COP26 was an important waypoint for shoring up commitments for fast action and launching new initiatives that will help move the world closer to our global climate goals.  World leaders elevated attention to the solutions and concrete action needed to achieve global climate targets, with 153 countries, representing 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, putting forward more ambitious 2030 emissions targets (NDCs). With some high-emitting countries not putting forward more ambitious plans, countries agreed to revisit and strengthen current emissions targets to 2030 in 2022. COP26 concluded with every Party at COP26 agreeing to accelerate action on climate this decade and finally completing the Paris Rulebook.

From the very outset of the conference, we saw nations take on new pledges to limit emissions. Forty-two World Leaders, including President Biden, endorsed the Breakthrough Agenda, a commitment to work together internationally this decade to accelerate the development and deployment of the clean technologies and sustainable solutions. The United States, European Union, and over 100 other countries collaborated to launch the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030, representing what could be one of the most effective strategies for limiting near-term global warming and meeting climate goals. Leaders of 105 countries, including the United States, Brazil, China, and Russia, cumulatively comprising 85% of the world’s forests, vowed to end deforestation by 2030 and restore an additional 200 million hectares of forests and other ecosystems in the same time frame.

Under the Biden Administration, the United States has reasserted itself as a global leader on climate through a suite of ambitious new investments, initiatives and other efforts that are turning the commitments of this past year into action. As a demonstration that climate cooperation is a bedrock priority for the United States, President Biden announced that the United States will rejoin the High Ambition Coalition, a group of nations committed to implementing the 1.5-degree Celsius goal outlined in the Paris Agreement. To help other countries meet their net zero goals, Secretary Granholm announced the launch of the Net Zero World Initiative – our flagship contribution to the President’s Build Back Better World initiative. Through Net Zero World, the U.S. Government will work alongside DOE’s national laboratories, think tanks, universities, and businesses, to help countries committed to raising their climate ambitions create a roadmap for the technological advancement and strategic investment in clean energy. Net Zero World will enable the United States to act as the nerve center connecting climate ambition to expertise and resources across the globe.

Reinforcing U.S. leadership on technological innovation to address the climate crisis, Secretary Granholm publicly launched the latest Energy EarthShot, Carbon Negative Shot, and a new Carbon Dioxide Removal Mission – the first public-private partnership to significantly advance carbon dioxide removal technologies, conducted under the auspices of Mission Innovation. These technologies are an essential complement to aggressive mitigation actions to meet our global climate goals.  She also announced the Better Climate Challenge to reduce emissions from buildings, one of the fastest growing sources of emissions; supported advanced nuclear energy deployment in new regions of the world, and ushered in an action-focused year of implementation by announcing Pittsburgh as the host city for the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation meetings next year. On the second week of COP26, the Deputy Secretary launched a Clean Energy Ministerial H2 (Hydrogen) Twin Cities program and spoke in support of the newly launched Global Clean Energy Incubator Network, designed to establish dynamic, clean energy industries across emerging economies.

At COP26 the United States sent a clear message to the world that we are ready to work side-by-side with our international partners to do what it takes to tackle climate change. President Biden began COP26 with his vision that this could “be the start of a decade of transformative action that preserves our planet and raises the quality of life for people everywhere.” The agreements, pledges, initiatives, and programs that launched during COP26 are a great stride towards making that vision a reality.