COP26 climate summit continues after landmark deal to ditch coal

The coverage on this live blog is now over.

Talks continued in Glasgow, U.K., on Thursday at the highly anticipated COP26 climate summit.

Delegates were asked to accelerate action on climate change and commit to more ambitious cuts in carbon emissions, all in an effort to limit global temperature rises.

Here are some of the biggest developments Thursday:

12:30 p.m.: Holcim CEO: Sustainability is 'the only way forward' for long-term profitability

Profit-seeking and sustainability can go hand-in-hand, Holcim CEO says

Holcim CEO Jan Jenisch told CNBC earlier on Thursday that those investors in companies like his, seeking long-term profit, factoring in sustainability is "the only way forward."

He said that his company was seeing much more interest from its customers to see green building material solutions, which was "not the case 5 years ago."

Jenisch pointed out that 30% of the carbon footprint was in the build phase of developments so he believed it was important to make the customer aware that they can make a difference in this area.

Vicky McKeever

12 p.m.: COP26 president asked about the absence of key oil and gas industry figures

Britain's President for COP26 Alok Sharma makes his opening speech at The Procedural Opening of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31, 2021, the first day of the conference.

COP26 President Alok Sharma told reporters on Thursday that "everyone is welcome" in the green zone, the public area, of the COP26 climate summit, when asked about the absence of some key figures from the oil and gas industry at the conference.

Sharma explained that the U.K. presidency for the COP26 climate summit was not, however, about being in charge of who comes into the blue zone, where negotiations among world leaders are taking place.

He added that the "substantive issue today on energy transition day is that we have got some really significant commitments that will drive down emissions and ultimately move us towards a clean energy transition globally."

Vicky McKeever

9:00 a.m.: U.N.’s Espinosa ‘cautiously optimistic’ about outcome of COP26

Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has told CNBC she feels "really encouraged" by what she has seen so far at COP26.

Reason to be 'cautiously optimistic' about progress at COP26: UN's Patricia Espinosa

8:44 a.m.: IEA tasked with policing COP26 pledges

The International Energy Agency has been tasked with ensuring countries are honoring the climate pledges they made during the COP26 summit.

During a speech at the event on Thursday, IEA chief Fatih Birol said the organization had also been asked by the COP Presidency to provide policy advice to countries who were "not doing their jobs in line with their promises."

— Chloe Taylor

8:31 a.m.: COP26 pledges would limit global warming to 1.8 degrees Celsius, IEA says

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol gives a presentation on December 20, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Celal Gunes | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

If every pledge made at COP26 is honored, it would put the world on track to limit global warming to 1.8 degrees Celsius, the IEA has said.

"If all the pledges on carbon neutrality and methane were to be fully implemented, we would have a temperature increase trajectory which is 1.8 degrees Celsius," Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA told an audience at the summit on Thursday.

The Paris Agreement's objective is to prevent global temperatures from rising by any more than 2 degrees Celsius, although the treaty's more ambitious target is to prevent global temperature rises exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Birol said the 1.8 degrees Celsius trajectory, predicted by the IEA's models, was "extremely encouraging" and "excellent" news, but he conceded on Twitter that more work needed to be done.

— Chloe Taylor

7:28 a.m.: Indonesia says it didn’t agree to end deforestation by 2030: Report

Indonesia has claimed an agreement on deforestation signed at COP26 did not include a commitment to end deforestation by 2030, Reuters reported.

"The declaration issued does not refer at all to end deforestation by 2030," vice foreign minister, Mahendra Siregar, told the news agency. His comments came after Indonesia's environment minister said the commitment would be "inappropriate and unfair," according to Reuters.

The pledge, signed by 100 countries — including Indonesia — on Tuesday, saw participating nations promise to work collectively "to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030."

— Chloe Taylor

6:28 a.m.: ‘The end of coal is in sight’

"The end of coal is in sight," U.K. lawmaker Alok Sharma has told delegates in Glasgow.

Announcing a pledge to end the use of coal signed by 77 countries, Sharma also noted that every G-7 nation has committed to end international coal financing this year.

Sharma said the statement published on Thursday would include a commitment to phase out coal in the 2030s for major economies, and in the 2040s for the rest of the world.

"It has 77 signatories, 23 of which are making commitments on ending coal for the first time," he told the conference.

— Chloe Taylor

6:26 a.m.: Countries pledge to phase out coal

Twenty-eight countries, including Ukraine, Poland and Singapore, have joined an international pledge to phase out coal, bringing the total number of countries and organizations involved in the Powering Past Coal Alliance to 165.

However, the world's biggest coal burners, China, the U.S. and India, have not signed up to the alliance.
Coal, which fuels more than a third of the energy consumed worldwide, is the single biggest contributor to climate change.

 The PPCA, whose existing members include the U.K., New Zealand and Germany — Europe's largest consumer of coal — is working to "advance the transition from unabated coal power generation to clean energy.

— Chloe Taylor

3:44 a.m.: More than half of FTSE 100 firms commit to eliminate emissions by 2050

Sixty of the firms listed on the U.K.'s FTSE 100 exchange – made up of the U.K.'s biggest public companies by market cap – have now committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.

The commitment is a pledge taken by the companies as a part of signing up to the U.N.'s Race to Zero campaign.

According to the British government, the number of U.K.-listed firms joining the movement have quadrupled since a year ago. Those participating in the pledge now represent a total market capital of over £1 trillion ($1.37 trillion).

More than 5,000 companies of all sizes have joined the program worldwide.

— Chloe Taylor

3:21 a.m.: What energy transition? Renewables can’t meet demand

The world wants to "transition" away from fossil fuels toward green energy, but the difficult reality is this: Dirty fuels are not going away — or even declining — anytime soon.

The total amount of renewable energy that's available is growing. That's good news for a world threatened by potentially devastating climate change.

But the increase in renewable energy is still lower than the increase in global energy demand overall. A "transition" from fossil fuels may come someday, but for now, renewable energy isn't even keeping pace with rising energy demand — so fossil fuel demand is still growing.

— Weizhen Tan

3:15 a.m.: What happened at COP26 on Wednesday?

Bill Gates photographed at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 2, 2021.
EVAN VUCCI | AFP | Getty Images

Here are some of the biggest developments from the climate summit on Wednesday:

The U.K. announced plans for the country to become the "first-ever net zero aligned financial center," saying it will soon be mandatory for companies to publish decarbonization plans.

Bill Gates expressed doubts that the world would be able to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. would join European countries in backing the issuing of green bonds aimed at helping developing countries boost sustainable infrastructure investment.

And President Joe Biden hit out at China and Russia over their absence from COP26, telling reporters it was a "big mistake" for their leaders not to attend the conference.

— Chloe Taylor