COP26 is behind us – so what can we learn for 2022 and beyond?

COP26, Glasgow 2022

Alex Bell, CEO Agoro Carbon Alliance, shares his take on the development of carbon markets and reviews of decarbonization claims during COP26.

 

14.12.2021, Oslo, Norway - Finance both needs and wants to become greener. This is good news – but we need to create a more predictable and regulated environment to channel investments into sustainable, climate-friendly projects. And, to achieve net zero emissions for our planet, I believe we need a holistic approach, considering both CO2 reductions and removals. Also, when considering nature-based solutions, it’s indispensable to pursue decarbonization measures and practices through forestry and demethanisation, as the recent COP26 pledged to do, but also through agriculture. We really can’t afford to delay action or limit ourselves to an ‘either, or’ approach, we need to use all the tools at our disposal if we want to effectively curb carbon emissions and start building a sustainable future for our planet.  

Farming has a particularly important role to play in these efforts: 50% of our planet’s habitable land is used for agriculture; it’s the source of our food; and it offers an incredible potential to quickly scale the reduction and removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, as it is often easier to implement new processes on land that’s already managed.

 

Alex Bell, CEO Agoro Carbon Alliance

 

Top three takeaways from COP26

I’m pleased to be able to say that I saw positive signs at the recent COP26 that stakeholders are eager to explore and develop the potential of climate finance in the form of carbon credits. Here are my top three takeaways:

  1. Positive developments for carbon markets. Continuing the progress made under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, carbon markets are increasingly supported by more solid frameworks, giving agricultural carbon credits the potential to contribute significantly to global emission reductions.
  2. More scrutiny on decarbonization. COP26 saw plenty of discussion around more stringent reviewing of businesses’ decarbonization claims, holding businesses accountable and preventing greenwashing.
  3. Commitments to integrity. A growing number of organizations – from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM) – expressed their intention to better monitor the integrity of environmental pledges.

Holistically optimistic: Regulatory frameworks will increase trust

As CEO of Agoro Carbon Alliance, I welcome these steps in the right direction. The progress made at COP26 will build not only predictability but also trust in carbon markets, by increasing liquidity for buyers and increasing the amount of information available. I believe that a clearly regulated environment will also be positive for carbon off-sets from the agricultural sector, attracting investments in agricultural carbon credits, helping farmers to increase their revenue through sustainable agricultural practices. And these clear regulations will also drive trust in carbon markets even further.

However, it’s also clear that agricultural decarbonization requires further innovation, both in terms of business models and technology. Change needs to be profitable for farmers, with lower costs and a scalable transition. A key point is also to succeed in rolling out the necessary technology to make the transition to carbon farming, scalable and affordable. This is where Agoro Carbon can help.

Agoro Carbon: Supporting the sustainable agriculture transition

Agoro Carbon works with companies to build trust in carbon markets and help them reduce their supply chain emissions. Meanwhile, we support the transition to sustainable agriculture with practical guidance and financial incentives for farmers. We are committed to ensuring high-quality carbon credits for buyers through careful certification, and to establishing profitable carbon farming programs that support regenerative practices and ensure the permanence of carbon in the soil.

Let’s leverage the power of agriculture

Events within and around COP26 made it clear to me that, from individual consumers to major corporations, society is demanding change. We are already collaborating closely with organizations such as the US Farmers and Ranchers Association (USFRA), as well as with partnerships in Europe, for example, the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF). Alongside this, more and more governments around the world are making agriculture part of their climate commitments. But there is still plenty of work to be done, and collaboration will be essential to speeding up the current rate of decarbonization. So, I’m looking forward to taking part in future conferences – and to seeing agriculture feature prominently on the agenda at COP27!

 

Alex Bell at CEO Agoro Carbon Alliance