Live Blog: VTM @ COP26

What you need to know:

  • The United Nations Climate Change conference, also known as COP, is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland between 31 October - 12 November 2021.

  • Previous conferences have resulted in monumental legislation, including the the Paris Accord back in 2015.

  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing may have only recently become a mainstream consideration, but progress at COP could turbocharge this concept.

  • Companies right across all 11 sectors will be keeping a keen eye on how legislation could impact how they do business at a fundamental level.

12 November 2021

17:15 PM (GMT)

370 more coal plants (290 GW) given a close-by date by pledges in the run-up to and at the COP26 summit, according to analysis from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). A total of 750 coal-fired power plants around the world would have a phase-out date, while another 1600 plants (1420 GW) are covered by carbon neutrality targets but stop short of a phase-out decisions. 

The analysis also concluded that 90 new coal power projects (88 GW) were likely to be cancelled due to “no new coal” and no new fossil fuel financing pledges. If expected proposals to phase out coal by 2030 from Germany and the US come to pass, CREA says the number of coal power plants with a Paris-aligned phase-out date would increase to 510 (460 GW).

Whichever way you slice it, energy companies with exposure to coal are going to have to modernise very quickly.

17:00 PM (GMT)

We're coming to the end of the final day of COP26 and the overarching deal has still not been agreed. Reports suggest that negotiations are likely to go on past 18:00 PM (GMT) and into the evening.

There remains a lot of pressure for the deal to really back renewables and outline clear measures for binning energy sources like oil and gas.

Maria Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, has called for the agreement to make it "crystal clear" that "the end of coal power and fossil fuel subsidies is both inevitable and in sight". She continued:

"Over 750 companies from across the world are urging governments to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030 for developed countries and by 2040 for other countries. This along with an end to fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 is the timeline business needs to help get us on track. Anything less is incompatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5ºC.”

14:30 PM (GMT)

COP26 President Alok Sharma has offered an update on the progress of negotiations. He said teams had been negotiating throughout the night but that "urgent collective action" was needed to get a deal over the line.

Sharma explained:

"A small number of key issues remain which require our urgent collective attention. We have come a long way over the past two weeks and now we need that final injection of can-do spirit present at this COP so we can get this shared endeavour over the line."

With protestors and delegates having widely labeled the summit as ineffective over the last two weeks, the pressure is really on to formulate a concrete agreement.

14:15 PM (GMT)

Hundreds of delegates representing civil society groups have staged a walkout from COP26. According to reports from The Guardian, the group are "representatives of Indigenous People, farmers, youth, women, academics, trade unions, disabled people and environmental NGOs".

Just prior to the walkout, Tla A’min Nation indigenous activist, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, told the assembled delegates:

“Cop26 is a performance. It is an illusion constructed to save the capitalist economy rooted in resource extraction and colonialism. I didn’t come here to fix the agenda – I came here to disrupt.”

09:55 AM (GMT)

Some reaction to the new draft text here. Greenpeace International executive director, Jennifer Morgan, commented:

“It could be better, it should be better, and we have one day left to make it a lot, lot better. Right now the fingerprints of fossil fuel interests are still on the text and this is not the breakthrough deal that people hoped for in Glasgow.

“The key line on phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies has been critically weakened, but it’s still there and needs to be strengthened again before this summit closes. That’s going to be a big tussle and one we need to win. Meanwhile we’ve gone from ‘urging’ countries to strengthen their 2030 emissions targets in line with the 1.5C goal to merely ‘requesting’ they do so by 2022. It wasn’t good enough before, it’s even weaker now and that needs to change."

09:45 AM (GMT)

Some more on the draft agreement here. As well as mentioning fossil fuels, the agreement also references clean alternatives. It calls upon signatories "to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies, and the adoption of policies, to transition towards low-emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation".

It will be interesting to see how different nations adhere to this instruction, assuming it remains in the final text of any signed agreement. New subsidies and grants for the clean energy sector could create enticing opportunities for investors, as well as the companies themselves.

09:30 AM (GMT)

It's the final official day of COP26 and negotiations are due to close. However, that does not mean that this summit is all over. Negotiations for an overarching agreement between the member nations could continue over the weekend.

The big news from overnight is the release of a new draft agreement from all 196 countries. Among other things, the new agreement stipulates that signatories commit to "the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels". This is slightly different wording to the draft version released on Wednesday.

The prior version simply called for the general "phasing out" of coal and fossil fuels subsidies, so the more general language is perhaps good news for fossil fuel producers.

Another sticking point within the deal is when nations will have to return to the summit with more significant pledges. The current date is in 2025, but some member countries want to move this deadline forwards.

11 November 2021

16:50 PM (GMT)

In some more news linked to today's COP26 theme of cities and urban areas, 40 businesses have joined the World Green Building Council’s pledge to decarbonize the built environment across their portfolios and business activities.

The commitment stipulates that, by 2030, new developments or major renovations must be built to be highly efficient, powered by renewables, with a maximum reduction in embodied carbon and compensation of all residual upfront emissions. Additionally, existing buildings must reduce their energy consumption and eliminate emissions from energy and refrigerants.

