FleishmanHillard COP26 Daily Digest, Day 9: Monday 8th November 2021
As week two at COP26 moves ahead, the United States is sending heavyweight political leaders to the negotiations to reinforce its ambitions and push for further action from its peers. Meanwhile, the UK Government’s Environment Secretary again raised prospects of a UK carbon border tax, while the COP26 Presidency programme will examine climate finance to aid with adaptation, loss and damage caused by climate change.
Today’s ‘Connecting with COP26’ looks at the European Union’s wide-ranging ‘Fit for 55’ package, which would transform climate and energy policy to set Europe on the path to becoming the first climate-neutral continent. Commentary comes from Jane Gimber, Associate Director in Financial Services and Head of Sustainability, and Maximo Miccinilli, Senior Vice President and Head of Energy and Climate, at FleishmanHillard Brussels.
U.S. HEAVYWEIGHTS WORKING TO SHOW CLIMATE COMMITMENT | COP26 Daily Digest Day 9
While many of U.S. President Joe Biden’s promised climate initiatives failed to make it into his signature social safety net and climate change bill last week, the United States will be back in force at COP26 this week to push for further momentum in the final few days of the summit.
A delegation of U.S. political heavyweights that includes Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and dozens of members of the U.S. Congress will try to reassure delegates – and the world – that America is fully committed to the climate agenda. It coincides with the more complex, technical negotiations that will occur in week two of COP26, as opposed to the broader pledges and announcements of week one.
The $1 trillion Build Back Better Act, positioned as a signature achievement for the Biden Administration, includes $300 billion to support energy companies in building clean power and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, $29 billion to help finance zero-emission technologies, and $19 billion in tax rebates to encourage households and factories to install clean technologies.
But critical initiatives such as a carbon tax and a clean energy standard to force power companies to move away from fossil fuels are missing, disappointing progressive lawmakers who had hoped for greater ambition that would both benefit the United States and drive greater ambition around the world.
CONSIDERING A UK CARBON BORDER TAX | COP26 Daily Digest Day 9
The UK Government is considering a contentious trade measure that could exacerbate disagreement between green advocates and the UK Treasury, which has been seen to obstruct progress on UK climate initiatives this year.
Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the UK Environment Secretary Eustice indicated the Government was considering a carbon border tax. It would potentially increase taxes or duties on products imported from higher polluting countries. In particular, if applied to food items, supporters say it could help to protect British farmers from cheap imports from countries with a poor environmental record.
“We are not going to export pollution,” he told the programme. “If you don’t want to do that, you do want to consider something like a carbon border tax.”
A tax on goods that do not meet the UK’s obligations on climate action could have far-reaching economic implications, as well as environmental ones.
Eustice was criticised by some members of the UK Cabinet for raising the idea earlier in 2021, and the UK Treasury and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have previously rejected it, with the Treasury’s net zero strategy document stating that a carbon border tax “can have an intuitive appeal, they are not straightforward”.
CLIMATE FINANCE TO TAKE ON ADAPTATION, LOSS AND DAMAGE | COP26 Daily Digest Day 9
The first biennial High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on climate finance, part of the UK Government’s COP26 Presidency Programme, will be held today (Monday) as the summit considers the theme of adaptation, loss and damage.
Ministers and leaders will focus on building a more climate-resilient future and will be expected to demonstrate how they will contribute.
Three panels will consider enhancing the predictability of climate finance, improving the scale and effectiveness of adaptation finance, and improving understanding of emerging trends in climate finance mobilisation.
The discussions centre on fears that climate change could push over 100 million people into poverty by 2030 and that to tackle this, we must adapt our economies and societies accordingly and seize the opportunity of a more resilient future.
The impact of extreme weather, environmental degradation, and rising sea levels will form some of the input from a range of speakers from local communities, experts, and government ministers.