The Informer

Welcome to our second COP26 special edition of our newsletter, The Informer. 

The second week of the conference began with Adaptation, Loss and Damage Day. Former US president Barack Obama addressed world leaders urging them to understand the severity of the crisis, and for individuals to continue to exert pressure on policymakers and corporations while keeping in view the social and political grounds for inaction. Here are the top agreements made so far:

  • 100 countries sign up to deforestation pledge to begin restoring the world’s forests by 2030.
  • Ecuador to expand the marine reserve around the Galapagos Islands
  • 40 countries have signed on to the "Glasgow Breakthroughs," a pledge to provide developing countries with the innovation and tools they need to transition to net-zero carbon emissions.
  • Almost 100 nations have agreed to slash methane emissions by 30% by 2030, compared to levels in 2020.
  • 5 governments from across the globe have vowed prompt attention and investment to safeguard the environment and transition to more sustainable farming methods.
  • 190 nations and organisations, including major coal-producing countries like Poland and Vietnam, had pledged to phase out coal-fired electricity.

Please find your weekly COP26 news update below and you can follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily updates from the Glasgow conference.


  • PM urges leaders to make ‘bold compromises’ in COP26 talks

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged countries to make the “bold compromises and ambitious commitments” needed to ensure COP26 makes progress. Speaking ahead of the final week of talks, Johnson said the challenge of keeping 1.5C alive “cannot be underestimated”. COP26 President Alok Sharma also said talks were "getting to the point where the rubber hits the road" and stressed difficult days lay ahead. Teams from the UK and 195 other countries plus the EU will work to reach collective agreement on more than 200 pages of text. The UK government said it believed good progress had been made in the first week, highlighting the fact that commitments to net zero by middle of the century means 90% of the world economy is covered, triple the figure when the UK took on the COP Presidency. More than 120 countries, covering 88% of the world’s forests, have also agreed to end and reverse deforestation and new pledges to reduce methane and coal use were also made. However, negotiations are still taking place on issues such as finance and how much developing countries will get in funding to help tackle the impact of climate change. In a hard-hitting speech, former US president Barack Obama urged young people to "stay angry" in the fight against climate change Obama said the world is "nowhere near where we need to be" to avoid a future climate catastrophe. He also attacked Donald Trump's " hostility toward climate science" and criticised the leaders of Russia and China for not attending the summit. Read more

  • Thunberg calls summit ‘global greenwashing festival’

    Climate activist Greta Thunberg has criticised world leaders for “fighting to maintain business as usual” as she called the COP26 summit a failure. Speaking to young campaigners outside the summit she said: “This is now a global north greenwash festival, a two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah. “The most affected people in the most affected areas still remain unheard and the voices of future generations are drowning in their greenwash and empty words and promises.” Thunberg said the people in power live in a “bubble filled with fantasies” such as the prospect of technological solutions that will suddenly appear out of nowhere to solve the crisis. “All this while the world is literally burning, on fire, and the people on the front lines are still bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. They can continue to ignore the consequences of their inaction, but history will judge them poorly and we will not accept it.” Thunberg – who founded the global ‘Fridays for Future’ youth movement on climate change - said “immediate, drastic, unprecedented, annual emission cuts at the source” were needed. Read more

  • Energy leaders hail landmark moment in bid to limit warming

    Meeting the pledges made so far at the COP26 summit would be enough to hold the rise in global temperatures to 1.8C by 2100, according to analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The agency said it was a landmark moment as it represented the first time that governments have come forward with targets of sufficient ambition to hold global warming to below 2C. Ahead of COP26, IEA analysis showed that even if all announced pledges were implemented in full and on time, the world would be heading for 2.1C of warming by the end of the century, missing the goals of the Paris Agreement. Since mid-October, however, it said more countries have been raising their ambitions, highlighting steps by leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strengthen targets. Several other large economies have also announced pledges to reach net zero emissions. However, although the IEA welcomed the progress it also sounded a note of caution, stressing 1.8C is still above the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to well below 2C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5C. Read more

  • Major pledges to move away from coal power

    More than 40 countries have pledged to move away from generating electricity from coal. Some of the biggest users of the fossil-fuel, including Chile, Vietnam and Poland, committed to ending all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally. They have also agreed to phase out coal power in the 2030s for major economies, and the 2040s for poorer nations. In a separate commitment, 20 countries, including the US, pledged to end public financing for "unabated" fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022. Such projects burn fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas, without using technology to capture the CO2 emissions. UK Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the pledges signalled that "the end of coal is in sight”. "The world is moving in the right direction, standing ready to seal coal's fate and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future that is powered by clean energy,” he said. However, UK Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said there were "glaring gaps" with no major commitments from China and other large emitters. Read more

  • Largest UK firms to publish net-zero strategies

    The UK’s largest firms and financial institutions will soon have to publish strategies on how they will transition to net-zero by 2050 under plans announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. A new body, called the Transition Plan Taskforce, will also be created to stop UK financial institutions and stock market listed firms from greenwashing when they draw up their climate transition plans. Sunak said the new rules will mean financial assets worth around $130 trillion – 40 per cent of the globe’s financial assets – are aligned with the UK’s climate goals in the Paris Agreement, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. Sunak said the UK has a “responsibility to lead the way” on decarbonising the City and will urge firms to “mobilise private finance quickly and at scale”. Mark Campanale, founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative think-tank, said the details of how the new measures would work in practice were still unclear. "None of the financial assets announced are currently aligned with net-zero and no group of companies can say they are meeting the Paris target by continuing to invest in fossil fuels, so that needs to change considerably before London can be lauded as the world's first net-zero financial centre and a model for the world," he said. Read more