Deals like this could really shake up real estate and construction businesses, requiring them to come up with innovative 'green' solutions for new projects. Signatories include the state of California, New York City, Deloitte and Goldman Sachs.

16:30 PM (GMT)

The Race to Zero campaign has announced that $1.2trn in real estate assets under management are now committed to halving emissions by 2030. Additionally, over 100 SME construction companies across 10 countries have joined the Race to Zero. Signatories to the scheme are required to publish their action plans for delivering against their commitment on an annual basis.

Some of the biggest real estate firms signed up to the Race to Zero's initiatives are CBRE Group (NYSE:CBRE), Weyerhaeuser (NYSE:WY) and Digital Realty (NYSE:DLR).

15:10 PM (GMT)

Here's a clip of COP26 President Alok Sharma speaking earlier and calling on delegates to reach an overarching agreement.

14:00 PM (GMT)

Today at COP26 has yielded the launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA). The group have committed to halting oil and gas production and each member will give a date for when they will cease handing out licenses for exploration.

However, the relatively short list of signatories is a little underwhelming. Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Québec, Sweden and Wales have put their names to the agreement.

However, New Zealand, Portugal and California have signed up as associate members, while Italy is a registered as a 'friend' of BOGA and Scotland is reportedly interested in joining. Affected fossil fuel producers could include Berry Corporation (NASDAQ:BRY) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), both of which have oil operations in California.

13:20 PM (GMT)

Australia has been singled out for criticism by its own former COP negotiator. Richie Merzian, who is now The Australia Institute's climate and energy program director, told The Guardian that the Australian government had come to the summit "to get away with doing as little as possible". Merzian continued:

“They only want to look at technology and to support corporations – technologies that support the continued production of fossil fuels. The Australian government has over 100 new fossil fuel projects in the pipeline. It is the third-largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world after Russia and Saudi Arabia and it should be seen in the same grouping as Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“The only thing Australian has brought to this negotiation is good coffee over at the Australian pavilion.”

More than half of Australia's energy comes from coal, with no nuclear capabilities and limited input from clean energy sources. According to the nation's Clean Energy Regulator, the biggest emitters in Australia include AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL), Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL).

12:10 PM (GMT)

COP26 President Alok Sharma has offered an update on the progress of the draft agreement released on Tuesday night. Sharma commented:

"I am under no illusion that any [country] is really satisfied with where the text stands. There is still a lot more to be done."

With the summit set to end tomorrow, delegates are running out of time to reach consensus on an overarching agreement. Sharma hints that one of the main sticking points is financing for developing nations, who might struggle to transition to net zero without outside help.

A new draft of the agreement will likely be published tonight. Investors looking to gage the impact of the summit on their portfolio will be keen to learn more.

11:20 AM (GMT)

Here's some footage from last night's announcement from the US and China.

11:00 AM (GMT)

US oil firms are butting heads with the Biden administration. Oil and gas lease sales were paused by the administration in the first and second quarters of 2021, following an executive order. However, a federal judge blocked the pause and 13 states are now auctioning off licenses.

Quoted by BBC News, Center for American Progress deputy director for Public Lands, Jenny Rowland-Shea, said: “The oil industry likes to say it supports cutting emissions and moving away from fossil fuels, but it is blocking almost any attempt to achieve it.”

Cutting emissions from oil and gas will be key for the US if it is to comply with new agreements, such as the cooperation deal signed with China last night. But how much are fossil fuels companies doing to embrace this future? Check out what Value the Markets has to say about the future of fossil fuel investment.

09:30 AM (GMT)

It's the penultimate day of COP26 and the main event today is called 'Cities, Regions and Built Environment: Advancing action in the places we live, from communities, through to cities and regions'. Try saying that with a mouthful of mushrooms.

The biggest news from the conference this morning is a joint declaration from the US and China. The two nations unexpectedly pledged to work together on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade. The deal highlights certain areas, such as methane and public transport, where the duo will work together to reduce emissions.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, commented:

“The two largest economies in the world have agreed to work together on emissions in this decisive decade. This is a roadmap for our countries and future collaboration. China and the US have no shortage of differences. But cooperation is the only way to get this job done. This is about science, about physics.”

10 November 2021

17:12 PM (GMT)

More than 1,000 companies have committed to setting 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets, according to the United Nations Global Compact and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The companies, which represent more than $23trn in market capitalization, must submit their targets to SBTi for validation within 24 months. They must then report company-wide greenhouse gas emissions and progress on an annual basis.

UN Global Compact CEO and executive director, Sanda Ojiambo, said:

"Today, through the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign we have witnessed an unprecedented increase in corporate commitments to tackle the climate emergency. Leading companies must now build trust by setting credible and independently-validated emission reduction targets and report on their progress. Greenwashing and misleading commitments have no place on our path to net-zero.”

16:45 PM (GMT)

Unsurprisingly, electric vehicles are a hot topic at COP26 on transport day. Over 100 businesses, governments and cities have now signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans. This is a pledge to phase out the use of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. However, notable absentees include Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Volkswagen (XTRA:VOW).

