UN Global Climate Action 12 November 2021 – COP 26 Transport and Cities, Regions & Built Environment Days in Review

Wednesday, 10 November, and Thursday, 11 November, saw important steps towards the end of fossil-fuel powered cars, planes and ships, and subnational leaders and built environment players take action towards a zero carbon future.

Towards the end of fossil fuel-powered transport

Governments and private sector actors took important steps to transform the way we move by land, air and sea for a zero carbon future. Find more in-depth news here. 

  • Companies, countries, regions and cities committed to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and called on others to recognize its importance and follow suit.
  • A number of Latin American cities including Bogotá, Cuenca and Salvador committed to turn their public transport fleets to zero-emission by 2035, helping to transform the wider transport sector – one of the region’s biggest emitters.
  • Over 200 businesses from across the shipping value chain committed to scaling and commercializing zero-emission shipping vessels and fuels by 2030 and called on governments to get the right regulations and infrastructure in place to enable a just transition by 2050.
  • The International Chamber of Shipping, the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the UN Global Compact joined forces to help workers transition to a zero-emission shipping industry, including learning new skills and creating new, quality jobs.
  • Nine big-name brands including Amazon, IKEA, Michelin, Unilever and Patagonia announced they will shift 100% of their ocean freight to vessels powered by zero-carbon fuel by 2040.
  • 19 countries signed the Clydebank declaration to support the establishment of zero-emission shipping routes, collectively aiming to create at least six zero-emissions maritime corridors by the middle of this decade while aspiring to see many more in operation by 2030.
  • 28 shipping and wind energy companies launched Operation Zero, committing to work together to accelerate the decarbonization of operations and maintenance vessels working in the North Sea offshore wind sector. They will aim to deploy zero-emission operations and maintenance vessels in the region by 2025.
  • The shift to sustainable aviation fuels is approaching a breakthrough, with over 80 aviation industry businesses and large corporate customers now aiming to boost the green fuel to 10% of global jet fuel demand by 2030. That’s a one thousand fold increase from today and would save 60 million tonnes of CO2 per year and provide 300,000 green jobs.
  • Three-quarters of corporate sector commitments submitted to the Science-based Targets Initiative so far this year have been aligned with 1.5°C of warming, as the Business Ambition for 1.5°C’s campaign has grown from 28 to 1,000 companies in two years. They represent $23 trillion in market capitalization, according to the campaign’s newly released status report.


Cities, regions and the built environment

The conditions for political leadership are set: society wants it, business is counting on it, the money is there, and cities will benefit. Find more in-depth news here. 

  • The Yearbook of Global Climate Action was published, outlining the High-Level Climate Champions’ five-year vision for enhancing the implementation of commitments and accountability for progress. It’s seen a 22% increase in the number of actors registered on the Global Climate Action portal compared to 2020.
  • In an event on Thursday – Racing to a Better World – UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, COP26 President Alok Sharma, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and others joined High-Level Climate Champions Gonzalo Muñoz and Nigel Topping in outlining the plan for the next five years for an improved Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action to shift the focus of businesses, investors, cities, regions and civil society from ambition to implementation.
  • The £27.5 million Urban Climate Action Programme launched, which will provide technical assistance to at least 15 mayors of mega-cities in developing countries, helping them to shape and deliver goals to reach net zero emissions and build resilience to climate change.
  • 1,049 cities and local governments are now part of the UN-backed Race to Zero, representing 722 million people. This has the potential to reduce global emissions by at least 1.4 gigatonnes per year by 2030, C40 announced at the start of COP26.
  • Among those, 593 cities have committed to shift towards resilient and sustainable energy systems, 501 are working to build zero-carbon buildings and 415 aim to shift to zero waste. 222 have committed to divest from fossil fuels.
  • In addition, 260 governments representing 50% of the economy and 1.75 billion people now aim to reach net zero emissions by 2050, as the Under2 Coalition updated its membership criteria ahead of COP26 in line with a 1.5°C warming. The Race to Zero campaign already counts 67 state and regional governments.
  • And 68 state, regional and city governments have signed up to a range of ambitious sectoral actions to accelerate climate progress by 2030, including on clean transportation, the built environment, energy, nature-based solutions, waste, agriculture, environmental justice, and inter-governmental cooperation and planning.
  • Meanwhile, 33 cities and more than 76 regional governments – including Maharashtra, India’s largest state by GDP with a population of over 124 million – are now committed to help build resilience within the decade as members of the UN-backed Race to Resilience campaign.
  • C40’s Mayors Migration Council Task Force will champion investments to boost adaptation and reduce displacement in migrant communities, facilitate dignified movement and other efforts as part of their new agenda. The Robert Bosch Stiftung foundation is putting $1 million into supporting efforts in Africa.
  • 16 regional governments and networks, led by Scotland and Lombardy with Regions4, called on national governments to drive emission reductions, measurable and coherent actions on coherent and solutions-oriented collaboration.
  • 42 businesses announced that they have signed the World Green Building Council’s updated commitment to drive operational emissions to net zero by 2030. It now addresses embodied emissions – from initial construction – as well.
  • US$1.2 trillion in real estate assets under management are now committed to halving emissions by 2030, along with 20% of architects and engineers, hitting a Race to Zero breakthrough on the path to net zero before 2050. The number of construction companies in the campaign has also doubled in the lead up to COP26.
  • San Francisco joined Los Angeles, Mexico City, Oslo and Budapest in committing to at least halving emissions from the initial construction of buildings by 2030, with a 30% reduction by 2025. This is as part of C40’s Clean Construction Declaration.
  • The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, an international coalition of national and subnational governments and other stakeholders working to facilitate the managed phaseout of oil and gas production, launched, led by Costa Rica and Denmark.
  • Nine new Partners joined the Race to Resilience to deliver stand-alone transformative actions including on digital finance, urban water infrastructure, early-warning weather systems and knowledge sharing.
  • 11 forest sector companies, including seven of the top 100 companies, have now signed up to the Race to Zero, representing 10% of global forest and forest product sales. The aim is to reach 20% by 2023. They are: Finland’s UPM, Chile’s CPMC and Arauco, Brazil’s Suzano and Klabin, Sweden’s Holmen and Austria’s Heinzel.