BARRIE – The United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland concluded on Saturday with the signing of the Glasgow Climate Pact.
Here’s a closer look at what was included in the pact and what it means for Canada.
MAIN TO TAKE AWAY
The Glasgow Climate Pact reaffirmed the commitments made by the signatories of the Paris Agreement. In the Paris Agreement – signed in 2016 – countries agreed to limit global warming to “well below” 2 ° C and pledged to make an effort to limit warming to 1.5 ° C.
Under the Paris Agreement, each country also agreed to define its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and provide a progress update every five years at the United Nations summit.
However, the Glasgow Climate Pact signatories agreed to review their NDCs at the next climate summit scheduled for 2022, instead of 2025.
WHAT ELSE IS CANADA SUITABLE FOR?
End public support for oil and gas: Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom were among the signatories to an agreement to end all new direct government funding for oil, gas and coal development by the end of 2022. Au instead, countries agreed to invest in renewable energy.
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources called this a “big deal”.
“This is a signal that many countries around the world are pledging not to use public resources to fund the further exploration and development of fossil fuels,” Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in Glasgow.
The agreement commits signatories to stop using loans, loan guarantees, share purchases and insurance coverage from any government or government agency to fund new international fossil fuel developments.
Coal removal: in 2018, Canada announced regulations to phase out traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030, and greenhouse gas regulations for natural gas-fired electricity.
Canada and the UK founded the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which now has 165 signatories, 28 of which joined COP26.
During the summit, Trudeau announced that Canada is working to end thermal coal exports by 2030 at the latest, and up to $ 1 billion for the Coal Transition Accelerated Investment Program. of the Climate Investment Fund, to help developing countries switch from coal-fired electricity to clean energy.
However, India, the United States and Australia – some of the largest coal-burning nations in the world – have not signed the pledge to phase out coal.
Instead, the final text of the Glasgow Climate Pact has been revised to replace the phrase “relentless coal phase-out” with “phase-out”.
Reduction of methane emissions: Canada also renewed its support for the Global Methane Undertaking. The federal government initially offered support for the pledge in October, pledging to reduce methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. The pledge now has 110 supporters.
According to a press release from Environment and Climate Change Canada, methane accounts for about 13% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Vehicle emissions: Canada signed a joint statement saying it will work to ensure that all sales of new cars and vans are net zero emissions worldwide by 2040, and no later than 2035 in “major markets. “.
Canada also signed a memorandum of understanding with 14 other countries that have said it will strive to achieve 100% zero emissions on new truck and bus sales by 2040, with 30% by 2030.
Cap on oil and gas emissions: Speaking at the summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said the country will put a cap on oil and gas sector emissions to ensure they decline to a rate that will reach net zero by 2050.
Trudeau’s comments were in line with election promises made by the federal Liberal Party during the 2021 campaign cycle.
Global carbon pricing: Trudeau also touted carbon pricing in Canada and called for a global carbon price.
Trudeau said that currently only about 20 percent of global emissions are covered by a price on pollution. He proposed that this number be tripled to 60% by 2030.
Simon Dyer, deputy executive director of the Pembina Institute, said he believed progress had been made at COP26.
“There have been significant commitments, they have agreed to phase out coal, there has been talk of phasing out fossil fuel subsidies for the very first time, and a number of countries have stepped up their commitments,” he said. he told CTV News.
Dyer, however, said there was “still a lot of work to be done.”
“We are not yet on track to prevent dangerous warming, but it is certainly the most ambitious set of commitments we have ever seen,” he said. “So progress is being made. “
Dyer said Canada was “very active” at COP26.
“They announced some of their federal election platform pledges, of course,” he said. “Most important, I think, is this commitment to finally reduce emissions from the oil and gas sector, which is obviously very important.”
Dyer said Canada had also “really tried” to lead by example in its carbon pricing and “to encourage other organizations to join them there.”
Dyer noted the country’s commitment to the Powering Past Coal Alliance, adding that “in general I think it has been fairly well received.”
Michael Bernstein, executive director of Canadians for Clean Prosperity, called the two-week summit a “really encouraging step forward.”
“There is no doubt that everything that some people hoped for has not been achieved,” he said. “But we have to look at these annual events as if we are moving towards the goal, and I think there have been some notable achievements, including important agreements between countries.”
Bernstein said we are starting to see “ambitious commitments” from world leaders.
“What we must now see are these words translated into important actions and policies,” he said.
Bernstein said that next year’s COP27 summit will be an “opportunity to keep these politicians on fire – so to speak – and ensure they do what they have now promised.”
Bernstein said he envisions three “key policies” that could help Canada meet about three-quarters of its goal – reducing the country’s emissions by 40 to 45 percent by 2030.
“This is the clean electricity standard, which ensures that we are producing net zero electricity by 2035,” he explained. “Second, that we can regulate oil and gas emissions, not production, but emissions so that they start to decline.”
Third, Bernstein said it is a set of policies aimed at moving vehicles across the country to electric vehicles.
But not everyone was so optimistic at the end of the summit.
Sabaa Khan is David Suzuki’s Climate Team Leader and Managing Director for Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
She told CTV News that expectations were “really high” at the start of the summit.
“For the first time, you know, there was a massive mobilization,” Khan said. “We were hearing voices of young people, voices of indigenous people, of small island nations really emphasizing the sense of urgency and the final deal that was made, you know, and that sense of urgency was not translated into that. -this.”
She called the final deal a “major disappointment, in many ways”, adding that many COP26 decisions were “pushed for COP27”.
“The story doesn’t end there, of course there is still a lot of work to be done,” Khan said.
Looking ahead, Khan said she would like to see Canadian ministers at the summit bring those debates back to the House of Commons.
“So that we can really start to see whole-of-government approaches to climate change, not only, you know, among climate change ministers, but also among trade ministers and the rest of government,” she said.
Khan said that over the next few months the ability of the federal government to deliver on the promises made at COP26 and set clear timelines would be “key”.
-With files from the Canadian Press