Elsewhere, 35 companies, countries, regions and cities have put their name to an agreement to accelerate the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. We Mean Business Coalition CEO, María Mendiluce, commented:

“Forward looking businesses know the future is electric. Hundreds of companies are switching to 100% electric vehicles as part of the EV100 initiative, while major automakers are transitioning their production lines to zero emission vehicles. 

"Now we can see zero-emission technologies are ready to take hold in heavy transport as well, with a global agreement on zero emission trucks and buses. This kind of progress is essential to our collective effort to keep 1.5ºC within reach.” 

More information about the latest in electric vehicle news can be found here.

13:45 PM (GMT)

Some more reaction to the draft agreement from COP26 has been dripping in throughout the day. It's fair to say that most of that most commentators are disappointed by the deal.

The Alliance of Small Island States chair, Aubrey Webson, said:

"The text provides a basis for moving forward but it needs to be strengthened in key areas in order to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable, particularly on finance. We won't get the ambition on emissions that we need for 1.5C if we don't scale up the provision of finance, and this includes the long overdue recognition of a separate and additional component for loss and damage.

"'Urging', 'encouraging' and 'inviting' is NOT the decisive language that this moment calls for. We have limited time left to get this right and send a clear message to our children, that we hear you and are taking this crisis seriously."

09:45 AM (GMT)

Before we shift our focus fully to today at the summit, it's worth noting the big news from last night. The first draft of an agreement aimed at further slashing emissions to ensure temperature increases can be limited to 1.5C was released.

Among other measures, the draft agreement calls on world leaders to ramp up their commitments in 2022, as well as to agree to annual roundtables that will increase enthusiasm for slashing emissions. However, the draft deal has not satisfied many climate campaigners, who say far more extensive action is needed. Greenpeace International executive director, Jennifer Morgan, said:

“This draft deal is not a plan to solve the climate crisis, it’s an agreement that we’ll all cross our fingers and hope for the best. It’s a polite request that countries maybe, possibly, do more next year. Well, that’s not good enough and the negotiators shouldn’t even think about leaving this city until they’ve agreed a deal that meets the moment. Because most assuredly, this one does not."

09:20 AM (GMT)

Wednesday's session at COP26 is 'Transport: Driving the global transition to zero emission transport'. As such, we can expect a big day for electric vehicles and other alternative fuels. Perhaps car manufacturing giants will also be able to set their differences aside and sign their agreement to end new car emissions by 2040.

9 November 2021

16:20 PM (GMT)

Some commentary here to put those temperature figures into a bit of context. Reacting to the Climate Action Tracker report, Climate Analytics CEO Bill Hare said:

“The vast majority of 2030 actions and targets are inconsistent with net zero goals: there’s a nearly one degree gap between government current policies and their net zero goals.

“It’s all very well for leaders to claim they have a net zero target, but if they have no plans as to how to get there, and their 2030 targets are as low as so many of them are, then frankly, these net zero targets are just lip service to real climate action. Glasgow has a serious credibility gap."

14:20 PM (GMT)

The Climate Action Tracker has reported that the planet's temperature is projected to increase by 2.4C by the end of the century. This reading, which takes into account commitments made at COP26, is well above the upper limit of 2.0C set in the Paris Agreement.

When the likely temperature increase was measured using only current policies, rather than including commitments, the tracker said temperatures could have climbed by 2.7C by 2100.

The tracker measures government climate action and is one of the most widely respected climate change analysis tools. Analysing the summit, the Climate Action Tracker said it "has a massive credibility, action and commitment gap".

14:00 PM (GMT)

I've already referenced the lack of deals being done as the COP26 summit has trundled into its second week and it seems some delegates are feeling discouraged. Oxfam climate change policy and advocacy lead, Tracy Carty, said things were "running very late" at the Climate Action Network press conference. She added:

“I think ending COP on Friday is very ambitious, so be prepared to change your trains. Obama came here recognising the huge diplomatic lift that is needed now. Maybe Boris Johnson can come back to help move things along. That’s the level of political engagement we need.”

There are still three days of the summit remaining, but the failure or success of COP26 rests heavily on whether a major deal can be agreed by the attendees.

12:45 PM (GMT)

While we saw a lot of deals being signed last week, new agreements have been pretty thin on the ground so far in week two. One accord currently in the balance is an agreement to end new car emissions by 2040. The Financial Times has reported that manufacturing giants Volkswagen (XTRA:VOW) and Toyota (NYSE:TM) are among those refusing to sign.

The Guardian has also reported that a member of the UK's delegation says Germany, China and the US have not yet pledged their names to the agreement. While companies are supposedly anxious about overshooting the market appetite for green vehicles, the nations who have yet to sign the deal may be fearing the reaction of their voting public.

Car manufacturers who have signed the deal include Volvo (OM:VOLVB), GM (NYSE:GM), Ford (NYSE:F) and Daimler (XTRA:DAI).

09:45 AM (GMT)

We are well into the second week of COP26 now. Tuesday's talks and meetings at the summit will generally focus on two topics. The first listed in the official programme is 'Gender: Progressing gender equality and the full and meaningful participation of women and girls in climate action’.

