Good intentions on climate must be backed by results in the COP26 negotiations and short-term action

GLASGOW (8 November 2021) – After a week of headline-grabbing announcements, and some advances in the negotiations, there is a glimmer of optimism that some key issues could be agreed this week. But the good intentions on climate action must be backed by results in the negotiations and short-term actions.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate and Energy, and COP20 President, said; “Specificity on key commitments is needed to boost the credibility of the COP discussions. This past Saturday, a record number of people marched through Glasgow demanding action, not words from leaders. Unless they hook promises into short-term action and make real progress in the negotiations, they will face a credibility crisis.”
Ministers must show the world their leaders really care by making decisions on key issues, including climate finance, and loss and damage. Moreover, they must give certainty to the world that they are taking the problem seriously and ensure that COP26 stipulates that countries must enhance their national climate action plans before 2023 and report on progress. The ambition gap must be closed as soon as possible. Science requires it, and the world is watching.”
Fernanda de Carvalho, WWF Global Policy Manager Climate and Energy said: “We must leave Glasgow with a clear pathway that fosters action and implementation on all fronts including mitigation, adaptation and finance. A key part of this is phasing out fossil fuels and the trillions in subsidies behind them and acknowledging the role of nature to keep 1.5°C within reach. Then we will be able to say leaders and negotiators have started responding to the demands of the people.”
The difficult issues under the Paris ‘rulebook’, including Article 6 (market and non-market approaches), transparency and common timeframes for NDCs, have been sent to Ministers for their decision this week. There is also an expectation for key decisions on Loss and Damage and Adaptation finance, a global goal for Adaptation, and accelerated climate action and implementation.
Mark Lutes, WWF Climate and Energy Senior Climate Policy Advisor, said: “Ministers have a lot of work to do this week across several issues, and will need to provide strong political leadership to steer the COP to complete the Paris Agreement rulebook and ramp up ambition and implementation.”
For more information, contact Mandy Jean Woods
WWF has identified five key priorities it is calling ‘ambition red lines’, the minimum required from leaders and all stakeholders who can help to play their part to drive system change and economic transformation:
1. Accelerate decarbonization, now, and fast
Governments, cities, companies, academia, civil society and investors, among others, must, as an urgent priority, move economic systems onto a sustainable footing, shifting away from our dependence on fossil fuels. In doing so, it is vital that workers in unsustainable parts of the global economy, and their families and their communities, are supported – no-one must be left behind.
2. Act on nature-based solutions
Nature-based solutions are initiatives that protect, restore and sustainably manage land and ocean ecosystems such as forests, peatlands, wetlands, savannahs, coral reefs and mangroves. Although they reduce emissions, protect nature and people and create good jobs, they are not a substitute for emissions cuts in other sectors of the economy. Nature should be protected and restored because it absorbs and stores carbon and plays a key role in adaptation/resilience of places and communities.
3. Help nature and people adapt
Governments must escalate their actions to urgently help the world’s most vulnerable people and many vital ecosystems to adapt and build resilience to a rapidly warming world. We must encourage transformational adaptation solutions. Examples of this could be revitalizing rivers, restoring degraded wetlands or relocating human activities in flood plains instead of building dams and dikes, or shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
4. Finance the future
Private sector financial flows need to be aligned with international climate objectives, with capital directed towards low-carbon activities, away from fossil fuels. We must phase out harmful subsidies. More finance must be directed to support local priorities and fund innovative partnerships. Currently, only 10% of climate finance reaches local actors in developing countries. Developing countries must deliver on their $100 billion commitment, and additional funds should also be made available for vulnerable countries to deal with unavoidable economic and non-economic impacts, known as loss and damage.
5. Pivot to implementation
Sufficient to keep 1.5°C alive, short-term goals must be supplemented by long-term strategies, as required by the Paris Agreement. They must include technically sound and feasible net-zero emissions pledges, with a primary focus on urgent actions to reduce emissions rather than on offsets or unproven technologies.