While we’re yet to see where the discussions and the progress on the implementation of COP26’s Glasgow Climate Pact leads us, we do have an idea of what the COP26 journey was like for the Global South. This is thanks to our team of young journalists who reported live and in-person on the climate summit.
Here we’re happy to share with you our power-packed team of 7 Asian journalists! This is a roundup of some of the best stories from across Asia.
John Leo Algo, Philippines
John is the Deputy Executive Director of Living Laudato Si’ Philippines and a member of the interim Secretariat of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas. He’s been representing the Philippines and civil society in regional and global UN climate and environmental conferences since 2017. As a citizen journalist, he’s written on climate and environmental issues for global and national media platforms since 2016. John earned his MS Atmospheric Science degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2018.
- Explaining COP26: Why it matters for Filipinos. Philippines committed to 75 percent emissions cuts within the current decade. However, almost all of this target is ‘conditional’, meaning that foreign financial and technological support is required for their implementation.
- What’s next after COP26: Notes, observations, promises. People affected by climate change are themselves calling out for stronger emphasis on the global recognition of human rights vis-a-vis climate change
- Green activists hit ADB’s energy transition mechanism for Philippines, Indonesia. Civil society and environmental activists across Asia criticized some provisions of the energy transition mechanism (ETM) proposed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Indonesia and the Philippines.
- Exclusion of civil society: activists criticise the Philippine COP26 delegation. The lack of transparency in the strategy and decision-making by the Filipino delegation is becoming a major problem.
Monika Mondal, India
If not eating, reading or writing, she must be scraping waste to work on some shabby DIY project. She lives a minimalist life, speaks Hindi, Bangla, English, and has been a beginner level Spanish and Italian speaker for over 2 years, with little success.
She has also won seven local, regional, and international press awards, the most recent is the covering climate now award for 2021.
- Why Latest Climate Finance Plan May Fail Developing Countries, Yet Again. Though the new document mentions an action plan on climate adaptation, there is no mention of how developing countries will compensate for the loss and damage caused by extreme weather events, demand for which has been becoming more vociferous.
- 6 Things India Will Push For, At COP26. Expected to announce enhanced commitments, scaling up of hydrogen production, and sector-specific emissions reduction goals.India’s net zero target is starting to boost renewables overseas. Achieving the 2030 target alone implies the deployment of more than four times its current renewable energy capacity. However, several questions remain as to how the country is planning to phase out coal production.
- COP26: Do we need private finance to save the planet? The true value of reported climate finance by developed countries is estimated to be one third of the delivered amount, according to reports.
- Without Coal, What Happens to Cement, Steel, and Iron? As the populations and GDPs grow in developing countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa, demand for steel, cement, and concrete will increase.
- Why India is neglecting its methane problem. Last month at COP26 in Glasgow, more than 100 countries pledged to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade, compared to 2020 levels.
Trang Do, Vietnam
Do Thuy Trang graduated Cum Laude from Drexel University, United States with a Bachelor degree in Psychology in 2016. After coming back to her home country – Vietnam, she continued to study and earned a bachelor degree in Lesgislative Law at Hanoi Law University in 2021. Since 2017, she has worked as a reporter for Vietnam Law Newspaper – a press agency under the Ministry of Justice. She is a prolific and diligent writer, covering various issues such as environment, culture, transportation, tourism.
- Businesses need to act on eliminating plastic waste. If plastic production is kept at the current rate, to solve the accumulated GHG will consume 10-13% of the entire remaining carbon budget of the world. This share is projected to increase the global carbon budget by more than 50% by 2100.
- Vietnam pushes for action at COP26 while continuing with coal projects at home. Vietnam will not build any new coal-fired power plants between 2026 and 2030. However, for the 2020–2026 period, the country will still construct 15 additional coal power plants with a total capacity of 18,000 MW.
- Empowering youth to make climate ‘promise’. An important content negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change 2021 (COP26) is the empowerment of young people and communities. Global youth are making efforts to fulfill the “promise” to the climate, and Vietnamese youth are no exception to that trend.
- The challenge of sustainable water resources management. Statistics show that national water resources are in danger of serious decline due to the impact of population growth and climate change.
Made Anthony Iswara, Indonesia
Made is a data journalist who strives to integrate research, communication and development economics to advocate policies. He has won 5 journalism awards and is among the five winners that won Best Article for the 2020 EU4Wartawan Competition organized by the European Union.
- COP26: The elite deciding the fate of the world? The need for Indonesia is to raise issues of land conversion, including peatland protection, recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights and reduction of ecosystem degradation.
- New Financing Scheme Encourages “Retirement” of Coal Power Plants in Indonesia. Over the next 10 to 15 years, ETM aims to close 50 percent of all coal-fired power plants in Indonesia, the Philippines and possibly Vietnam. In this scenario, ETM is able to cut 200 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions per year or the equivalent of removing 61 million cars from the road.
