activists set up a spoof International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition website which put forward actual aviation emissions reduction ambition. It listed 5 commitments that would actually reduce emissions from this sector:

  1. Halve air traffic emissions departing from signatory countries by 2030, from 2005 levels. This is in line with the Paris Agreement’s Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) approach, and will allow improved equality of access to travel in developing countries, within the context of reducing global aviation emissions.
  2. Include emissions from flight departures (both domestic and international) within signatory country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), accounting for both CO2 and non-CO2 warming effects.
  3. Introduce a minimum jet fuel tax of €0.33 per litre on flights between member states, with the revenue raised used for climate mitigation and adaptation in climate vulnerable countries.
  4. Not use carbon offsetting as an emissions reduction measure. Coalition members are therefore raising the ambition beyond that previously agreed with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
  5. 5. Ban crop-based aviation biofuel. This involves the commitment to strengthen CORSIA’s sustainability criteria for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Australia ranked last on climate policy in a global list of 64 countries in the Climate Change Performance Index at COP26

Climate Change Performance Index rating for 2022

Another area where Australia is a true laggard is climate policy. 

The Climate Change Performance Index rated 64 nations on greenhouse gas emissions, renewables, energy use and climate policy. Australia was listed way down the bottom on greenhouse gas emissions, renewables, energy use and very last (64th) on climate policy. 

We ranked 58th overall.

Underwhelming 'Future Fuels Strategy' earns Australia's 4th Fossil award of COP26 on poor transport emissions policy

Where Australia stands on road transport climate policy Via Australia Institute
The release of the Australian Government's 'Future Fuels Strategy' on the eve of Transport Day of the UN Climate Conference, with little substance to increase Electric Vehicles takeup ensured Australia of a Fossil of the Day. This is Australia's 4th Fossil award of COP26.

The United States received the first Fossil award of the day for failing to take basic steps to halt fossil fuel production. Serbia received a third place award for giving grace to big polluters.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Guest Post: Shipping emissions must fall by a third by 2030 and reach zero before 2050 – new research

The shipping sector is in urgent need of decarbonisation.
Simon Bullock, University of Manchester; Alice Larkin, University of Manchester, and James Mason, University of Manchester

International shipping is a crucial part of the global economy – 90% of the world’s trade is transported by sea. But almost all ships use fossil fuels, and so the sector is also a major emitter of greenhouse gas pollution – with emissions roughly on a level with the entire nation of Germany.

Progress on cutting emissions in shipping has been slow. In fact, emissions are no lower now than they were ten years ago. The sector’s record is under scrutiny at COP26 – the latest UN climate summit in Glasgow. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the UN body charged with delivering international shipping’s strategy on tackling climate change – has a target to cut emissions by 50% by 2050. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres criticised this, arguing the IMO’s pledges are not aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, but are “more consistent with warming above 3°C”.

See also: To reach net zero, we must decarbonise shipping. But two big problems are getting in the way

Survivors tell stories of Climate driven mega-fires at COP26 and call for urgent climate action

Wildfire survivors press conference

The fires are growing more intense, burning far greater areas than we have previously experienced. Climate change factors are pushing widfires to become mega-fires. Fires that are near impossible to effectively control. Forest systems that have rarely if ever, seen fire, are now burning.

Bushfires sirvivors from Australia, Canada, USA and Turkey held a press conference outside the Australian Pavilion at #COP26 on Monday, where they shared their stories of heartbreak and loss.

Those who lost everything in the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires in Australia, and then the fires that followed in California, Turkey and Canada, know exactly what’s at stake. 

The Climate Council pulled together these people to share their stories outside the Australian Pavillion.  All the participants called for world leaders and decision makers at COP26 to commit to strong emission reductions this decade.

Otherwise, we risk experiencing Black Summer, after Black Summer, after Black Summer.

Week 2 COP26 starts with Fossil awards to UK and Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Czech Republic

Host country the United Kingdon gets a fossil award for rushing the new Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), and Saudi Arabia for blocking any mention of human rights in the ACE text. Worst of the worst. Mexico and Czech Republic bring up 2nd and 3rd place on Monday's Fossil of the Day stakes.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Fossil Fuel Lobby the largest delegation at UN climate talks COP26

File photo from COP21

So at the UN climate Change conference in Glasgow you might think it is swamped by all these activists calling for increased climate action. But within the corridors of the UNFCCC, mixing with Party delegations, are over 500 fossil fuel executives and lobbyists.

