United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is set to launch a group of experts to analyze private sector commitments to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, he said at the start of two weeks of negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow Nov. 1.
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"Let's have no illusions: if commitments fall short by the end of this COP, countries must revisit their national climate plans and policies," Guterres said in a speech at COP26.
"Not every five years. Every year. Until keeping to 1.5 degrees is assured. Until subsidies to fossil fuels end. Until there is a price on carbon. And until coal is phased out," he told delegates at the talks.
The goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius must be kept alive, and this requires tighter standards on tracking greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
"This requires greater ambition on mitigation and immediate concrete action to reduce global emissions by 45% by 2030," he said.
"There is a deficit of credibility and a surplus of confusion over emissions reductions and net-zero targets, with different meanings and different metrics," said Guterres.
"That is why – beyond the mechanisms already established in the Paris Agreement – I am announcing today that I will establish a Group of Experts to propose clear standards to measure and analyze net-zero commitments from non-state actors," he said.
Developing countries urge support
Speaking at the start of the COP26 summit Oct. 31, India's environment minister Bhupender Yadav said developing countries need to have a different approach to climate action.
"Developing countries must be accorded time, policy space and support to transition toward a low emissions future," he said, speaking on behalf of the BASIC group of countries: Brazil, South Africa, India and China.
"The BASIC group recalls the bottom-up nature of the Paris Agreement and the freedom of Parties to determine their NDCs [Nationally Determined Contributions] and progressively update them on the basis of the outcome of the global stock take cycle and as per national circumstances and the call of science," he said.
The most developed countries need to deliver on their pledge to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance to the poorest countries, he said. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Oct. 25 said the $100 billion/year figure would only be delivered three years later than originally pledged, in 2023.
Along with finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building are critical enablers of climate action in developing countries, said Yadav.
Decisions in Glasgow on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which details a global system of trading emissions reductions, can help achieve the overall goal, he said.
"Decisions particularly on climate finance and Article 6 can significantly help enhance climate ambition. A market mechanism that facilitates private sector engagement in carbon markets could help further raise climate ambition, in addition to what is being achieved under the NDCs," Yadav said.