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World Leaders Outline Climate Commitments at COP26 Summit

World leaders met this week for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Glasgow, Scotland. It makes the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) and the third meeting of the Paris Agreement parties.

For almost three decades, world governments have been coming together to make plans on how to tackle climate change. During the meeting in 2015, countries signed onto the Paris Agreement which set a goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. In Glasgow, 120 countries are expected to show how they will meet these promised reductions.

Negotiations are being led COP26 President Alok Sharma and U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney. Sharma is looking for two major outcomes: ending coal power and raising finance for developing countries.

More than 25,000 attendees were expected, including world leaders, negotiators and climate experts. However there is a key absence: China’s President Xi Jinping. Given that China is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters, his absence could make negotiations and decisions difficult and less impactful.

Going into the meeting, the Biden Administration had many unresolved domestic agenda items such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and the Reconciliation Bill, which contain many of the President’s campaign promises on climate change.

Emissions & U.S. Priorities

On Tuesday, leaders of more than 90 countries signed the U.S. and EU-sponsored Global Methane Pledge, designed to cut emissions of methane by 30% by 2030. However, three of the top five methane emitters – China, Russia and India – did not sign the pledge.

The signing was coupled with an announcement of the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would regulate major sources of methane emissions: oil and gas production, pipelines, delivery, landfills, abandoned mines and oil and gas wells, and the agricultural industry. Additional commentary on the effect of this plan to the industry can be found in SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley’s column.

Conservation Pledges

Day two of the meeting was focused on conservation of global forests with more than 100 leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests committed to preventing deforestation. This also included the launch of the Global Energy Alliance for People and the Planet, focusing on the access to renewable energy across Africa, Asia and Latin America during the next decade, along with carbon cuts and creating 150 million jobs.

The Council will continue to monitor negotiations and outcomes of COP26 and its potential impact on the energy services and technology sector.

For more information, contact SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.

Maria Suarez, Director Government Affairs, writes about industry-specific policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, Council activities and more.


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