COP26: Bold on Coal, But only Lip Service to Rainforests
The COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow achieved some good things for the planet and we can feel hopeful. The summit succeeded in achieving agreement to reduce our global dependency on coal. Countries agreed to call for 45% emissions reductions by 2030 relative to 2010 and for the phase-down of coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. But COP26 did not result in the sweeping agreement for rainforest nations that we had wanted, nor did it support finance for developing countries who feel the brunt of the climate emergency.
After two long weeks in Scotland, COP26 concluded on Saturday 13 November. Several decisions, resolutions and statements made up what we call the outcome of COP26 or the Glasgow Climate Pact. The package adopted was the result of a compromise among almost 200 Parties and reflected the interests and aspirations of all participants. However, at the outset, it seemed that several of the critical points raised by African and rainforest countries through the different negotiating groups hadn’t been fully taken into consideration. Issues such as climate finance, adaptation and loss and damage. To our amazement the critical issue of saving our rainforests also took a backseat by UK Presidency.
Simply put, the interests of the Global South weren’t given enough priority. On climate finance, African countries were seeking adequate finance to developing countries. And CfRN wanted clear guidelines on how emissions reductions accomplished by our countries since 2005 through unfunded conservation efforts were going to be financed.
Many of our rainforest nations nobly banded together to fight for recognition and funding of their conservation efforts. Daily, the CfRN secretariat and countries met to discuss policy, strategy, and legal guidance on the negotiating text, as it unfolded. Both high level representatives and negotiators from rainforest countries to included Congo, Belize, DRC, Liberia, Gabon, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Ghana, Mozambique joined the meetings. While rainforest nations kept working for the climate justice and equity deserved, high-net worth philanthropists like Bill Gates visited our COP26 Pavilion to discuss rainforests.
Papua New Guinea, CfRN ‘s 2021 country chair, and EY, our global partner, collaborated with us on a beautiful two-storey pavilion inside the Scottish Event Center. Every day, our countries utilized the space, offering presentations, south-south exchanges, and panel events on the pavilion stage. Our countries also held high-level private-public sector meetings with the global chairman and CEO Carmine di Silva and many of EY’s clients to explore climate financing opportunities.
Many of our countries willingly pledged to end deforestation by 2030 and forests were highlighted as essential to limiting temperature rise. But the reality is that $100 billion per year will be needed over the next 10 years if we are going to save tropical rainforests. The underwhelming $19.5 billion which the UK government announced on November 3, 2021, won’t be enough.
So, our countries still have much more work ahead within the Paris Agreement to truly end and reverse global deforestation. CfRN will be ramping up our efforts to lead on rainforests at COP27 in Egypt, next November. We must secure fair funding for all our countries who didn’t cause the climate emergency but who feel the brunt of it every day. You can rest assured that CfRN will be doubling down on climate justice and equity, and will slow, stop, and reverse global deforestation. COP27 here we come!
Executive Director, Coalition for Rainforest Nations