What happened at COP26

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At the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow – also known as COP26 – nearly 200 countries (including the United States) agreed to the Glasgow Climate Pact. This agreement includes a commitment to “accelerating efforts” to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and “phasing down” coal, explains New Scientist.

On the positive side, it’s the first COP text to specifically address coal and countries agreed to “revisit and strengthen” 2030 plans by the end of next year.

However, “[p]ledges at COP26 are expected to see Earth warm 2.4°C this century, better than the predicted 2.7°C predicted before the summit but still a rise that would bring extreme climate impacts and see countries overshoot their shared goals of 1.5°C and ‘well below’ 2°C,” continues New Scientist.

Meanwhile, countries made pledges on other key issues, including methane and carbon markets.

“More than 100 countries agreed to cut emissions of methane, a potent planet-warming gas, 30 percent by the end of this decade,” reports The New York Times.

Negotiators also came to an agreement on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which covers carbon markets. “Crucially, negotiators agreed to limit the use of pre-2020 credits from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism in the Paris architecture, avoiding a wholesale flooding of the market for carbon credits that could have sent their price plummeting,” explains S&P Global.

How BIO participated in COP26

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) was front and center in the conversation. Notably, BIO announced its role as Knowledge Partner in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM). In addition, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath joined international leaders across the supply chain to discuss how we can reduce emissions across the health care sector.

If we want to achieve our climate goals, we need biotech, was BIO’s key message. This includes low-carbon and zero-carbon biofuels, fossil-fuel-free alternatives for plastics and chemicals, and agriculture technology that can reduce methane emissions, help farmers and landowners participate in carbon markets, and make our food supply more resilient.

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