Cop26: Eamon Ryan calls for ‘rulebook’ on emissions commitments

Green Party leader heading Irish delegation on second week of climate conference

The Cop26 summit will generate significant momentum for climate actions across the globe if a detailed and precise rulebook on implementing the landmark Paris agreement emerges from Glasgow this week, Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan has said.

Mr Ryan said that even if only a majority of countries supported a rulebook reinforced by “the same rules, the same reporting, and the same timelines”, it would “build momentum for the decisions you need to take in business, in transport and elsewhere”.

The Green Party leader, who is heading the Irish delegation at the conference, took part in the Adaptation Fund Contributor Dialogue, an initiative aimed at scaling up funding to help countries vulnerable to climate change to adapt to its impacts. Ireland is to contribute at least €10 million by the end of next year in the form of grants for developing countries, he said.

Adaptation challenge

Addressing the adaptation challenge would require an unprecedented level of international co-operation, Mr Ryan said.

“I believe it can be done and Ireland is determined to play its part, during the final days of Cop26 this week but also through our efforts at home.”

Speaking at the same event, US climate envoy John Kerry said the coming week "can define the decade" in terms of global climate action, warning that if emissions were not reduced enough by 2030, achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 would be impossible.

“The stakes here could not be higher,” he added.

Mr Ryan told a press briefing that Cop26 would achieve a good outcome if the rulebook is “absolutely precise” on timelines for reviews and how governments report on their “national determined contributions” for reducing emissions.

On reducing methane, he agreed it was the fastest and most effective way to cut emissions. While an international pact, backed by the Government, aiming to reduce global methane levels by 30 per cent by 2030 was not a national target, he believed Ireland would be “centrally involved in addressing methane arising from agriculture and land use”.

Offsetting

On a push for carbon markets with options for big business to offset emissions in developing countries, he said he would be nervous about that given the chequered history of offsetting.

Ireland has joined the National Adaptation Plan Global Network and committed €1 million to help developing countries build national adaptation plans and become climate-resilient. Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid Colm Brophy announced the funding, which will support small island developing states and the least-developed countries "to strengthen transparency, accountability and inclusion in climate action with a focus on tracking progress on adaptation".

He added: “Adaptation prioritises the needs of those communities most exposed to, and already living with, the impacts of climate change. As such, it is a core priority of Ireland’s international climate action. We are delighted to support the network and look forward to working with likeminded countries in delivering real impact through this group.”

Mr Brophy said he hoped to see the commitment to provide $100 billion a year for developing countries as soon as possible underpinned by progress this week towards the target.

Commenting on Cop26, he said: “I think there has been a sea change. It’s the first Cop where there is a real meaningful understanding and work with climate finance and adaptation at the heart of it... I hope that will build up trust.”