Movers and SHAKERS
Who is Uninvited to Participate at this Year’s UN Climate Conference?
The Conference of the Parties (COP), the meeting of the 197 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was postponed last year. It will instead be held this Fall, less a few regular delegates. Nonetheless, COP26 in Glasgow is being billed as the most important climate talk since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.
Big Oil Sidelined
The event will be held in Glasgow from Mon, Nov 1 to Fri, Nov 12. This year the host country took the step to require large companies and their industries to have carbon-reduction targets that coincide with the latest accepted climate science. The targets must include how quickly they can, and by how much they need to, reduce their emissions. The decision on whether the plans meet the criteria is made by The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This initiative was created by a partnership between the U.N. Global Compact and other nonprofit organizations.
The SBTi has already set emission reduction plans for industries that have voluntarily worked with them to form a roadmap. Aviation, financial services, technology, and others have already had targets accepted.
Who Can Participate?
Consumer product makers such as Unilever, tech companies like Hitachi and Microsoft, and consumer product makers such as Reckitt, who owns Calgon and Clearasil have been named “principal partners.” This allows them a high level of involvement at the event. Meanwhile, British-based oil company BP will have a low profile since the oil industry hasn’t agreed to what the SBTi sanctions as a science-based plan showing how it will reduce carbon emissions.
Plans for the oil-and-gas industry are in development but are more complex than other industries. The SBTi and big oil companies are working together, but they have not succeeded in creating a well-defined workable course of action. Big oil companies plan on playing a key role in reducing carbon emissions; developing the details of the plan is more difficult than for industries such as finance.
Oil companies still plan to send staff to COP. For example, Chief Executive of BP, Bernard Looney says he plans to attend. These non-SBTi cleared companies can always send representatives as observers. While they may not take a role at the meeting, this year, the stage for what is expected going forward should create momentum for planning if they would like to be included at the next COP meeting.
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