The second is ‘Science and innovation: Demonstrating that research and technology can deliver climate solutions to meet, and accelerate, increased ambition’. As such, today could give us some insight into the latest innovations in technologies to measure and prevent climate change.

Away from these talks, politicians and other delegates from around the world will continue to meet one another and discuss new climate deals. Fresh faces are still arriving at the summit too. A Congressional delegation of more than 20 US Democrats have joined proceedings, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and influential Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

8 November 2021

17:15 PM (GMT)

Barack Obama is not the only speaker who has had some harsh criticism for those who have been slow to tackle climate change. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans joined others in calling for world leaders to back up their pledges with concrete legislation. He commented:

“If we don’t make a success of this COP, it’s difficult to see how we can reduce [in] half the emissions in less than ten years. It needs to happen right now.”

He also urged governments of developed nations to step up to the plate and deliver the long promised $100bn a year to help developed countries deal with the climate crisis.

Many speakers at the summit have been urging world leaders to actually adopt progressive climate policies rather than simply speaking vaguely about loose and unbinding commitments. Timmermans has been a little more diplomatic in his criticism than Greta Thunberg, who has dismissed many pledges as "blah, blah, blah".

14:50 PM (GMT)

Former US President Barack Obama, who is very much the main event in today's proceedings, has used his speech at the summit to criticise China and Russia. He lambasted the duo's "dangerous lack of urgency" in spite of them being "two of the world's largest emitters".

Meanwhile, he also lauded the agreements made at the summit last week, but comments that current commitments still do not go far enough. The former Commander in Chief commented:

"The escalation, the ratcheting up of ambition that we anticipated in Paris six years ago has not been realised".

Even so, Obama urges people not to give up but instead to "push governments, companies and everyone else to meet this challenge".

14:00 PM (GMT)

Some reaction here to former US President Barack Obama's comments at COP26 today. Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate seems less than impressed.

12:30 PM (GMT)

Former US President Barack Obama took his place on the stage for the first time on Monday. Obama, who remains influential despite having left mainstream politics, remarks that island nations are the "canary in the coalmine" when it comes to climate change. The former President, who was born in the US island state of Hawaii, added that island nations are "threatened more than ever".

He also shares some praise for his former right hand man, the current President Joe Biden. Obama commented that Biden's administration was giving the situation the attention it deserved by pledging to provide $3bn to nations most affected by climate change.

11:30 AM (GMT)

Activists have noted this morning that there are more delegates from fossil fuel companies than any specific nation. According to PA, there are 503 COP26 delegates who are directly linked with fossil fuel companies or are part of country delegations but are affiliated to oil, gas or coal firms.

Fossil fuel delegates are present in 27 nations' delegations, including the groups from Russia and Brazil. Global Witness gas campaign leader, Murray Worthy, told The Guardian:

"The presence of hundreds of those being paid to push the toxic interests of polluting fossil fuel companies will only increase the scepticism of climate activists who see these talks as more evidence of global leaders’ dithering and delaying.”

The news is particularly galling for activists who have already expressed concern about the lack of representation for many smaller nations who are already suffering the effects of climate change.

09:30 AM (GMT)

We are into the second week of COP26 and today is all about climate-related adaptation, loss and damage. That will mean hearing from leaders and activists from some of the nations that have been most affected by climate change. Additionally, former US President Barack Obama will be among Monday's speakers.

In this second week of the conference, the pressure is on leaders to commit to a large scale new agreement. The first few days of the summit saw a flurry of commitments coming from the conference, but onlookers will be hoping something more wide reaching can be signed before COP26 closes its doors on Friday.

This all comes after the weekend saw the largest protests yet outside the summit. Police estimated that at least 100,000 people attended the march through Glasgow on Saturday, where activists aimed to pressure world leaders into taking the climate crisis more seriously.

5 November 2021

16:45 PM (GMT)

Greta Thunberg has taken to the stage at the protest in Glasgow. The young Swedish climate activist lambasted the summit, dismissing it as nothing but a "PR event". Thunberg told the crowd:

“The leaders are not doing nothing, they are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves and to continue profiting from this destructive system."

Thunberg's caustic speech also branded the summit "a greenwashing festival" and "the most exclusionary COP ever". She called for leaders to do more to take historical emissions into account and close loopholes in environmental policies.

The activist's speech seems to have summed up the mood of the protestors, who are concerned that world leaders are not taking enough action on climate change but instead simply making empty promises. Thunberg is expected to speak again on Saturday, when even larger protests are expected in Glasgow and other cities around the world.

15:00 PM (GMT)

Need a quick concise roundup of the key COP26 events from week one? Check out our summary of the top five stories from the summit so far.

11:00 AM (GMT)

Friday at COP26 is youth and public empowerment day. That means events at the summit will be young speakers and panelists from around the world. However, proceedings outside the event are set to be dominated by large protest marches and gatherings.

Thousands of young people are expected to attend a march organised by Fridays for Future Scotland, an organisation launched after inspiration from Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Speaking to BBC News Fridays for Future activist Anna Brown said the march would send the message that the system of UN climate summits was not working effectively enough. She explained:

"The message is that the system of COPs - we've had 26 now - that system isn't working. So we need to uproot that system. The message is you need to listen to the people in the streets, the young people, the workers. We need to move it from being in an enclosed space where people can't get involved to the streets, where people can see what's happening and have a say."

