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COP26 closes with ‘compromise’ deal on climate, but it’s not enough, says UN chief

After extending the COP26 climate negotiations an extra day, nearly 200 countries meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, adopted on Saturday 13th November 2021 an outcome document that, according to the UN Secretary-General, “reflects the interests, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today”.

“It is an important step but is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees”, said António Guterres in a video statement released at the close of the two-week meeting.

The UN chief added that it is time to go “into emergency mode”, ending fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out coal, putting a price on carbon, protecting vulnerable communities, and delivering the $100 billion climate finance commitment.

“We did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress,” he said.

Mr. Guterres also had a message to young people, indigenous communities, women leaders, and all those leading the charge on climate action.

“I know you are disappointed. But the path of progress is not always a straight line. Sometimes there are detours. Sometimes there are ditches. But I know we can get there. We are in the fight of our lives, and this fight must be won. Never give up. Never retreat. Keep pushing forward”.

A snapshot of the agreement

The outcome document, known as the Glasgow Climate Pact, calls on 197 countries to report their progress towards more climate ambition next year, at COP27, set to take place in Egypt.

The outcome also firms up the global agreement to accelerate action on climate this decade.

However, COP26 President Alok Sharma struggled to hold back tears following the announcement of a last-minute change to the pact, by China and India, softening language circulated in an earlier draft about “the phase-out of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”. As adopted on Saturday, that language was revised to “phase down” coal use.

Mr. Sharma apologized for “the way the process has unfolded” and added that he understood some delegations would be “deeply disappointed” that the stronger language had not made it into the final agreement.

By other terms of the wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that make up the outcome of COP26, governments were,among other things, asked to provide tighter deadlines for updating their plans to reduce emissions.

On the thorny question of financing from developed countries in support of climate action in developing countries, the text emphasizes the need to mobilize climate finance “from all sources to reach the level needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including significantly increasing support for developing country Parties, beyond $100 billion per year”.


Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (standing near left), and Alok Sharma President for COP26 (seated centre), at the closing of the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. UNFCCC/Kiara Worth

1.5 degrees, but with ‘a weak pulse’

“Negotiations are never easy…this is the nature of consensus and multilateralism”, said Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

She stressed that for every announcement made during the past two weeks, the expectation is that the implementation “plans and the fine print” will follow.

“Let us enjoy what we accomplished but also prepare for what is coming,” Ms. Espinosa said, after recognizing the advancements on adaptation, among others.

Meanwhile, COP26 President Alok Sharma stated that delegations could say “with credibility” that they have kept 1.5 degrees within reach.

“But its pulse is weak. And it will only survive if we keep our promises. If we translate commitments into rapid action. If we deliver on the expectations set out in this Glasgow Climate Pact to increase ambition to 2030 and beyond. And if we close the vast gap that remains, as we must,” he told delegates.

He then quoted Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who earlier in the conference had said that for Barbados and other small island states, ‘two degrees is a death sentence.’ With that in mind, Mr. Sharma asked delegates to continue their efforts to get finance flowing and boost adaptation.

He concluded by saying that history has been made in Glasgow.

“We must now ensure that the next chapter charts the success of the commitments we have solemnly made together in the Glasgow Climate Pact, he declared.

The ‘least worst’ outcome

Earlier during the conference’s final stocktaking plenary, many countries lamented that the package of agreed decisions was not enough. Some called it “disappointing”, but overall, said they recognized it was balanced for what could be agreed at this moment in time and given their differences.

Countries like Nigeria, Palau, the Philippines, Chile and Turkey all said that although there were imperfections, they broadly supported the text.

“It is (an) incremental step forward but not in line with the progress needed. It will be too late for the Maldives. This deal does not bring hope to our hearts,” said the Maldives’ top negotiator in a bittersweet speech.

US climate envoy John Kerry said the text “is a powerful statement” and assured delegates that his country will engage constructively in a dialogue on “loss and damage” and adaptation, two of issues that proved most difficult for the negotiators to agree upon.

“The text represents the ‘least worst’ outcome,” concluded the top negotiator from New Zealand.

Other key COP26 achievements

Beyond the political negotiations and the Leaders’ Summit, COP26 brought together about 50,000 participants online and in-person to share innovative ideas, solutions, attend cultural events and build partnerships and coalitions.

The conference heard many encouraging announcements. One of the biggest was that leaders from over 120 countries, representing about 90 per cent of the world’s forests, pledged to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030, the date by which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to curb poverty and secure the planet’s future are supposed to have been achieved.

