Decisive action on climate change must be at the heart of any resilient recovery from COVID-19, according to the Government of Bangladesh. In comments made in its capacity as the new chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance, Bangladesh called on leaders to ensure that recovery spending targeted at the pandemic also builds resilience to wider systemic shocks created by climate change.
“The COVID-19 pandemic had broken through the thin veneer of our security to the type of global risks we all faced today,” said H.E. Dr. A K Abdul Momen, MP, the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. “It has revealed just how vulnerable society had become and climate change has an even greater potential for disruption, especially for those of us on the frontline”.
Under Bangladesh’s leadership, the CVF indicated it would continue to call for delivery of strengthened contributions to the Paris Agreement. To reinforce this commitment, it confirmed that the country’s Prime Minister, H.E. Sheikh Hasina, will serve as Chair of the CVF.
Bangladesh indicated that its work within the V20 would continue to mobilize the economy and financial resources to fight climate change and ensure international financial institutions are better positioned to respond to climate threats and provide the right support to the most vulnerable. Several innovative financing initiatives under development by the V20 were also highlighted, including the “Accelerated Financing Mechanism”, which aims to address higher capital costs that hold back climate investments in the V20, and the “Sustainable Insurance Facility”, which aims to expand financial protection against climate risks.
“Already reeling from the economic shock of the COVID pandemic our economy was struck by a second tragic event with Cyclone Amphan. This situation of extreme vulnerability is dangerous and unsustainable,” said Ms Fatima Yasmin, Secretary of Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division. “In leading forward the V20, Bangladesh, therefore, aims to work tirelessly, at home and with all our partner countries and institutions, to ensure today’s economic systems adjust to the realities we face. We will promote all efforts towards urgently reinforcing climate and economic resilience.”
The COP26 private finance agenda was unveiled at an event in London last week. Mark Carney, who will step down as governor of the Bank of England next month to focus on his roles as UN special envoy for climate action and finance and the Prime Minister’s Finance Adviser for COP 26 unveiled the agenda. The event also shared a moving preview of Sir David Attenborough’s new film, a keynote from European Central Bank President Madame Christine Lagarde. Acclimatise Chief Technical Officer, Dr Richenda Connell, attended the event.
In his speech, Carney revealed that the objective for the private finance work for COP26, which will unfold in Scotland in November, was to “ensure that every financial decision take climate change into account”. Carney further explained that actions would be needed by regulators and government to catalyse the private financial sector’s efforts, calling on the private finance sector to “help refine and implement” disclosure based on the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD) framework.
Additionally, Carney mentioned a focus on the three Rs – reporting, risk management and return – in an effort to help unlock the private financial flows that are vital to the transition. Whereas increasing the quantity and quality of reporting is essential to driving a whole economy transition, stress tests allow banks to understand which of their borrowers are ready for the transition to a green economy, and which ones will struggle. Following suite, returns enable investors to make informed decisions on whether companies and portfolios are transition ready.
🌍 Finance will power the transition to a zero-carbon economy 🌍
The #COP26 Private Finance Agenda launched last week to help private finance support the global transition to #netzero.
The UK-Italy COP26 presidency
would be building on existing work and networks to build a large coalition of
asset owners and managers who expect their portfolio companies to become
net-zero aligned. Examples of such networks include the Net Zero Asset Owner
Alliance, Climate Action 100+, and the Principles for Responsible Investment
The event was generally well-received with some labelling it as a clear call to action for the finance industry. The event is perhaps the first time a COP host government has fully recognised the critical role finance has to play in climate action, and sought to prioritise its contribution. While Carney’s speech and associated strategy overview document lay out some steps to move forward, the clock is ticking. Private finance may have gotten its very own COP26 agenda in driving a whole economy transition, but there is still plenty of work to be done on the road to Glasgow.
By Christopher J White, Francesco Sindico, and Keith Bell, University of Strathclyde
Every year since 1994, the UN has gathered together the world’s governments at its Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference of the parties (COP), held in a different country each time. The convention’s ultimate aim is to prevent “dangerous” human interference with the climate system. The onus is on developed countries to lead the way and the convention directs funds to developing countries to help them in their efforts.
COP25, held in Madrid at the beginning of December 2019, did not end well. Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg’s solemn speech gave short shrift to countries neglecting their responsibilities, and the likes of the US President, Donald Trump, and Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, responded with personal attacks.
Tensions ran high when climate justice activists were barred from entering the venue and talks stalled, and negotiations ending two days late with a compromise deal on cutting global carbon emissions. Given the raised status of the world’s climate emergency, it was a disappointing end to a conference for which many had high hopes.
In the cold light of a new year, everyone from activists to world leaders are reflecting on COP25’s ultimate failure to set down rules on creating a carbon market between countries. But already, behind the scenes, the UK is looking to the next summit – because this year COP26 will be pitching its tent in Glasgow.
More than 30,000 people are expected to descend on the city in November 2020. For those who live and work in Glasgow it will be a chance to experience being part of an important climate action event. People from around the country will be able to participate in hundreds of events that will be happening across the city. So why will COP26 be such a big occasion for Glasgow, and what will the city itself bring to the mix?
Why hosting COP26 is a big deal
The world’s governments have met every year for nearly three decades to (try to) agree how to stop – or at least reduce the impacts of – climate change. But the fact that these nations have not been able to meet the overall UNFCCC objectives is one of the reasons we now face a global climate emergency.
As world summits go, they don’t get much more important than the UN’s climate change convention. In those three decades, this will be the first time a COP summit has been held in the UK. From a policy perspective, COP26 will be important for at least four reasons:
1. It will take place in the year when all countries are asked to submit their new long-term goals – so ambition to address the global climate emergency will be high on the agenda.
2. It will have to finish the work that COP25 was unable able to conclude – setting out the rules for a carbon market between countries.
3. From Glasgow onwards, the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement will be the key driver of international climate action.
4. COP26 will come just weeks after the US presidential election with the potential implications this will have for US climate policy and US participation in COP26.
Come November 2020, the eyes of the world will be firmly on Glasgow.
Glasgow on show
Scotland has a long and rich history of discovery and innovation, including Glasgow’s past as a world-class centre of shipbuilding, trade and industrial production – a legacy that has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions but has also added much to the quality of human life. From pioneering work on the steam engine and wind turbines, to the invention of television and the life-saving discoveries of penicillin, gin and tonic and Billy Connolly’s shipyard humour, Glasgow has helped shape the modern world.
Glasgow and its history can also shed light on how cities, societies and people can reinvent themselves from a former industrial workhorse to a city of culture, services and new green technologies. Scotland’s collective commitment to net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045 now puts the country at the forefront of real action on the climate emergency. During COP26, Glasgow’s research and innovation will be on show to the world.
Scotland also leads the way not only on the science innovation, but on ways in which research and development can provide community-informed solutions to sea and climate change challenges, and on how climate change relates to Scotland’s coastline and islands.
Researchers in Scotland are also at the forefront of the science-policy-practice interface, working with people in the field to deliver climate change risk and adaptation policies. And with climate change already a reality, Glasgow is also producing science that helps communities become more prepared and resilient.
More than a political event
Glasgow’s experts and innovators will have their moment to shine at COP26 – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with those deciding the direction and effectiveness of the global debate on climate change action. COP26 Glasgow can also be an inspirational event for Scotland’s young people, the generation which will inherit both the burden of climate change and the means to address it.
As we build up to COP26, the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council, alongside the universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian, will be planning numerous events that will run alongside the main COP26 activities.
The countdown has begun. Glasgow will seek to demonstrate to the world how Scottish research and innovation is playing an important role in tackling the global climate emergency.