4 November 2021

17:10 PM (GMT)

A bit more on the protest angle here from influential climate activist Greta Thunberg. Her opinion seems to be in line with activists who have condemned the COP26 summit as having excluded delegates from some of the nations most affected by climate change.

16:30 PM (GMT)

A study has asserted that a net zero transition could lead to half of the planet's fossil fuel resources being worthless within the next fifteen years. Researchers from the University of Exeter, The University of Cambridge and the Open University added that replacing fossil fuels with renewables could have profound impacts on trade and geopolitics.

The study suggested that different nations with different relationships with fossil fuel production would face their own challenges in adapting to newer energy sources. However, it also impressed the danger of being left behind. The study's lead author, Jean-Francois Mercure of the University of Exeter, said:

"The green transition is well under way, whether people realize it or not, and those politics are already at play. Decarbonising is traditionally seen as expensive, but it really depends on how much high-carbon industry each country has to lose, versus how much can be gained in new technological sectors."

15:45 PM (GMT)

Climate campaigners have been particularly vocal outside the COP26 summit today.

One target for protestors' ire has been US President Joe Biden. The President has been urged to do more to scale back fossil fuel operations in the US, with one banner calling for him to keep his "climate promise on public lands and oceans".

Biden spoke strongly to delegates about the need to embrace renewable energy but protest groups are angry that his administration will still be doling out oil and gas drilling permits at a rate of more than 300 a month.

Further protests are expected throughout the summit, with local rail operator ScotRail stating that it expected at least 50,000 to attend demonstrations on Saturday.

11:45 AM (GMT)

COP26 President Alok Sharma has just told the summit that the planet will soon be able "to consign coal power to history". Sharma told delegates:

"Today I think we can say that the end of coal is in sight. The progress we have made would have seemed like a lofty ambition when we took on the cop presidency".

These are strong words, but actions are more meaningful. Just this morning a major commitment on reducing investment in coal was approved by around 40 nations, but some major players like the US and China were not on board.

09:30 AM (GMT)

Around 40 nations have made a joint commitment to halt all of their investment in new coal power generation, both domestically and internationally. Major signatories including Canada, Poland, Ukraine and Vietnam have agreed to end any reliance on coal by the 2030s or 2040s.

Additionally, more than 100 financial institutions and other organisations have also agreed to stop financing coal development. The US, Australia, India and China have not signed up to the agreement.

While the agreement sounds positive, it has already attracted criticism from climate campaigners. Speaking to The Guardian, Friends of the Earth director of campaigns, Jamie Peters, said the announcement was “underwhelming” as it meant that coal would “continue as normal for years yet”.

Even so, the move is another knock for coal power plant owners and operators. Cutting investment on coal and other fossil fuel projects has been a major focus of the summit so far, leaving these businesses with limited sources of funding.

3 November 2021

17:15 PM (GMT)

The IFRS Foundation has announced the formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). This board will seek to standardize minimum sustainability disclosure requirements.

The IFRS also announced the publication of prototype climate and general disclosure requirements. It added that existing organisations the Climate Disclosure Standards Board and the Value Reporting Foundation, would consolidate into the new board by June 2022.

A statement from the IFRS said that the ISSB will have “a global and multi-location presence. All regions—the Americas, Asia-Oceania and EMEA (Europe, the Middle-East and Africa)—will be covered”.

This is an important step on the road to worldwide climate disclosure standards, which will make it easier for retail and institutional investors to see past greenwashing and compare the climate impact of different investment opportunities.

16:45 PM (GMT)

More than 20 nations and financial institutions, including the US, UK and The European Investment Bank, have agreed to halt new financing for fossil fuel development overseas.

These funds will then be diverted to developing clean energy sources. This is expected to generate around $8bn a year for clean energy investment around the world.

Oil Change International programme director, Collin Rees, said: “This is a massive step forward. This represents a serious chunk of the current international public finance for fossil fuels. It’s a really big thing, though there may be some devil in the detail.”

An example of just how sizeable foreign public finance can be for foreign fuels also emerged on Wednesday. Research from groups including Jubilee Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation found that public financial institutions overseas have invested $27.2bn into Australian fossil fuel projects.

So while this new commitment could be a boon to green energy firms, fossil fuel projects may have a harder time attracting funding for new ventures.

16:10 PM (GMT)

Some of the planet’s largest sporting organisations have been given the new target of reaching net zero by 2040. More than 250 signatories of the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework will be called upon to achieve the target.

These signatories include the International Olympic Committee, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Barclays Premier League and the New York Yankees. Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said:

“Four years since we launched the Sports for Climate Action Framework, more than 280 sports organisations have committed to the overarching objectives of aligning sport with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The sector eagerly took up the challenge, but also told us that they want to do more and to do it faster. These organisations are now being challenged to reduce emissions 50% by 2030 at the latest and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.”

Publicly traded entities likely to be affected by this move include Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) who are of course a member of the Barclays Premier League. The move may also exert pressure on other sports teams, companies and other entities to contribute more to the race to net zero.