There was also a methane pledge, led by the United States and the European Union, by which more than 100 countries agreed to cut emissions of this greenhouse gas by 2030.

Meanwhile, more than 40 countries – including major coal-users such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile – agreed to shift away from coal, one of the biggest generators CO2 emissions.

The private sector also showed strong engagement with nearly 500 global financial services firms agreeing to align $130 trillion – some 40 per cent of the world’s financial assets – with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Also, in a surprise for many, the United States and China pledged to boost climate cooperation over the next decade. In a joint declaration they said they had agreed to take steps on a range of issues, including methane emissions, transition to clean energy and decarbonization. They also reiterated their commitment to keep the 1.5C goal alive.

Regarding green transport, more than 100 national governments, cities, states and major car companies signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans to end the sale of internal combustion engines by 2035 in leading markets, and by 2040 worldwide.  At least 13 nations also committed to end the sale of fossil fuel powered heavy duty vehicles by 2040.

Many ‘smaller’ but equally inspiring commitments were made over the past two weeks, including one by 11 countries which created the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA). Ireland, France, Denmark, and Costa Rica among others, as well as some subnational governments, launched this first-of-its kind alliance to set an end date for national oil and gas exploration and extraction.

A quick refresher on how we got here

To keep it simple, COP26 was the latest and one of the most important steps in the decades long, UN-facilitated effort to help stave off what has been called a looming climate emergency.

In 1992, the UN organized a major event in Rio de Janeiro called the Earth Summit, in which the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted.

In this treaty, nations agreed to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere” to prevent dangerous interference from human activity on the climate system. Today, the treaty has 197 signatories.

Since 1994, when the treaty entered into force, every year the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits or “COPs”, which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’.

This year should have been the 27th annual summit, but thanks to COVID-19, we’ve fallen a year behind due to last year’s postponement – hence, COP26.

More Info COP26 closes with ‘compromise’ deal on climate, but it’s not enough, says UN chief

‘Adapt or die:’ Africa presses for more climate support

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) – African leaders and campaigners are pressing the international community to do more to help poorer and vulnerable nations adapt to climate change, seizing on evidence showing the continent to be the most endangered by the effects of global warming.

The head of the African Union, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, said other parts of the world must contribute half of the $25 billion the continent needs to run an adaptation program over the next five years. The balance will come from the African Development Bank.

Tshisekedi spoke Tuesday before an Africa-focused summit at the U.N. climate conference in the Scottish city of Glasgow. He was one of several leaders who highlighted Africa’s plight in the face of climate change despite being the populated continent least responsible for global emissions.

Tshisekedi noted that the global effort on climate change “can’t be won unless it is won in Africa,” which is home to 1.3 billion people. Africa’s 54 nations contribute only about 3% of global emissions, a fact that surprises some ordinary Africans when they find out.


Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi delivers his message during a session on Action on Forests and Land Use, during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Paul Ellis/Pool Photo via AP)

“It is a starting point rather than a ceiling, and it will contribute to building trust and confidence,” Tshisekedi said of the $12.5 billion Africa needs to raise for climate-adaptation projects.

He said he hoped the money would be raised before the next annual climate conference, to be held in Africa.

World leaders are already pledging toward adaptation efforts, and it remains to be seen how much will be raised for Africa when the two-week Glasgow conference ends.

In the meantime, some African leaders and campaigners are applying pressure, noting that a previous pledge to raise $100 billion for Africa was never honored.

“We don’t need more facts. We need more finance,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said.

Patrick Verkooijen, chief executive of the Netherlands-based Global Center on Adaptation, said the situation for Africa is “adapt or die,” noting that the effects of climate change “are at Africa’s doorsteps today.”

Alok Sharma, a British official who is leading the climate conference known as COP26, spoke of Malagasy women in Madagascar facing “a bleak future” of being unable to farm because of challenges stemming from climate change.

“The need is great, and the injustice is stark,” he said.

Others who spoke Tuesday included U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said adaptation efforts were “a priority” for Washington. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva called for the removal of obstacles to the empowerment of women as part of broader efforts to strengthen Africa’s resilience amid climate change.

Eze Christiana, a Nigerian living in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, said she doesn’t think it is important to gather and talk about climate change.

“We just need to adapt to it and take it the way we see it,” she said of global warming.

According to a report last month from the World Meteorological Organization and other U.N. agencies, Africa’s people remain “extremely vulnerable” as the continent warms more and at a faster rate than the global average.

The International Rescue Committee said Tuesday that in Somalia and some other African countries where it operates, people face “the sharp end of the climate crisis,” including emergency conditions from the current levels of global warming.