Yes, that's right, over 500.

Much higher than any one party delegation.

Dwarfing the UNFCCC’s official indigenous constituency by around two to one.

We know the Australian pavillion wasn't featuring indigenous knowledge for savannah burning or fire management to help control the more intense mega-fires Australia will be experiencing from now on due in part to Australia's coal and gas, but instead had Gas company Santos spruiking investment in the Moomba project with Carbon Capture and Storage as a costly solution. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Promises Gap of Net Zero by 2050 Honest Government Ad

Half way through the UN Climate conference COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Juice Media highlight the Promises Gap of Net Zero by 2050. Features a cameo of Greta Thunberg.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Its a wrap: Australians support climate action - Financial Times Wrap for Nov 6 for #COP26

On October 11 Australian Ethical Investment called for members to add their names for a wrap around ad in the Financial Times.

I was one of those people who volunteered for my name to feature.

Melbourne joins Global Day of action #COP26 - Moreland Climate CUP and XR Funeral for Koalas

In Melbourne the Moreland Climate Coalition held three covidsafe events in Moreland on Saturday, with other climate protests in the city and at St Kilda, as part of the Global day of action called by the COP26 Coalition in Glasgow.

This included calling the Moreland Climate CUP, the Race to Zero Emissions. Sunlight streaked ahead out of the gates from a slow start. Old King Coal sadly had to retire and be be put down. Of course we'll find a new job for the Old King Coal jockey. That is a matter of Just Transition.

Moreland climate CUP. Old King Coal had to be put down. 2021-11-06-MorelandClimateCup-Coburg-JE_IMG_9373

Greta Thunberg calls COP a "two-week long celebration of business as usual, and blah, blah, blah." at Fridays for Future rally

An estimated 25,000 people joined a Fridays for Future protest in Glasgow on Friday November 5. People from all ages, but especially youth and students.

Greta Thunberg marched with the crowd and made a speech to the Fridays for Future Rally on November 5 in which she argued those leaders inside the COP were just engaged in Greenwashing, that it is largely a PR event, a "two-week long celebration of business as usual, and blah, blah, blah."

"The people in power can continue to live in their bubble filled with ... fantasies like eternal growth on a finite planet and technological solutions that will suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere and will erase all of these crises just like that," she said. "Leaders are not leading."

Australia scores Fossil award for new offshore oil exploration, Brazil for bullying indigenous people | Day 5 of COP26

Brazil and Australia won Fossil awards today. 

Brazil for intimidation and bullying of indigenous people speaking out. 

The Fossil award for Australia is for opening up 10 new areas for offshore oil exploration in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Victoria. 

So this Fossil award is earned by Minister for Resources Keith Pitt. His announcement came on Energy Day at COP while commitments were being made to stop financing new fossil fuel projects, countries signing to phase out coal and launch of the methane pledge,

Taxpayers are already footing the bill for the Northern Endeavour oil rig retirement in the Timor Sea due to a loophole in the regulatory system revealed in 2020. The failure to close this loophole raises significant concerns about Exxon and its 23-strong fleet of offshore platforms and installations in the Bass Strait. If the Northern Endeavour situation were to be repeated with Exxon, Australian taxpayers are potentially up for a $4.6 billion clean-up fee.

Earlier this year, Bass Strait partners ExxonMobil and BHP were ordered to plug 180 wells, dismantle ten platforms and tackle life-threatening corrosion after intervention by offshore safety regulator NOPSEMA, according to Boiling Cold report in May..

Friday, November 5, 2021

Transforming Australia: from laggard to leader - Australian Civil society side event at COP26

"Australia has a very real opportunity to benefit socially, environmentally and economically from increasing its climate ambition and becoming a clean energy superpower. Yet despite claims from the Australian Government that it is beating Paris targets, evidence shows Australia’s energy emissions are on the rise and gas and coal production increasing."

