GLASGOW, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Money was the theme of Wednesday’s sessions at the U.N. climate conference, but on Thursday delegates turn to energy – both dirty and clean.
Britain will spearhead a non-binding deal among at least 19 countries to end the financing of fossil fuel projects abroad. The burning of coal, oil and gas over decades since the Industrial Revolution is mainly responsible for the carbon-dioxide emissions causing climate change.
More countries also may join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, led by Denmark and Costa Rica. But that effort, which commits members to phasing out fossil fuel production within their own borders, won’t formally be launched until next week.
Poland, Vietnam, Chile and other countries will pledge on Thursday to phase out coal-fuelled power generation and stop building new plants, in a deal the summit’s British hosts said would commit 190 nations and organisations to quit the fuel.
COP26 President Alok Sharma has urged delegates to make this U.N. climate summit the one where rich nations “consign coal power to history”. Banks and other financial institutions including the ADB, Citi and HSBC are also expected to step up to the call, announcing financial mechanisms to help countries quit coal.
Earlier this week, countries including the United States revealed plans to crack down on emissions of the methane, the second-biggest cause of climate change after CO2 emissions. More than 100 countries pledged to slash methane emissions by 2030 from 2020 levels.
But as the world ditches dirty fuels, there is urgent need to boost renewable energy sources. Solar and wind power, along with clean-burning green hydrogen, will come into the conversation, as well as projects aimed at capturing and keeping carbon emissions from the atmosphere. For industries unable to decarbonize immediately, some of these nascent technologies are seen as key.
Major companies have been asked to join the “Race to Zero” pledge to get to net-zero emissions by 2050. And U.N. climate envoy Mark Carney said on Wednesday private finance was set to help with that goal through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, whose members control assets worth $130 trillion.
Delegates are also still wrangling over the rules around Article 6, the section of the U.N. Convention on Climate Change that deals with markets for trading carbon emissions that continue to be emitted. One of the toughest tasks will be in synchronizing global rules around these markets, as well as in agreeing on a global price for carbon. Set too low, the price would offer little incentive for companies to rein in emissions; but a price set too high could end up stymieing industry.
(Reporting by Katy Daigle; Editing by Giles Elgood)