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Source: Small Island Developing States

To mark the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the UN, United Kingdom, and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy, co-convened a high-level event to mobilize commitments for addressing the global climate challenge. 

Only countries and stakeholders making new and ambitious announcements were given a speaking slot during the virtual event. The 111 speakers included Heads of State and Government as well as non-governmental actors representing youth, subnational governments, business, Indigenous peoples, and civil society.

 The golden thread of climate action should weave through every international gathering in 2021. COP 26 President-designate Sharma

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report of the event, which took place on 12 December 2020, indicates that statements coalesced around four themes: new and enhanced Paris Agreement medium-term plans, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs); long-term low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission development strategies, as requested by the Paris Agreement, and mid-century, net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) and GHG emissions targets; adaptation plans and strategies; and climate finance.

Seventy-five leaders announced new commitments, some of which had been communicated in recent months or days, or indicated ongoing work. Among the major announcements were China’s NDC-related commitment to lower its CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by over 65% by 2030, from 2005 levels; the European Union’s NDC-related pledge to reduce GHG emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030; and the UK’s NDC-related target of reducing GHG emissions at least 68% below 1990 levels by 2030.

Additional pledges included:

  • Net zero-related pledges by Argentina, Barbados, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Fiji, Finland, Japan, Malawi, Maldives, Nauru, Nepal, Republic of Korea, and Sweden;
  • Adaptation pledges by Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Marshall Islands, Portugal, Spain, Suriname, Uruguay, and Vanuatu, among others; and
  • Climate finance pledges including from Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, and the UK. 

The Cities Race to Zero – part of the global Race to Zero Campaign – was joined by 72 new cities and local authorities from Belgium, China, Denmark, and the UK. And companies from the manufacturing, industry, aviation, transport, technology, and fashion industries offered mitigation pledges. 

In his closing remarks, COP 26 President-designate Alok Sharma, UK, announced that the UK will double its climate finance contribution to USD 15.5 billion over the next five years. 

In all, Sharma said 45 NDCs, 24 net zero commitments, and 20 adaptation and resilience plans were announced during the event. He called for “the golden thread of climate action to weave through every international gathering” in 2021. [ENB coverage of the Climate Ambition Summit][Climate Ambition Summit website]

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News