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COP26 looks to Climate Finance for pathways to deep decarbonization

The most recent global conference saw a number of moves toward stronger Climate Finance mechanisms.

A mural depicts the many pathways necessary towards the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C
Credit: Flickr/UNClimateChange

As COP26 drew to a close earlier this month, COP President Alok Sharma announced that the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement has been kept alive, yet more rapid and collective actions by countries are required.

In a first for the annual conference, COP countries pledged this year to “phase down” coal. It was a last-minute change to the wording drafted earlier in the week, which called for a more stringent “phase out” of coal. Still, it represents a meaningful change. This the first time COP members have agreed specifically that the world needs to stop using coal in a just and inclusive way. Coal accounts for more than a third of all carbon emissions, and new investments in coal-fired power plants threaten to lock in those emissions over the next several decades.

Furthermore, 40 countries joined a pledge to phase out coal entirely in the next 15 to 25 years. In the process of energy transition, countries, especially those with a high share of coal in the energy mix such as India, which pushed for the watered down “phase down” language, and Poland, which pledged to phase out coal entirely, will require a tremendous amount of investment into cleaner energy sources. More technical and financial support is also desperately needed for developing countries including the Least Developed Countries (LDC), and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in order to secure stability in terms of energy supply and price.