COP26 – Turning up the heat under a global stage

CHECKLIST FOR PROGRESS

COP26 stands for Conference of the Parties and will be attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty that entered into force in 1994. The 2021 meeting will be the 26th meeting.

The meetings serve as a global stage for countries to make commitments on climate change — promises they can be held accountable for by other countries and delegates including groups like Friends of the Earth.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of COP26 has boiled down his aspirations for the meeting to “Coal, Cars, Canopy (trees) and Cash”.  For real progress at COP26, Friends of the Earth wants countries to put people and the planet before profit and commit to putting people and the planet before profit by committing to a global plan for a justice transition, uprooting the systems of injustice that have created these crises to guarantee everyone the right to live with dignity in harmony with our planet.

Here’s our checklist for progress at COP26:

☐ REAL ZERO TARGET

Rich countries pledge real zero 2030 targets with real plans – in line with fair shares for 1.5C – rather than the delay and greenwash of “net zero” 2050 targets.

☐ ADAPTATION GOAL

Countries define a process to measure progress towards the Global Goal on Adaptation and ensure adequate financial and technology support is available.

☐ STOP FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES

Rich countries pledge to cease public subsidies for fossil fuels and instead scale up the levels of new and additional public finance (not debt creating loans nor market mechanisms) in line with the trillions of dollars developing countries need.

☐ ADDITONAL PUBLIC FINANCE

Rich countries agree to provide additional public finance of at least $100 billion in climate finance per year to support those bearing the brunt of losses and damages from climate breakdown today to help them recover and rebuild their lives.

☐ REAL SOLUTIONS REPLACE FALSE NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS

Countries abandon the false solution of offsetting and carbon markets and make a serious effort to advance real solutions via non-market cooperative approaches.

☐ COMMIT TO A RAPID JUST TRANSITION

Countries commit to develop a global plan for a rapid just transition away from fossil fuels and other extractive, large-scale and corporate controlled false solutions, whilst tackling inequality and prioritizing sufficiency and well being.

Read more: https://demandclimatejustice.org/2021/10/21/cop26-background

Nature Based Solutions’ and vague ‘Net Zero’ pledges are a dangerous distraction from what rich countries need to do to stay below the agreed 1.5 C temperature limits.

BEWARE OF NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS – LIKE A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

“Nature-based solutions” are a smokescreen strategy pushed by big corporations. It’s a concept ripped from its roots in social and peasant movements which practice genuinely close-to-nature farming approaches such as agro-ecology and community forest management. It’s being used to justify the expansion of agribusiness, with numerous schemes planned or under way – from tree plantations to gene drives – now being referred to under the umbrella term Nature Based Solutions. But they are neither solutions nor natural.

READ: A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

WE NEED REAL ZERO NOT NET ZERO REDUCTIONS

“Net zero” means that fossil fuel companies can continue to explore, drill, extract, and burn fossil fuels, while someone somewhere else sucks carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, magically balancing out emissions. But whose land, whose forests will be used to suck that carbon out? Fossil futures require carbon unicorns.

Powerful actors are using “net zero” pledges to hide their climate inaction. Stopping the climate crisis requires us to stop burning fossil fuels – no magical thinking will solve this problem, just immediate action and system change. But transnational corporations and governments are hiding behind the “net” in “net zero” – claiming that they just need to pay someone else to remove carbon, through carbon offsetting, rather than taking action on their own.

READ: Chasing Carbon Unicorns

NEW October 2021 briefing on net zero in 3 languages here