Home/My take on COPOUT26: Some progress has been made, but we are still on a catastrophic trajectory
November 25, 2021

CEO Dave Rouse at COP26

The tears of disappointment in the eyes of president Alok Sharma during his final speech summed up the emotional rollercoaster that has been COP26.

As a New Zealand business delegate at COP26, I’ve met and worked with some amazing people during the event. Behind the scenes, it’s been truly inspirational to see the efforts that have gone in, the negotiations that ran into the early hours of the morning and what people are doing in their own ways to help change the catastrophic trajectory we are on.

Article 6 and the Carbon Market

Left unresolved from the previous summit, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement — which sets out the regulations for international carbon markets — was set to be one of the key outcomes at COP26. Finally, at the close of the summit, the rulebook was approved.

Coal commitments and India’s withdrawal

By far the biggest let down, coming at the event’s eleventh hour, was the change in language by India on coal commitments from ‘phasing out’ to ‘phasing down’.

The role of business in reductions, and the voluntary carbon offsetting market.

There are some clear short and medium term outcomes we can expect for the carbon offset market as a result of COP26.

Some of the many positive outcomes

The best outcomes yet are the Carbon Credit Quality Initiative by WWF, EDF, and Oko Institut. They present a plan to deliver independent, user-friendly scorings for the quality of carbon credits, creating clear path for project developers and carbon crediting standards to improve.

What can we expect next?

Between now and the next COP, there will be much work ahead, including Saudi coming to the party on oil & gas (conversations it diverted craftily to coal this time around), social aspects (Indigenous rights, gender equality, loss & damages, finance for developing nations), and of course lobbying China, the US and India to return to the initial commitments of a “phase out” of coal.