- The Chaos of Electricity Financing To Get Rid Of Coal Dependence. Indonesia wants to phase out coal by 2040. However, financing this transition is not easy.
- Energy Mix for Electricity Generation in Indonesia. An important demonstration of Indonesia’s commitment to phase out coal and achieve net zero emissions by 2060 or earlier, with international assistance.
- Tug-of-war between Indonesia’s Commitments to Reducing Deforestation. What is the actual condition of deforestation in Indonesia? What are the latest commitments at COP26 and the Indonesian government’s climate action, and what steps need to be taken to ensure that forest protection and development in Indonesia can run in balance?
Vaishnavi Rathore, India
Vaishnavi Rathore, 25, is from India. She is currently living in New Delhi, but has a family that moved a lot while she was growing up. That gave her the chance to live all across the country—in deserts of Rajasthan, the Himalayas, fertile plains of Punjab, and more.
For a little over a year, she has been working as an Environment Associate with The Bastion, a young development journalism organisation that focuses on coverage of environment, education, sports, and more recently on tech and health.
- Living with plastic: the top 4 plastic polluters drowning Asia in waste. A few days before world leaders began negotiations, the non-profit Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) launched its 2020 brand audit report, drawing attention to the top four global plastic polluters—the Coca Cola Company, Pepsico, Nestle, and Unilever.
- How India Should Prepare for COP26’s Met and Unmet Climate Adaptation Finance Demands. Now, as the dust slowly settles on COP26, how should developing countries like India prepare to make use of international finance efficiently?
- India At COP26: “The World’s Best Last Chance to Get Runaway Climate Change Under Control.” Talking about the past, present, and future of India’s climate negotiations at the COP.
- As India Announces Carbon Neutrality by 2070, Let’s Talk About the Elephant in the Room—Coal. India announced that it will reach carbon neutrality by 2070, and other renewable energy targets by 2030. But as India joins many other countries in doing so, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed—what would the roadmap to transitioning from coal to renewable sources of energy look like in India, and what should be prioritised to make this transition just for all the stakeholders involved?
- “Yearly Investment in Solar Energy Needs to Double this Decade.” Why raising investments for solar needs to be prioritised, how the inequity between the developing-developed world plays out in solar energy, and what the ISA expected to achieve through COP26 discussions?
Yiyao Yang, China
Yiyao is a committed young professional with experience in journalism and development. She learned about dislocation and communication barriers through her work in China, Japan, and countries with fragile infrastructures, such as the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, where she witnessed the adverse effects of climate change. Besides climate stories, she covers migration and contemporary art. Yiyao is now studying at Hertie School in Berlin.
- Green ships: is the COP26 shipping pledge a step towards net zero? The shipping sector actually behaves quite similar to an independent nation, since no country takes responsibility for their emissions. CO2 from shipping is therefore not featured in any country’s official greenhouse gas inventory.
- Outside of the COP26 echo chamber, what kind of climate action do young people need? The journalist draws an analogy between the big “chamber” of COP26 where world leaders, youth activists and business representatives gather together, with a Chinese young people’s network – 706. 706 is a salon taking place in a living room shared voluntarily by Chinese young people living overseas. From one “chamber” to the “chamber” of our shared space.
- “Cooperation is the only choice”: how China and the US paused tensions at COP26. Against any expectations, both countries published a joint statement, in which they announced cooperation to get a successful agreement from COP26.
Nicha Wachpanich, Thailand
Bangkok-based journalist covering environmental stories from policymaking table to the the river bank communities. Nicha believes everybody deserves to know what’s going on with their life and how the changing climate is affecting us all. She sees that it’s time people know about the global negotiations and how they will impact on the local scale.
- COP26 heads into overtime, what will be the outcome for Thailand? Issues of contention include – elimination of fossil fuels and coal, payments to support developing countries already hit by losses and damages as a result of climate change impacts, and including carbon credit buying and selling mechanisms (Article 6).
- Prime Minister leads team to negotiate global warming announcing the goal of zero carbon in Thailand in 44 years. Thailand emits about 350 million tons of carbon dioxide and will reach its emissions point, the highest in 2030 before gradually reducing emissions and increasing gas absorption potential until the equilibrium point that can be released-absorbed is equal in 2065
- “WTF?” – Greenpeace director’s reaction to Prime Minister of Thailand’s new numbers. “WTF? How did this figure come about?” reaction from Tara Buakhamsri, Director of Greenpeace Thailand to the Prime Minister’s new greenhouse gas reduction statement at COP26. Wanan Permpiboon, Climate Watch Thailand also questioned the new numbers.
- Vows and Crises, Thai communities face health risks in the name of “Clean Energy”
- From the meeting room to the gathering: Alternative Society at Climate Conference.
From Thailand, to India, to China- this comprehensive list of reports sure gives us an inside view of what it was like at COP26 from multiple perspectives, doesn’t it?