FleishmanHillard COP26 Daily Digest, Day 10: Tuesday 9th November 2021
On Monday, COP26 welcomed the star power of former U.S. President Barack Obama, who issued a call to action to young people to engage in politics to have an impact upon the climate crisis, while also challenging the decision by Russia and China’s leaders not to attend the summit.
Simultaneously, vulnerable nations continued to demand greater, faster progress on climate finance commitments, while the UK Government announced new funding for climate adaptation – albeit alongside continued criticism of its foreign aid cuts.
Today’s ‘Connecting to COP26’ examines Latin America’s commitments on climate, and particularly the action – or lack thereof – from Brazil and Mexico. It comes from Jorge Diaz de Villegas, Senior Partner, and Denise Rockenbach, Senior Vice President, from FleishmanHillard Latin America.
OBAMA’S CALL TO ACTION | COP26 Daily Digest, Day 10
Businesses that fail to commit to sustainability should be prepared to risk the wrath of their customers, declared former U.S. President Barack Obama at COP26 on Monday.
In an address that lit up the summit, he called on young people to stay angry in their fight to tackle climate change. But he urged activists to channel that anger beyond protests or social media activism, and instead seek to become more involved in politics.
“You don’t have to be happy about it, but you can’t ignore it,” he told delegates. “You can’t be too pure for [politics].”
Acknowledging the power of consumer activism and the sort of conscious consumerism practised by his daughters, he also called on young people to support businesses that were committed to sustainability, and boycott those that were not.
Obama also sharply criticised the decision by China’s and Russia’s leaders not to attend the summit, declaring it was “particularly discouraging to see the leaders of two of the world’s largest emitters, China and Russia, declined to even attend the proceedings, and their national plans reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency.”
However, some critics responded that Obama had made bold commitments during his presidency that the United States had subsequently failed to deliver, including its portion of the much-discussed pledge of $100 billion in climate finance by wealthy nations.
VULNERABLE COUNTRIES CONTINUE CALLS FOR FASTER PACE, MORE FUNDING | COP26 Daily Digest, Day 10
In the final few days of COP26, the summit’s President Alok Sharma said his priority was pace. Yet, Sabra Ibrahim, a COP26 special envoy for the Maldives, claims this is exactly what’s lacking.
Ibrahim warned delegates that her island nation lacks the finances to tackle even the immediate challenges it faces from climate change and criticised wealthy nations for failing to providing the promised finances for poorer nations.
“Resources that were pledged for adaptation have not materialised,” she said. “We acknowledge that progress has been made, but when the world can raise trillions in the face of Covid-19, we question the pace and commitment.”
Meanwhile, Le-Anne Roper, lead negotiator on loss and damage for the Alliance of Small Island States, called rich nations to provide a new finance goal just for loss and damage, over and above the $100bn (£74bn).
In a compelling moment, the Foreign Minister of the Pacific island nation Tuvalu, Simon Kofe, recorded his speech to COP26 standing in knee-deep seawater, in an area that had previously been dry land.
He stressed that it symbolises the “real-life situations faced in Tuvalu due to the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise”.
UK BOOST FOR CLIMATE RESILIENCE AMIDST FOREIGN AID CUTS | COP26 Daily Digest, Day 10
The UK announced almost £300 million in new funding has been earmarked to support countries on the frontline of climate change – despite contentious cuts to the UK’s foreign aid budget earlier this year.
The pledge came ahead of a meeting of ministers from more than 26 countries and regions, including the EU and United States, during the summit’s day focused on adaptation, loss and damage.
Leading the talks, UK International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan announced a support package totalling £290 million.
“We are aiming for significant change that will ultimately contribute to sustainable development and a climate-resilient future for all, with no one left behind,” she said.
The money, from the UK’s foreign aid budget, includes £274 million for the Climate Action for a Resilient Asia (CARA) programme to help countries across Asia and the Pacific better plan and invest in climate action, £15 million for the Adaptation Fund which backs developing countries to lead action where they most need it, and £1 million to support the delivery of faster and more effective global humanitarian action, including in response to climate-related disasters.
It follows the UK Government stating last month that cuts to foreign aid spending would stay in place until at least 2024-25.
Senior government climate change advisers previously warned the cuts showed the UK was “neither committed to nor serious about” helping countries vulnerable to climate change ahead of COP26.
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