Surprise move: Experts welcomed US-China cooperation on climate considering both countries have shared a strained bilateral relationship in recent years. Photo: Forbes

US, China to work together to accelerate emission cuts in next 10 years

The volatile US-China relationship took a turn for the better at COP26, with both countries announcing a deal to accelerate emission cuts in this decade. In a joint statement, both countries said they recognised the “significant gap” that remains between current pledges and policies, and vowed to step up efforts to close this gap. The announcement surprised climate experts as both countries have clashed repeatedly since the Paris Agreement, primarily over issues relating to trade and human rights.   

India scores high on climate change performance, medium on RE

India retained its 10th position on the annual climate change performance index for the third consecutive year. The Climate Change Performance Index 2022, released by Germanwatch, NewClimate Institute & Climate Action Network, monitored the climate mitigation efforts of 60 countries plus the EU—covering 92% of the global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). 

Rankings were based on four categories, including GHG emissions, energy use, renewables, and climate policy. India was preceded by six other countries—Chile, Morocco, UK, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The first three places remained empty. India’s performance was rated high in the GHG emissions, energy use, and climate policy categories, but was given a medium rating for renewable energy. The report said considerably more can be done to promote growth of solar power.

Saudi Arabia sets net-zero by 2060 goal, but won’t stop pumping oil

Saudi Arabia joined the list of countries that have pledged net-zero. It announced plans to achieve the target by 2060 along with strengthening its carbon target in the next 10 years. The plans, however, do not count the emissions from burning of oil that Saudi Arabia exports to several countries. 

According to the plan submitted by Saudi Arabia to the UN, the country will invest $187 billion in climate action by 2030, but will continue pumping oil and gas without an end goal in sight. The government said it would cut its emissions using the circular carbon economy approach, which means it will rely on carbon capture and storage in order to continue using fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.   

Australia tops list of highest GHG emissions from coal in world on per capita basis

Australia, not China, has the highest greenhouse gas emissions from coal power on a per capita basis, according to a new study released at COP26. In fact, the emissions are nearly double those of China, the study found. 

The analysis by British climate and energy think-tank Ember found Australia’s annual per person emissions five times greater than the global average and 40% higher than any other major coal power user. Since the Paris Agreement, the country has emitted 5.34 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person each year, ahead of South Korea (3.81), South Africa (3.19), the US (3.08) and China (2.71).

‘Beyond Oil’ alliance adds 6 new members, but no major fossil fuel producers on board yet

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, led by Denmark and Costa Rica, got six new members during COP26. The alliance aims to put blanket policies and measures in place to end production of fossil fuels. It is not a surprise then that none of the new joinees—France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, Wales and the Canadian province Quebec—are major fossil fuel producers. COP26 host, the UK, also has not supported the alliance so far.

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