What was agreed at COP 26? - Chamber

17 November 2021

From the 31 October to 12 November, world leaders gathered to negotiate international climate action at COP 26. As a result, further ambitions regarding climate change policy were announced.

The key outcomes from COP 26 included global agreements on many themes.

The current policies in place today are expected to result in a warming of 2.6 C to 2.7 C by 2100, which would be catastrophic for economies.

However, net zero promises and commitments to 2030 from COP 26, if honoured, are predicted to result in warming of 1.8 C (1.4C – 2.6C) by 2100, which shows the challenge of keeping the 1.5 C hope alive (currently we are at 1.2 C warming from 1850 levels.).

Over 40 countries representing more than 50 per cent of global emissions – including the UK, US, China, Australia have agreed:

  • Zero emission vehicle are the new normal and accessible, affordable and sustainable in all regions by 2030
  • Clean power is the most affordable and reliable option for meeting power needs efficiency by 2030
  • Very low-carbon steel is the preferred choice in global markets. Efficiency use and near-zero emission steel production established in every growing region by 2030
  • Affordable renewable and low carbon hydrogen is globally available by 2030
  • Climate resilient, sustainable agriculture is the most attractive and widely adopted option for farmers everywhere by 2030

Other key agreements were made on deforestation, methane, cola phase outs, fossil fuel financing, and low emission vehicles, namely:

  • Deforestation: 130 Countries signed the Glasgow leaders’ declaration on forests and land use to “work collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030”; 28 countries signed the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade statement to support sustainable trade between commodity consuming and producing countries, representing 75 per cent of global trade in key commodities that contribute to deforestation.


  • Methane Pledge: 109 countries signed a pledge to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, 109 countries (including Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and UK) representing nearly half of global methane emissions and 70 per cent GDP. Although Australia, China, India and Russia have not signed.


  • Coal Phase Out: 190 countries have announced commitments to phase out coal power. 23 countries included a commitment to end new investment in new coal power, through the global coal to clean power transition statement.


  • Fossil Fuel Financing: More than 30 countries (including USA, Canada, UK, Germany and European Investment Bank) and financial institutions signed a statement committing to halting the finance of fossil fuel developments overseas, diverting the finance to green.


  • Zero Emission Cars: the UK, Canada, Norway and Chile, along with Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo committed to the sale of new cars and vans to be zero emissions by 2040 globally, and no later than 2035 in leading markets. Germany, China and the US were reported to have not signed at the time.


  • Financial alliances:  450 firms in 45 countries have committed $130tn asset base towards the net-zero transition in the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero. Signatories must use science-based guidelines for net zero by 2050 and have 2030 goals. The $130 trillion is the asset base of those signed up and not the amount of investment freed for net zero; The International Monetary Fund will start a Resilience and Sustainability Trust of up to 50 billion, through the Special Drawing Rights fund.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) are set debrief the implications of COP 26 outcomes for the region and its businesses. This will be underpinned by a series of blogs and an on-demand video from sponsors of the Sustainable Business Series 2021 (Aston University, Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure, Arup and University of Birmingham).

The Sustainable Business Series aimed to share best practice guidance and knowledge to support businesses journey to net zero.

Will Hargreaves (pictured), policy advisor at the GBCC, said: “The outcomes from COP 26 represent a key milestone for international climate action and set the scene for the continued strengthening of agreements. COP 26 has raised awareness and encouraged more ambitious targets within the business community.

“It is key that the UK Government continues to work with the world’s largest emitters to drive the most emission reductions, whilst strengthening domestic environmental targets that support the net zero target and growth of low-carbon business.

“The Chamber will continue to support and engage businesses in environmental developments, such as through our pre-COP 26 campaign, the Sustainable Business Series. In the next few weeks, we will work with partners on debriefing COP 26 for businesses.”

You can find out more on the Sustainable Business Series here.

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