The international community must invest in climate resilience and famine prevention, the humanitarian group said in a statement.

“We’re extremely worried about the impact of continuing drought and conflict on vulnerable populations throughout the horn of Africa, where a large proportion of the population relies heavily on crops to eat and sell for their livelihoods, Kurt Tjossem, the group’s vice president for East Africa, said in that statement.

In Somalia, for example, 3.5 million people face hunger after a failed harvest, with farmers who depend on livestock seeing their animals die from thirst daily, he said.
__
Associated Press journalist Josphat Kasire in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.

More Info ‘Adapt or die:’ Africa presses for more climate support

New agreements between Rwanda and Tanzania to give impetus to joint projects like railway

KIGALI

(Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya)

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday said cooperation agreements signed between his country and Tanzania earlier in the day will give new impetus to the implementation of joint projects like standard gauge railway.

“Rwanda and Tanzania share more than just a border. Our strong historical ties and common aspiration to deliver prosperity to our people have always been central to our cooperation,” Kagame told a joint press briefing with his visiting Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu Hassan in the capital city Kigali, shortly after they witnessed the signing of four cooperation agreements in the areas of information and communication technology, immigration, education and regulation of medical products.

The signing of the agreements gives new impetus to key infrastructure and investment projects of mutual benefit, particularly the standard gauge railway line, milk production and improved port logistics, said Kagame.

There is a lot more the two countries can learn from each other in the spirit of strengthening trade ties, ensuring prosperity and development of the economies and peoples, said Hassan, adding that the signing of the agreements would pave the way for this.

She also highlighted the need for cooperation in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and in full operation of the one-stop border post at Rusumo, a town on Rwanda-Tanzania border.

Rwanda and Tanzania in 2018 agreed on joint construction of a standard gauge railway from Isaka in northwestern Tanzania to Kigali to facilitate logistics movement between the two countries.

Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete in July presented a bill to the parliament that provides a framework for the country’s implementation, management and maintenance of the standard gauge railway project, saying the country plans to commence the construction as soon as the railway line reaches Isaka.

The government has resumed discussions with partners on the funding of the projected railway, which is expected to cost the central African nation about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars.

More Info New agreements between Rwanda and Tanzania to give impetus to joint projects like railway

Samia’s State Visit to Burundi: Smooth Trade Beckons

DEOGRATIUS KAMAGI

File

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has instructed the Minister for Industry and Trade Prof Kitila Mkumbo to work on all barriers facing the Tanzanian and Burundian business community.

Equally, she instructed the Minister for Works and Transport Dr Leonard Chamuriho and the Managing Director for Tanzania Railway Corporation TRC Masanja Kadogosa to improve railway transportation linking the two countries in a bid to smoothen movement of people, goods and services.

She was of the view that the improved railway line connecting the two countries would play a crucial role in increasing the volume of cargo being transported to Burundi from Tanzania, and vice versa.

The Head of State made the directives yesterday when addressing a Business forum between Tanzania and Burundian traders, in Bujumbura, as she was completing her two -day state visit in Burundi.

According to her, the Burundi- Tanzania business forum was a clear indication that the two countries are enjoying cordial business relations, saying maintaining and taking further the existing ties was vital.

Going by statistics, she said so far, a total of 17 companies from Tanzania have invested in Burundi in the construction, finance, health, transport and mineral sectors.

There are 18 companies from Burundi that have invested in Tanzania in various sectors, these statistics show the equal shares of balance of trade between our two countries, but we have to increase the volume, especially in sectors that are yet to be utilized, she expounded.

She also explained the need for traders form the two countries to make better use of the East African market by adding value to their products and services.

President Samia also encouraged members of the business community to utilize the available opportunities in the agriculture sector in both countries, since the sector plays vital roles in creation of employment especially for the youth.

Tanzania has a total of 44 million hectares of fertile soil, out of it 10 million hectares are yet to be utilized, therefore we have a great potential and promising future in the agriculture sector in Tanzania, she noted.

In another development she informed members of the forum that the government of Tanzania has continued to upgrade the ports of Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, Kalema, Kasanga and Kabwe in its move to ease movement of people and their goods, asking Burundian traders to continue using the Tanzanians ports in their business.

She also said that Tanzania has invested heavily in the health sector, especially in specialised healthcare by training medical specialists and purchase of modern equipment.

President Samia said Burundians can access cardiovascular services from the neighbouring Dar es Salaam based Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) instead of seeking the services overseas.

Meanwhile, President Samia met and held talks with Tanzanians living in Burundi, where she expressed her gratitude for the warm reception since she arrived in the country on Friday.