Other notable sporting stocks include World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE: WWE), Madison Square Garden Sports (NYSE: MSGS) and Churchill Downs (NASDAQ: CHDN).

15:15 PM (GMT)

Wednesday's proceedings have come with the chaser of an eye-opening look into the planet's current progress on fighting climate change. Figures released earlier today by the University of Melbourne suggest that, if nations achieve their climate pledges, temperature increases may be limited to 1.9 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The figures, which take into account India's fresh pledge to achieve net zero by 2070, would see the planet miss its 1.5 degree increase goal, but manage to stop short of the upper limit of 2 degrees which was outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. It is worth bearing in mind that achieving this is still very much reliant on each nation achieving its net zero goals.

15:00 PM (GMT)

One prevalent theme of COP26 so far has been less developed nations calling on those at the other end of the spectrum to provide more support.

Speaking with CNBC, Dominican Republic Environmental Minister Orlando Jorge Mera noted that weather changes caused by climate change were already wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and Central America. He added:

“We need more action. We need the developed countries, the countries which produce more CO2, to make arrangements so that we can have multilateral financial aid for countries like ours, which suffer a lot. As a country, we do not produce as much CO2 as others but we are in the 10% which will be most damaged by climate change”.

The target of $100bn a year of climate finance for developing countries, which was a key part of the Paris Climate Agreement, has not yet been met in any year and is not expected to be accomplished in 2021.

13:30 PM (GMT)

BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) chairman and CEO, Larry Fink, has called for more focus on private companies in the fight against climate change. Fink argued that the current emphasis on publicly traded companies would not change the world alone.

He added that placing too much pressure on public entities could lead to “the biggest capital markets arbitrage in my lifetime”. Fink continued:

“We are seeing more hydrocarbons moving away from public entities to private entities. If we’re serious about this ... we have to ask all of society to move forward or we’re lying to ourselves, we will not get to a net zero.”

Forcing publicly traded companies to go green and to report on their carbon footprints has been a hot-button issue at the summit. It remains to be seen whether COP26 can lead to any significant agreements about introducing standardised carbon disclosure requirements for businesses.

10:45 AM (GMT)

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has announced that the United States will “fully support the climate investment fund’s capital markets mechanism”. Yellen says this will help to attract significant private climate investment and $500m per year for the clean technology fund’s programming. She notes that one of the benefits of this will be to alleviate reliance on coal.

As an example of the United States’ commitment here, Yellen points to an agreement signed yesterday. The US, UK, France, Germany and the European Union pledged $8.5bn to help South Africa speed its transition away from reliance on coal power.

South Africa is the planet’s 12th biggest emitter of climate-warming gases and is heavily reliant on coal, which is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel energy source.

It’s worth considering that coal remains an important energy source in the US as well. In 2020, it was the third largest energy source, contributing around 19% of the nation’s power. However, Yellen’s speech appears to indicate which way the wind is blowing on this issue.

US-based coal power plant operators such as Duke Energy Corp (NYSE: DUK) and DTE Energy Company (NYSE: DTE) would be wise to watch closely.

09:45 AM (GMT)

Before leaving the COP26 summit yesterday, US President Joe Biden shared some thoughts on the event’s no-shows. He said the lack of an appearance by Chinese Premier Xi Jinping was a “big mistake”, questioning how the Chinese government could claim to have any “leadership mantle” without attending the summit. He added:

"We showed up... and by showing up we've had a profound impact on how the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role."

The President also called out Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of staying silent about climate disasters that ravage Russia’s forests.

Putin has appeared at the summit virtually in order to attend a discussion about deforestation, while China’s Xi addressed the event with a written statement. Xi has reportedly not left China in almost two years, staying in the nation since the emergence of COVID.

2 November 2021

15:45 PM (GMT)

More than 40 world leaders have pledged to work together on green technology. Big players in the group include the US, China, India, the EU and the UK. The nations plan to coordinate their standards and investments in order to speed up the development and production of affordable clean technologies.

The commitment, dubbed the Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda, will target some of the most polluting sectors. The first five of these in the group’s crosshairs are power, road transport, hydrogen, steel and agriculture.

Progress of the initiative will be reported on every year in each sector, starting in 2022. This will be supported by annual reports led by the International Energy Agency in collaboration with International Renewable Energy Agency and UN High Level Champions.

15:00 PM (GMT)

Here's a clip of Jeff Bezos' COP26 speech:

14:45 PM (GMT)

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) founder, Jeff Bezos, has urged the private sector to play its part in the race to net zero. He called for companies to take leadership positions on climate change and invited more business to join The Climate Pledge, which was founded by the e-commerce giant.

Bezos, who started Amazon in 1994, told delegates about plans for the company’s operations to be fully powered by renewable energy by 2025. These ambitions had previously been announced in April. The billionaire entrepreneur added that Amazon is looking to ensure its fleet of delivery vehicles becomes electric powered.

Bezos also told the summit about his recent experience with space travel. The Amazon founder said the trip had changed his view of the planet and shown him how “finite and fragile” it was.

However, Bezos’ comments at the summit have been met with their fair share of derision on social media.

