Today is the final day of negotiations at COP26, and this will be the last bulletin of our special series Island Space @ COP26. However, we are not even close to the end of the fight against climate change.
Climate researchers have been warning about the dire and increasing impacts of global warming for more than three decades. Despite that, carbon emissions are still increasing. For some island nations, COP26 represented one final opportunity for the governments of the world to craft a collective plan to meet the goals for curbing climate change.
The rise in sea level is threatening the very existence of countries like Tuvalu (highest point 4.6m), the Maldives (highest point 5.1m) and the Marshall Islands (highest point 10m). A global temperature rise of more than 1.5°C will force many islanders to abandon their homes.
While a growing number of countries have set net-zero targets, very few have credible plans to meet them. And even if we did meet existing targets, that would not be enough to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels. With a rise of 1.1ºC to date, storms, heat waves and floods have become more frequent, intense and deadly, especially on islands.
Innovative action will be needed to transform cities in island nations into inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable places. Efforts to create such action are already evident in the Caribbean, where Trinidadian policymakers are examining what role a New Urban Agenda play in fulfilling SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
What were the relevant outcomes of COP26 for island nations?
The new IRIS fund will support small island states to develop resilient, sustainable infrastructure that can withstand climate shocks, protecting lives and livelihoods.
The partnership will include a new renewable infrastructure finance facility by Bank of America for SIDS in the Caribbean, in addition to the Climate Finance Network launching in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
This is a package of available financing of 197 million Euros for the years 2021 to 2027. This will be implemented in the countries of the Pacific with a very strong focus on climate change.
This additional €100 million contribution from the EU budget is by far the biggest pledge for the Adaptation Fund made by donors at COP26. The goal is to benefit the most vulnerable populations in the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
To support global efforts to tackle the impacts of climate change, the UK announced new funding totaling £290 million, including £274 million to help countries across Asia and the Pacific better plan and invest in climate action, improve conservation and deliver low carbon development.
The SIDS Clean Energy Toolkit helps countries translate clean energy transition plans into investable business opportunities.
COP26 is over. What happens now?
The draft text is the most important document that will emerge from COP26. It will not be a new treaty, but a series of decisions and resolutions that build on the Paris Agreement.
The key aim for COP26 is to “keep 1.5ºC alive”, and there are a few victories in this text: a mention of phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies, and strong language on the scientific imperative to stay within 1.5ºC of global heating.
Those COP decisions have legal force in the context of the Paris Agreement, so this is a powerful document. But it is also a document that can only be accepted by the consensus of all parties. The pledges made at COP26 will be subject to self-policing, as there are no international enforcement mechanisms to ensure states meet these targets.
Decisions and pledges made at COP26 have created momentum and sparked conversations and cooperation to ultimately preserve our planet. But world leaders need to remain diligent and committed to meeting their targets and fulfilling their pledges.
COVID-19 Island Insights Series Final Report
We are launching the COVID-19 Island Insights Series Final Report, an initiative led by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG) and the University of Prince Edward Island’s Institute of Island Studies (IIS) in collaboration with Island Innovation.
The Final Report has brought together critical assessments of how specific islands around the world have performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and provided crucial insight into the extent to which their recovery plans have been able to promote long-term resilience and sustainability.
The report explores the themes of Tourism, Food Security, and Governance, and includes assessments from island nations in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the North and South Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas.
News and key insights
- COP26: Draft deal calls for stronger carbon cutting targets by end of 2022
- Indigenous activists are united in a cause and are making themselves heard at COP26
- COP26: Dominican Minister Cozier Frederick calls on world to help island countries fight climate-change
- VIDEO: Hawaiʻi Island Coastal Vulnerability Takes Global Stage
- Tonga at UN Climate Change Conference COP26
Today’s Island-related events
Climate Crisis Film Festival – Award Ceremony & Surprise Film Screening
Time: 18:00 – 21:00 GMT
Location: Cinema Auditorium, Green Zone, Glasgow
Towards the Just Transition of Men in the Workforce for a Low Carbon Future
Time: 11:00 – 12:00 GMT
Location: Commonwealth Pavilion
Can we align country adaptation reporting efforts under the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030
Time: 14:30 – 16:00 GMT
Location: Commonwealth Pavilion
Island Innovation is a social enterprise and digital media company at the intersection of sustainable development and communications, offering specialised services across various sectors. We bring together the private sector, government, utilities, NGOs and universities to advance innovation for sustainability and prosperity in islands worldwide.