She commended the Tanzanian community for participating in various social activities in Burundi and their home country, where they donated desks to Kagera earthquake victims in 2016 and MV Nyerere accident in 2018.

President Samia said that citizens living outside their country are an important group due to their contribution in their home countries.

According to her, it is estimated that 1 million Tanzanians are living in various countries in the world. The President said according to the Bank of Tanzania, Tanzanian Diaspora sent home an estimated 475.65 million US dollars in 2018.

Following your contributions, the government has been taking various measures to safeguard your welfare, including establishment of a Diaspora department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she said.

The Head of State, however, called on all Tanzanians living outside the country to register to the embassies in the countries they reside in so that it can be easier for the government to serve them and benefit from various opportunities arising in their home country.

More info SAMIA’ S STATE VISIT TO BURUNDI: SMOOTH TRADE BECKONS

Tanzania May Start Building $30 Billion LNG Project in 2023

Dar es Salaam

File

President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s administration wants construction completed in 2028. Government negotiating terms with companies including Equinor.

Tanzania plans to begin the construction of a delayed $30 billion liquefied natural gas project in 2023, following the resumption of talks with companies including Equinor ASA.

Construction is expected to take about five years, Energy Minister Medard Kalemani told lawmakers on Thursday.

The project gained momentum after President Samia Suluhu Hassan took office in March, and directed her administration to fast-track delayed investments. Plans for an LNG plant on Tanzania’s southern coast and a pipeline connecting offshore fields have been under consideration since 2014. Talks, however, stalled for more than a year under Hassan’s predecessor John Magufuli.

The announcement on construction of the project comes months after Total SE suspended work on a similar plan in neighboring Mozambique following insurgent attacks. Tanzania’s project, which has lagged Mozambique, is set to benefit from Hassan’s push to boost investment and accelerate economic growth in a nation where policy uncertainty had stifled business.

Talks Resume
Hassan ordered the resumption of negotiations with the companies in May, about four months after Equinor’s decision to take a $982 million impairment on the project following failure to settle fiscal and commercial terms with Tanzania.

“We expect to conclude negotiations for a host government agreement and review production sharing agreements” by the end of June 2022, Kalemani said. The government has finalized compensation procedures with more than 600 residents of the southern Tanzanian town of Lindi to pave way for the project, he said.

Tanzania and the companies are discussing a proposed two-train onshore LNG plant to export gas from the East African nation. Other project partners include Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Sophi Energy Ltd. and Pavilion Energy Pte Ltd.

Separately, the government is building a pipeline network to connect and distribute gas to more than 10,000 homes and factories, mostly in the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam, Kalemani said.

Tanzania and Mozambique have for more than a decade been sub-Saharan Africa’s foremost gas frontier-investment destinations after explorers found more than 100 trillion cubic feet of the resources in their territories. Mozambique’s projects, with companies including Total, Eni SpA and Exxon Mobil and a projected investment of at least $60 billion, are threatened by an insurgency in the nation’s gas-rich regions.

More Info Tanzania May Start Building $30 Billion LNG Project in 2023

Tanzania signs host agreement for East African oil pipeline project

Kampala

File

Tanzania has signed a Host Government Agreement (HGA) with a Total-led joint venture to launch the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP).

The EACOP project forms part of the wider $3.5bn Lake Albert resources development project in Uganda and Tanzania.

The signing of the HGA follows the final agreements made in April 2021 by Total and its partners.

These include shareholders agreement of EACOP and the tariff and transportation agreement between EACOP and the Lake Albert oil shippers.
The latest HGA establishes the legal and commercial framework for the project’s financing, construction, and operation.

Commenting on the project, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said: “The pipeline is a very important regional project, Tanzania and Mozambique you have gas and the corridor can be used to take another pipeline for gas to help countries in the great lakes region with the resource.”

The EACOP project aims to connect the oil fields around Lake Albert in Uganda to supply up to 216,000 barrels of crude oil a day to Tanzania’s export terminal in Tanga.

Total, the government-owned Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), and China’s CNOOC will be shareholders in the EACOP project.

The first oil export from the project is expected to take place in early 2025.

The oil pipeline will run from the future Kabaale Industrial Park in the Hoima district of Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near the Tanga Port in Tanzania.

The Lake Albert project also includes Tilenga and Kingfisher upstream oil projects in Uganda along with the construction of the EACOP in Uganda and Tanzania.

More Info Tanzania signs host agreement for East African oil pipeline project

Kenya and Tanzania ease cross-border business rules as relations thaw

Nairobi

Reuters

Kenya will waive work and business permits for investors from its neighbour Tanzania, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday, as his counterpart made similar overtures in a thawing of often frosty relations between the two countries.