14:20 PM (GMT)

Speakers at COP26 have further outlined how the pledge to cut methane emissions will benefit the planet.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described cutting methane emissions as “the lowest hanging fruit” and noted that the energy sector was the arena which had the best potential for driving a reduction.

US President Joe Biden was next on the stand. He explained that the Environmental Protection Agency and Department for Transportation would be called upon to aid the reduction in methane emissions from pipelines. The President added that farmers and ranchers will also be expected to contribute to the emissions cut.

Additionally, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged that Canada’s oil and gas industry would reduce its methane emissions from 2012 levels by 75% by 2030. This follows his earlier pledge to cap oil and gas emissions.

11:50 AM (GMT)

US President Joe Biden will announce plans for a sharp cut to methane pollution on Tuesday. The news comes as details emerge of more than 90 countries having signed a US-led agreement to cut global methane emissions by 30%. However, major polluters China, India and Russia have not put their names to the agreement.

Biden’s plans in the US will see efforts to reduce the methane released by the country’s oil and gas industry. Leaks in pipelines are seen as a key issue here and the US Environmental Protection Agency could soon legally require operators to fix these leaks.

As such, pipeline companies like Enbridge (TSE: ENB), TC Pipelines (TSE: TRP) and Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) may face higher costs. These will also likely be passed on to producers.

In a statement released prior to the COP26 summit, the American Petroleum Institute said reducing emissions was important but argued that introducing measures which punished companies “will reverse our nation’s energy leadership, harm our economy and American workers, and weaken our national security”.

As such, it will be interesting to learn more about Biden’s proposals and how the industry reacts.

11:00 AM (GMT)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday committed to capping emissions from the nation’s oil and gas industry. Standing at the COP26 podium on Monday, Trudeau said:

"We'll cap oil and gas sector emissions today and ensure they decrease tomorrow at a pace and scale needed to reach net-zero by 2050. That's no small task for a major oil and gas producing country. It's a big step that's absolutely necessary."

The announcement will create challenges for the nation’s extensive oil and gas industry. Big players in the industry include Enbridge (TSE: NB), Suncor Energy (TSE: SU) and Imperial Oil (TSE: IMO).

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) president and CEO, Tim McMillan, said the nation could position itself as “a preferred global supplier” if it cut emissions from its oil and gas industry. However, Whitecap Resources (TSE: WCP) CEO, Grant Fagerheim, called the commitment “reckless” in an interview with The Canadian Press on Monday.

09:30 AM (GMT)

Some more huge news filtered through towards the end of the day yesterday. More than 100 world leaders have agreed to end deforestation by 2030. An agreement was reached by the parties last night, but signing of the commitment will take place today.

Signatories include US President Joe Biden, China’s Xi Jinping and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

This is a fascinating development which will have long term effects for many different companies. On the face of it, you might think that only companies heavily reliant on wood products, such as the International Paper Company (NYSE: IP), would be affected.

However, a list of companies responsible for deforestation released by tells a different story. The list names the likes of Walmart (NYSE: WMT), McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) and Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) as among those most responsible for the destruction of forests. New deforestation targets may force many businesses like these to adapt to a changing world or fall by the wayside.

1 November 2021

17:30 PM (GMT)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to reaching net zero by 2070. While the introduction of a firm goal from the Indian leader is positive, this target is two decades later than what the majority of nations have committed to.

Modi announced this aim as one of five “elixirs”, or new goals for the country on its road to carbon neutrality. The other goals for the nation are:

  • Increasing the nation’s non-fossil energy capacity to 500GW by 2030

  • Fulfilling half of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030

  • Reducing the carbon intensity of its economy by 45% by 2030

  • Cutting total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030

The Indian Prime Minister was also keen to point out the country’s progress to date. He also noted that the nation’s carbon emissions, while high, were much lower per person that many other major nations. Figures from 2019 show that Indian emissions amounted to 1.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person, compared to 15.5 tonnes from the US and 8.1 tonnes from China.

15:15 PM (GMT)

US President Joe Biden used his time at the podium on day one of COP26 to stress that there is “great opportunity” in the fight against climate change. The President said:

“We have the ability to invest in ourselves and build an equitable clean energy future and in the process create millions of good paying jobs and opportunities around the world. Cleaner air for our children, more bountiful oceans, healthier forests and ecosystems for our planet.”

He also referred to tackling the climate crisis as an “economic imperative”. Biden then outlined his planned climate policies for the US. The President said his government would aim to stimulate the switch to green energy. The proposals include credits for consumers who want to add sustainable energy sources to their homes or purchase electric vehicles.

Biden closed his speech by asserting that the US wanted to “lead by example”. He added that his administration would be announcing new climate policies in the coming days that would impact sectors such as agriculture and oil and gas.

Biden’s commitment here is great news for businesses like electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and renewable energy companies such as Enphase Energy (NASDAQ: ENPH).

15:00 PM (GMT)

World leaders are currently taking to the podium and speaking about their nations’ progress and aims. These leaders have been urged to take decisive action at COP26 in open letter from young climate activists including Greta Thunberg. This letter has attracted signatures from 1 million individuals across the globe.

