After over a fortnight in the negotiation halls of Glasgow, the Glasgow Climate Pact (see https://unfccc.int/documents/310475), was adopted by the Parties to the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 13 November 2021.
- In the Preamble to the Pact, the Parties:
- acknowledge climate change as a “common concern of humankind;”
- note the “importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems” including the ocean; and
- recognise the interlinkages of the global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.”
Whilst biodiversity and climate change are largely treated through separate multi-lateral environmental agreements, the formal recognition of the interface was an important one, and one which IMCA Members also recognised when developing IMCA’s Recommended Code of Practice on Environmental Sustainability.
In the Glasgow Climate Pact, Parties shared their utmost concern that anthropogenic activities have resulted in a 1.1°C temperature rise, with impacts felt in every region worldwide. They emphasised the urgent need to scale up action and support to enhance adaptive capacity and noted that current climate finance provision for adaptation remains insufficient to respond to worsening climate impacts in developing countries.
On mitigation, the Parties reaffirmed “the long-term global goal to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. This is what has been reported in the media as ‘keeping 1.5°C alive’. The Parties also recognise that climate impacts will be less in a 1.5°C world than a 2°C one. To achieve this 1.5°C world “requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero around mid-century, as well as deep reductions in other greenhouse gases”. This recognition of other greenhouse gases beyond carbon dioxide (e.g., methane) is a further important one to note. Outside the negotiating halls, we had several related announcements of initiatives such as the Global Methane Pledge which aimed to address this point (https://www.globalmethanepledge.org/).
In the Pact, Parties are called upon “to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies, and the adoption of policies, to transition towards low-emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures, including accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” There are further statements related to climate finance, technology transfer and capacity-building, loss and damage, and implementation. IMCA Members have been engaged in the energy transition and will continue to support the transition towards low-emissions energy systems, including through the installation of offshore wind, and this transition offers both considerable opportunities and challenges.
Parties also expressed appreciation of work with non-Party stakeholders to accelerate sectoral action by 2030. They also recognise the importance of international collaboration on innovative climate action, including technological advancement and refer specifically to cross-sectoral collaboration. This is a multi-faceted, global challenge which affects us all, and our own sector has a role to play. We saw many collaborations and alliances emerge at Glasgow to help take forward collaboration. Of particular interest to IMCA Members may be the Global Alliance for Offshore Wind http://globaloffshorewindalliance.org/.
The Glasgow Climate Pact, is an eight-page Pact for our planet and its people, today and tomorrow. Everyone should take the time to read it. However, one must also recognise that it is at a static snapshot in time, and we can look to see what emerges before the world convenes again at COP27 in Sharm El Sheik in a year’s time.
Benjamin Franklin once said “Well done is better than well said.” However, the proof in the pudding is not what is written in the Pact but what actions and collaboration it catalyses, particularly in this decade, the decade of action. IMCA Members have put a pen to paper identifying the key environmental and climate-related interactions from offshore marine construction and some recommended practices to address these. As we reflect on COP26, IMCA Members can soon reflect on how we as the offshore marine contracting industry are addressing the material environment and climate-related topics identified in our Recommended Code of Practice. We will be rolling out an online self-assessment tool in 2022 to help IMCA Members do just that.