"Australians from every sector of the economy and society – First Nations, finance and faith, cities and states, business big and small, agriculture, resources and energy, health and social service, unions, think tanks, civil society organisations, and higher education – are already acting on climate change, and are calling on the Australian Government to join them in rising to the challenge and opportunities that a zero emissions future presents."

"This event will explore ways in which Better Futures Australia members and our partners can work with the Australian Government to drive momentum behind a plan to reduce emissions this decade. Speakers will examine the diverse climate action being taken by individuals and organisations that are lowering costs and catalysing greater ambition across society and the economy, highlighting opportunities to transform Australia from a climate laggard to a leader."

The Australian climate billboards in Glasgow for COP26

Dan Ilic launched a crowd funding campaign in September to raise $12,500 to pay for a climate billboard in Glasgow. He reached that goal in under 3 hours. He ended up raising over $227,000 . 

A suite of billboard signs were Featured for 10 minutes at Times Square in New York. Money is also being spent on billboards in the leadup to the Australian election.

Three designs are featured on three billboards around Glasgow for the two weeks of the UN Climate Conference, just to inject some humour and let the locals and conference delegates know how on the nose Australia's climate policies actually are back home in Australia.

Poland pledge to delay quiting coal wins Fossil Award at COP26 on Day 4

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE 04/11/21, Glasgow, Scotland

The Polish Government awarded Fossil of the Day for walking a very crooked line. It appears that the Polish government isn't exactly telling the truth about their pledge to quit coal.

Now if you’re sitting comfortably we’ll begin this sorry tale of coal addiction:

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Guest Post: Global emissions almost back to pre-pandemic levels after unprecedented drop in 2020, new analysis shows

Pep Canadell, CSIRO; Corinne Le Quéré, University of East Anglia; Glen Peters, Center for International Climate and Environment Research - Oslo; Pierre Friedlingstein, University of Exeter; Robbie Andrew, Center for International Climate and Environment Research - Oslo, and Rob Jackson, Stanford University

Global carbon dioxide emissions have bounced back after COVID-19 restrictions and are likely to reach close to pre-pandemic levels this year, our analysis released today has found.

The troubling finding comes as world leaders meet at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in a last-ditch bid to keep dangerous global warming at bay. The analysis was undertaken by the Global Carbon Project, a consortium of scientists from around the world who produce, collect and analyse global greenhouse gas information.

The fast recovery in CO₂ emissions, following last year’s sharp drop, should come as no surprise. The world’s strong economic rebound has created a surge in demand for energy, and the global energy system is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

Most concerning is the long-term upward trends of CO₂ emissions from oil and gas, and this year’s growth in coal emissions, which together are far from trending towards net-zero by 2050.

Guest Post: global deforestation deal at COP26 will fail if countries like Australia don’t lift their game on land clearing

Kate Dooley, The University of Melbourne

At the Glasgow COP26 climate talks overnight, Australia and 123 other countries signed an agreement promising to end deforestation by 2030.

The declaration’s signatories, which include global deforestation hotspots such as Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have committed to:

working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.

This declaration should be welcomed for recognising how crucial forest loss and land degradation are to addressing climate change, biodiversity decline and sustainable development.

But there have been many such declarations before, and it’s hard to feel excited about yet another one.

What really matters is changing policy domestically; if countries don’t change what they are doing at home to bring emissions from fossil fuels to zero and restore degraded lands, declarations like this are meaningless.

Fossil awards to USA, France and IETA at COP26 on Day 3

We hear so much about the new ambition by the USA. They have rejoined the Coalition of High ambition, increased climate finance, initiated the Global Methane Pledge, supported the Glasgow Declaration on Forests and land use but there are undercurrents such as ‘AIM for Climate’ (AIM4C) initiative that support industrial agriculture.

France too seems full of ambition, but the undertow is present there as well with a push for the integration of fossil gas and nuclear as 'sustainable' energies in the EU taxonomy.

International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) received a fossil award for... well being mostly fossils and pushing a fossil fuel agenda including on carbon markets. IETA, which represents fossil fuel companies such as Chevron, Shell and BP has a delegation over 100-strong at COP26 according to the participant list.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Over 100 leaders commit to end deforestation by 2030 with Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use

Leader's event: Action on Forests and Land-use. Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use

Over 100 global leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030, underpinned by $12bn in public and $7.2bn in private funding. to invest in protecting and restoring forests and reversing land degradation.

Leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests made the commitment to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 at COP26. This included $12bn in public and $7.2bn in private funding. These announcements were part of an unprecedented package of economic and political commitments to end deforestation worldwide.

It includes the northern forests of Canada and Russia to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Australia has signed the Leaders Declaration on Forest and Land Use, but has not committed to the Global Forest Finance Pledge

Fossil Awards to Norway, Japan and Australia, Ray awards to Scotland, India at COP26 Day 2

Photo: Angus Taylor spruiking Santos Gas and CCS. Photo courtesy @RichieMerzian

Today had a plethora of awards, both good and bad. Norway snatched the first fossil award of the day for pushing gas with CCS. Japan is still promoting fossil coal power plants on the justification that they are necessary to integrate renewable energy, not only in Japan, but also throughout Asia. For Australia the award was for Enegy Minister Angus Taylor for selling Australian fossil fuels and our future down the toilet so brazenly with gas company Santos at the Australian pavillion.

The awards aren't all negative. Scotland received a Ray of the Day for putting £1m from their Climate Justice Fund into Loss and Damage. Much needed real leadership on Loss and Damage finance. And India's substantial increased commitments for 2030 were truly an unexpected  highlight of the Leaders Summit National Statements for their Ray award. 

Australia has a pavillion at COP26 and it appears to be a Santos gas and CCS promotion

Photo courtesy Jo Dodds, Bushfire survivors for Climate Action

 I have attended four UN Climate Change conferences and Australia has never had a country pavillion. But at COP26 Australia is there with some big screens, a coffee machine and signs from Santos, one of Australia's biggest gas exploration and production companies.

Over 100 countries sign on to Global Methane Pledge launched at COP26

Well over 100 nations have joined the pledge said United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in articulating that reduction in the powerful greenhouse gas could prevent 0.2C of warming from being locked in by 2050. 

"Countries coming in to the pledge in the last hour. We are now up to 105 countries" says John Kerry.

Methane is is very powerful greenhouse gas, and it is one of the gases we can reduce quickly.

President Joe Biden said "One of the most important things you can do this decade is to keep 1.5 degrees within reach, is to reduce our methane emissions as quickly as possible. It amounts to about half the warming we are experiencing today. Just methane."

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Fossil of the day awards to Australia and UK on first day of COP26

For the first time Australia has a country pavillion at COP to highlight the 'Australian Way'

And on the first day of the UN climate conference in Glasgow both Australia and the UK both snatched Fossil of the Day awards for their actions in being the worst of the worst.

COP26 is the 5 year anniversary of the Paris Agreement and is all about bringing along increased ambition and climate targets as part of upgraded Nationally Determined Contributions. 

Australia may have pledged net zero by 2050 but utterly failed to bring any new updated 2030 target. Sadly this is a well earned Fossil Award for Australia being a true dedicated climate laggard (in an often busy field).

Australia also featured in the first ECO-Newsletter of COP26, the Outside Looking In Issue:

Deconstructing Australia's National statement on climate action at COP26 delivered by Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the UN climate change conference COP26 and made Australia's national statement speech in Glasgow in the early hours of Tuesday morning. I have provided the statement below in paragraph form along with a factcheck and debunk alongside to better understand and unpack the information.

At the leaders summit the following new commitments were made (Australia's barely gets a mention in finance): 

  • India, Thailand, Nepal, Nigeria and Vietnam make new net zero pledges which now means that 90% of the global economy is covered by net zero commitments. 
  • India’s announcement also included a suite of ambitious 2030 commitments, including  500GW non fossil fuel power capacity, 50% energy requirements from renewable sources and 45% reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy. 
  • New NDC announcements from: Argentina, Brazil, Guyana, India, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique and Thailand 
  • New Long-Term Strategies announced or submitted by Jamaica, Kazakhstan and the USA. 
  • On climate finance, we’ve seen new commitments from: Ireland, Spain, Australia and Luxembourg.