Kenya, east Africa’s biggest economy and one of its most liberal, and Tanzania, which still imposes fairly tight capital controls and ranked No. 2, have long tussled for influence.

“We would like to see many investors from Tanzania coming to do business in Kenya. And I want to say this, Tanzanian investors are free to come and do business in Kenya without being required to have business visas or work permits,” Kenyatta said during a Kenya-Tanzania business meeting in Nairobi.

“The only thing you will be required to do is to follow the laid down regulations and the laws,” he told the meeting, attended by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Relations between the two neighbours have been at times testy and got worse under Tanzania’s late President John Magufuli, with officials at times trading barbs over trade restrictions, and last year, over COVID-19 compliance.

Hassan, was sworn in in March after Magufuli died, said her government had embarked on tax and other business reforms to make it easier for Kenyan investors to operate in Tanzania.

Hassan’s office said late on Tuesday the two governments had also pledged to speed up completion of electricity transmission and road construction projects Kenya and Tanzania are jointly carrying out.

The two governments also agreed to speed up groundwork for the construction of a natural gas pipeline linking Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam and Kenya’s port city of Mombasa.

Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Alison Williams.

More Info Kenya and Tanzania ease cross-border business rules as relations thaw

Tanzania and Barrick Gold Corporation Breakthrough

Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala, Reuters  /  24 January 2020

The government will take 16% stakes in Barrick mines.

It was signed by Barrick CEO Mark Bristow and Tanzanian minerals minister Doto Biteko at a ceremony in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

It follows an announcement by the two sides in October in which they agreed to a payment of $300 million to settle outstanding tax and other disputes, the lifting of an export ban on concentrates and the sharing of future economic benefits from mines.

South Africa-born Bristow, describing the dispute as a “long safari” since it emerged in 2017, struck a conciliatory tone in a speech at the ceremony broadcast on state TV. Safari means “journey” in Swahili.

“Many people said your criticism will chase away investors … what it’s done is challenge the mining industry and all of us to embark on something where we win together or lose together,” Bristow said to applause.

Casting himself as a “Zulu boy” born in Zululand, Bristow called it a “historical day” for Africa.

“President, what I am here to do today is to offer you the hand of Barrick,” the CEO added, moving from the lectern to shake President John Magufuli’s hand.

The company said it had budgeted $50 million for brown and greenfield exploration in Tanzania in 2020.

“I thank God for the success of this agreement, said Magufuli, who has made a point of extracting more income from natural resources and described the negotiations as a clash between a cow and a rabbit.

He said confiscated containers of gold and copper concentrate could now be exported to the benefit of Twiga Minerals, a new joint venture set up to manage the Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi mines.

“Twiga Minerals represents a structure which allows the government and the people of Tanzania to be involved in the decision-making of everything that we do together,” Bristow said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Palamagamba Kabudi, who led Tanzania’s negotiating team, said Tanzania now owns 16% undiluted shares in Twiga Minerals, as well as a 16% stake in each of the Barrick mines.

“We almost lost hope in the discussions with Barrick and I was ready to tender my resignation to the president for failing to complete this task, but we ultimately got the deal done,” Kabudi said.

The dispute originally involved Acacia Mining, which was bought out by Barrick. The government imposed a ban on exporting mineral concentrates in 2017 after accusing Acacia of tax evasion, leading to a one-third cut in the miner’s output.

Renegotiating all deals

Minerals make up the majority of Tanzania’s exports and are a key source of foreign exchange for Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer.

The government said it is renegotiating mining agreements with all existing companies to get a minimum 16% stake in each large-scale mine, in accordance with mining laws passed in 2017.

Mining licences from now on will be issued by Tanzania’s Mining Commission under the guidance of the president, Kabudi said.

South African miner AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita is the largest gold mine in Tanzania. Other miners operating in the country include Shanta Gold and Petra Diamonds.

“It’s encouraging for all stakeholders in the mining industry that Tanzania and Barrick have formalised an agreement and have started a new chapter in the country,” said an AngloGold Ashanti spokesman.

“This deal is a sigh of relief not just for Barrick or the mining industry in Tanzania, but for investors in the broader region,” said Margarita Dimova, associate director at consulting firm Africa Practice.

A mining executive working in Tanzania said the agreement was positive for the sector: “A lot of key issues impacting projects getting off the ground were being pushed aside until the Barrick deal was sorted.”

More Info Tanzania and Barrick Gold Corp. Breakthrough