The global COP26 conference kicked off today in Glasgow, Scotland, with national, business and finance leaders gathering for the nearly two-week summit, following a year delay due to COVID-19.

We highlight below some of the key announcements and commitments from the first day of the conference:

  • U.S. releases its long-term strategy to meet its 2050 goal. President Biden announced the launch of “Pathways to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050,” a new document detailing the country’s strategy to meet its 2050 net zero goal. The strategy details the five key transformations necessary to reach net zero, namely decarbonizing electricity; electrifying cars, buildings and industries, and switching to clean fuels where electrification presents challenges; cutting energy waste; reducing methane and other non-CO2 emissions, and; scaling up CO2 removal. The strategy places a significant emphasis on actions during the current decade, such recently announced initiatives to fast track the shift to a carbon-free electricity system, and have half of all cars sold in 2030 be zero emissions vehicles.

  • Climate finance. European leaders have been urging their developed nation counterparts to step up and help meet the pledge to mobilize $100 billion in annual climate finance for developing countries. Originally targeted for 2020, the goal now appears more likely to be met around 2023. Canada and Germany have been tasked with implementing a plan to get climate finance back on track. Coming into the conference, a few nations including the US, Germany, Canada and Japan made commitments to grow their climate finance contributions, and on Monday Spain committed to double its climate finance by 50% by 2025. The UK launched a new “Green Clean Initiative” to help to scale up public and private investment in sustainable infrastructure globally, and pledged to deliver over £3 billion in climate financing for green growth in developing countries over the next five years.

  • Country commitments. The lead-up and opening day of the conference saw several new climate commitments from countries including Brazil, which pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, aim for carbon neutrality by 2050, and halt illegal deforestation by 2028; India, which pledged to reach net zero by 2070 and reduce carbon intensity by 45% by 2030; Israel, which pledged to hit net zero by 2050 and to phase out the use of coal by 2025.

  • Company commitments. Several companies announced new climate commitments as the COP26 conference kicked off, including new net zero goals from Prudential Financial (2050), Moderna (2030), Mondelēz (2050), and Xcel Energy (2050).