The letter includes demands for nations to stop all fossil fuel investment, subsidies and new projects, while also halting exploration and extraction. Also of concern for businesses is the letter’s call for an end to creative carbon accounting. It said total emissions must be published for all consumption indices, supply chains, international aviation and shipping.

The concept of mandatory carbon disclosures for businesses is a hot topic at the summit. Some nations and regions already require some form of disclosures from companies, but it is not yet mandatory in the US or Canada. However, the pressure is on and we could find out over the next few days whether this is set to change.

13:50 PM (GMT)

United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, used his speech on Monday as a call to action. Guterres, who has served in his role for almost five years, urged the adoption of green energy as he warned that humanity’s “addiction to fossil fuels” is “killing us”.

He also appeared skeptical about some nations’ commitment to the net zero cause, stating there were “serious questions” about some countries’ plans. He added:

“Either we stop it or it stops us. And it's time to say, enough. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves.”

If nations take statements like Guterres’ to heart in the coming days investors could find new opportunities in the green energy sector. Additionally, the tightening up of net zero plans may place limitations on firm's with interests in mining and fossil fuels.

12:20 PM (GMT)

We're about an hour away from proceedings getting fully underway. Here are some of Monday’s key speakers and the topics they may broach:

US President Joe Biden

A key part of Biden’s job at COP26 is to reassure the global community that the US is committed to the fight against climate change. His predecessor as Commander in Chief, Donald Trump, withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and was an outspoken global warming skeptic.

Biden signed the US back up to the Paris Agreement as one of the first acts of his presidency, but other world leaders will continue to doubt Washington’s commitment to the cause without a strong showing at the summit and legislative change back home.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

India is the World’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide and yet the nation has not submitted a plan for achieving net zero. Additionally, the nation of over a billion people has been playing fast and loose with the reporting requirements of the Paris Agreement.

With China’s President Xi Jinping absent from the summit, world leaders will be looking to other major nations like India to lay down some concrete plans to tackle their problems with pollution. This is no easy feat for the nation though. The South Asian nation's population and energy requirements are projected to increase rapidly over the next few decades.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

The European Union is expected to use COP26 as an arena to urge the leaders of developed nations to provide more green financial assistance for developing nations. In 2009, richer nations had committed to providing developing countries with $100bn per year to assist with their green transitions. However, this target has not yet been met.

The European Union and its member states have been the largest contributor to this climate finance initiative, while the commission has also claimed that Europe is on track to become the first carbon neutral continent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

The Chinese leader, who is not attending the summit, is not appearing as a speaker. However, he will release a written statement in the afternoon. China, the planet’s largest polluter, last week committed to a net zero target date of 2060. This is behind the Paris Agreement’s target date of 2050, but China has contended that fully developed nations should shoulder the burden of the net zero transition.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been among those to urge President Xi to make a decisive statement at COP26, but the leader’s non-attendance appears to indicate that such a move is unlikely.

11:30 AM (GMT)

COP26 is officially underway. Today, leaders from around the world are arriving in Glasgow and will kick proceedings off with national statements over the first two days.

Here is what some of the delegates and leaders have been saying ahead of the summit:

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan:

“Whether there’s a deal this week or the negotiations continue, there will be a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the effort the president is undertaking right now to make bold, far-reaching investments that will deliver on his commitments

“I don’t think that world leaders will look at this as a binary issue - is it done, is it not done. They’ll say, is President Biden on track to deliver what he said he’d deliver. We believe one way or another he will be on track to do that.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson:

“This is very urgent, not just for our country but for the whole world. If I had to give a comparison, I’d say it is a one minute to midnight moment and the clock is ticking. We have to get everybody to do more.

“We have made some progress at the G20 and we have got some commitments on net zero that perhaps went even further than we were hoping for, as the whole of the G20 is committed to net zero by the middle of the century.

“We have got the prospect of keeping alive 1.5 degree increase in temperature by the end of the century, but that will only happen if world leaders come to Glasgow tonight and tomorrow for the opening of COP26 and really rise to the challenge.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

“There are some countries that understand and are ready to step up in really big ways on fighting climate change and others who have a number of different reasons why they do not yet feel that they can.

“What COP26 is going to do is to continue to lay forward the path, based on science, that we need to take as a world and continue to put on pressure through global action, through international pressure, through individuals holding their governments to account in many different parts of the world.

“It is a challenging process to shift the trajectory of the world off of fossil fuels and onto renewables and to reduce our carbon emissions, but it is hard work that is being done.”

Want to get to grips with ESG? Try reading some of our analysis below to get fully up to speed as COP26 gets underway.

What is ESG?

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is a type of investment that prioritizes optimal environmental, social and governance factors or outcomes. It’s also often referred to as socially responsible investing, impact investing or sustainable investing.

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ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance, and together, these three segments bring socially responsible investing to the masses. ESG investing has gained prominence in recent years as caring for people, and the planet have become pressing goals for many.

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Are there any ESG-Friendly Cryptos?

With ESG investing taking centre stage in 2021, investors and business owners must consider the impact of their decisions and processes on the environment, humanity and the greater good. 

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