Monday, November 1, 2021

An indigenous story motivates COP26 opening in Glasgow

Outgoing COP President Carolina Schmidt from Chile started the proceedings before handing over to UK Minister Alok Sharma, who was formerly elected by acclamation to COP26 president, who summed up the job of the conference in his speech as to “ensure where Paris promised, Glasgow delivers”.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UNFCCC  told delegates: “We stand at a pivotal point in history”. She urged countries to come together to make progress in Glasgow, saying every day that delays the implementation of the Paris agreement “is a wasted day”.

"We must look beyond the numbers to the humans they represent. The data is unequivocal – we must limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C by the end of the century. We must use the science and act upon it."

"Consider the trust vested in you by billions – and achieve success, not just for our generation, but for all generations to come." said Espinosa in her speech.

But the most moving speech was the story of India Logan-Riley from Aotearoa on behalf of Indigenous peoples. She outlined the importance of indigenous knowledge and staying strong with the land and culture. Indigenous Leadership has already prevented substantial emissions by stopping or delaying  fossil fuel projects.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Morrison at the G20 in Rome - blocking coal phaseout and deflecting climate ambition

G20: Macron and Merkel sit talking while Morrison alone

Before COP26 in Glasgow leaders of the G20 countries will be meeting in Rome on 30-31 October. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will attend both high level leaders meetings.

While there is a block of countries working on phaseout of coal, Australia joins India and China in resisting G20 call to phase out coal.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) on 20 October issued a statement saying COP26 must consign coal power to history. Since its creation in 2017 by the United Kingdom and Canadian governments, the PPCA has grown to more than 130 members, including countries, cities, regions and businesses around the world. This includes 41 national Governments. In Australia subnational governments of The ACT, Cityof Sydney and  City of Melbourne have endorsed the PPCA.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Victoria reduces emissions by 24.8%, on track for 45-50% reduction by 2030

Victoria achieved a 24.8 per cent emissions reduction between 2005 and 2019 and the state’s annual emissions dropped below 100 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for the first time since 1994. This are pre-pandemic 2019 figures, and it is likely emissions have further declined during the pandemic. 

The results were contained in a report tabled in the Victorian parliament .

The Andrews government has met its legislated pledge to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 ahead of schedule, and is on track to meet its target of a 28 to 33 per cent reduction below 2005 levels by 2025, and 45-50 per cent by 2030.

Guest video: Fact-checking & Debunking Morrison's Net Zero 2050 'Plan' | Good COP Bad COP

The Australia Institute:

So Scott Morrison and Angus Taylor announced a net zero emissions by 2050 plan that projects that things will go wonderfully and that they won't need to change anything, especially not phasing out fossil fuel! How good.

However, their supposed confidence in beating their very weak 2030 target isn't enough to actually legislate any changes or increased commitments. This one is a real bin fire, and to help us along, and in honour of COP26 beginning in Glasgow very soon, we're drinking Scotland's finest scotch. Join us as we unpack loads of spin, mistruths and discuss what Australia should actually be taking to COP. (Hint: support and protection of the fossil fuel industry doesn't make the cut)

Friday, October 29, 2021

Methane Pledge debated by Barnaby Joyce and Mike Cannon Brookes highlighting lack of net zero transition plan

Bush Summit 2021 with Clare Armstrong, Barnaby Joyce and Mike Cannon-Brookes

Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce said he took credit for preventing Australia signing the Global Methane Pledge as part of Australia's Net Zero 2050 Plan. It was one of the 3 page list of demands to commit to Morrison's Net Zero by 2050 Plan.

Methane was identified in the most recent IPCC 6th Assessment report as important to reduce emissions this decade due to its high Global Warming Potential in short term time frames like 20 years. "Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH 4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality." said the report. Nature Science journal also highlighted in an editorial on 25 August 2021: Control methane to slow global warming — fast.

The issue of not signing the Global Methane pledge was raised at the Daily Telegraph Bush Summit on Friday 29 October in a discussion compared by journalist Clare Armstrong with Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce and Co-founder and CEO of Atlassian Mike Cannon-Brookes. It also highlighted the lack of any rigorous transition plan in the net zero 2050 policy, and lack of any transition plan for the agriculture sector.