As the curtain comes down on COP26 Glasgow can claim to have moved the dial on the Race to Zero while also highlighting the work ahead that is needed to bring emissions down in line with the science. One of the most notable features of this COP has been that the private sector is at the very heart of the discussion.
As Mark Carney noted during the Green Horizon Summit:
“Finance is an excellent feedback loop – if there is a gap between a country’s ambition, its policies and the markets being enabled, then they will be called out in real-time as companies will be reporting on their progress on an annual basis.”
At Pollination our focus is now firmly on the road from Glasgow. We want to ensure that finance supports governments and businesses to implement the pledges that have been made and that we continue to uncover new opportunities to accelerate the transition towards net zero.
We already know that the time for meaningful climate action is upon us and over the course of the last fortnight the Pollination team have been actively engaged in conversations in and around COP26. We’ve made some significant announcements of our own as well as taking part in a myriad of high-profile events at the Conference. Here are some of our COP26 highlights:
- Pollination Co-founding Partner Tony O’Sullivan shared his insights on investing in nature at scale at His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales’s Terra Carta Action Forum. To urgently scale investment, Tony discussed the role of innovation in finance, the contribution that technology can play in growing investor confidence and the work that the Pollination Foundation are doing in ensuring indigenous communities are part of the conversation.
- Pollination Partner Rick Saines presented alongside U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry to launch the Forest Investors Club. The Club is a network of leading public and private financial institutions and other investors, committed to increasing the scale and geographic scope of investment in restoration, conservation, sustainable agriculture and forestry.
- Pollination is advising the Climate Investment Fund in connection with $USD 8.5 billion announcement made at the Conference to support a just energy transition away from coal in South Africa.
- Progress in the development of Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI) India partnership was announced which Pollination is a key strategic partner of. It is an initiative led by Mike Bloomberg that is working to mobilise and scale private sector clean energy investments in India.
- Climate Asset Management, a partnership between HSBC Asset Management and Pollination, helped to mobilise more than $USD 10 billion of private capital investment in nature through the Natural Capital Investment Alliance.
- The Global EverGreening Alliance and Climate Asset Management, announced a partnership to deliver a landmark $USD 150 million nature-based carbon programme in Africa at the Land Use Event hosted by the Marrakech Partnership. The Restore Africa programme is an innovative community-led model that connects the local efforts of farmers on the ground with new revenue streams from global carbon markets.
- Pollination Partner Richard Saines spoke alongside Mark Carney at the Green Horizon Summit to discuss how finance can be deployed at scale in nature.
- James Cameron, Senior Advisor at Pollination joined the Tortoise ThinkIn alongside a panel of experts at The New York Times Climate Hub to tackle the significant question: “Who should pay to save the rainforest?”
- Pollination Executive Director, Marisa Martin presented alongside representatives from Sweden, Norway and Nepal at an event hosted by the Global Green Growth Institute on the work Pollination has been doing to develop the model agreement for Article 6 transactions.
The conference brought together some of the world’s finest minds to tackle what is widely regarded to be the greatest challenge of our time. From David Attenborough’s sobering opening speech to Barack Obama’s call on the world to “step up”, the event has not been short on passionate rhetoric. But what about action? There are too many developments to cover in detail but here is our selection of the key initiatives to come out of Glasgow:
- Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy has secured the support of all major western banks to the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ),with the announcement that institutions with assets under management of $130 trillion have committed to achieving net zero. As Pollination Partner Gavin Templeton comments “GFANZ only formally requires members to commit to a fair share of decarbonisation, therefore we now need to see detailed 2030 transition plans but the Alliance has laid down the gauntlet to policy makers and public sector financiers so the question now is ‘will they step up to the plate?’”
- This was the COP that put natural capital centre stage so one of the first week’s highlights had to be the agreement by more than 100 world leaders, including most notably Brazil, to halt deforestation by 2030.
- After years of refusing to set net-zero carbon targets, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced that his country expects to achieve net zero emission status by 2070. The pledge coincided with the news that India also intends to generate half its electricity from renewables by 2030.
- As the single biggest contributor to climate change it is vital that coal burning is consigned to the history books. The agreement by 46 countries and major banks to phase down existing coal-fuelled power plants and stop the building of new ones was incredibly positive as were the finance packages agreed for South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam to support their transition from coal to clean energy.
- Despite being one of the most potent greenhouse gases and responsible for a third of current warming from human activities, methane has often been less in focus during recent climate negotiations, so the commitment of more than 100 countries to reduce methane emissions by 30% is widely seen as a significant move.
The slew of announcements and pledges is very positive but the two week summit in Glasgow was never going to secure all the commitments necessary to bring climate change under control. As Gavin Templeton points out:
“The transition to a lower-carbon economy will require a reimagining of the global economy. It needs radical thinking, catalytic collaboration and breakthrough ideas.”
We left the conference inspired by our conversations with business leaders, politicians and activists and more confident than ever that meaningful action is well and truly underway. As Rick Saines notes “COP26 has tabled the fundamental shift from pledges to action and all of the parties have been mobilised to achieve dramatic outcomes in the coming decade.”