John Graham to Jeremy Kinsman and Diana Nicholson A footnote to add the impressive and growing compendium of Mulroney achievements…
UN Conference on climate change COP26 Glasgow
Ian Bremmer: Was COP26 a success or a failure?
As we saw after Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement, the fact that the American or Chinese federal governments aren’t doing enough driving doesn’t mean that the world is staying put. There’s climate momentum at the individual country level, at the subnational level, at the civil society level, at the private sector level… And technology is improving at breakneck speed, exponentially lowering the cost of renewables and making the transition out of fossil fuels more competitive. We’re making progress.
The UN climate conference in Glasgow was a mixed bag. We shouldn’t pin all our hopes on high-level summits, anyway.
After two weeks of flashy announcements, drama-filled negotiations, and inventive protests, COP26 is finally over.
The landmark UN climate conference set out to “keep hope alive” for limiting global warming to under 1.5C above preindustrial levels. It was hailed as the world’s “last chance” to avoid climate catastrophe (it wasn’t). So, how did the talks fare?
Glass half full: Most major players showed a willingness to up the ante on emissions reductions, volunteering significant commitments—at least on paper. The negotiated agreement, known as the Glasgow Climate Pact, includes some of the strongest signals seen in over 30 years of climate conferences.
Glass half empty: Talk is cheap. The record shows countries are likely to renege on or fall short of their promises. But even if all pledges were met in time, the world would still warm by more than 1.5C. Failure by the developed world to credibly commit to helping developing nations decarbonize and adapt to climate change perpetuates old divisions and mistrust, further lowering the odds of success.
Coal compromise taints COP26 climate pact
(iPolitics) The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow concluded with nearly 200 countries reaching an agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions, scale back the use of coal and other fossil fuels, as well as provide more financial support to developing nations vulnerable to the effects of global warming.
The Glasgow Climate Pact came late on Saturday and features an overall objective of capping the rise in global temperature to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.
The deal nearly fell through when Bhupender Yadav, India’s Environment Minister, proposed that countries agree to “phase down” coal, as opposed to “phase out” coal. Delegates were forced to accept the proposal or risk the agreement falling apart.
India’s last-minute move was subject to international backlash.
“India’s change to the language to phase down but not phase out coal is quite shocking,” said Australian climate scientist Bill Hare. “India has long been a blocker on climate action, but I have never seen it done so publicly.”
‘Down’ and ‘out’? COP26 wording clouds way ahead on climate
Crux of climate action depends on weaker wording
Conference resolution stops shy of ending coal, subsidies
Producers, top consumers see robust demand for resources
Developing countries view climate push with suspicion
(Reuters) – How humanity confronts climate change may come down to the intentions behind two words.
The U.N. COP26 climate conference adopted a final deal on Saturday that at the last minute dropped wording calling for the “phase out” of coal-fired power, replacing it with “phase down”.
China rebuffs UK criticism over coal move after climate summit
(Reuters) – China on Mondaypushed back at criticism that it helped weaken language on phasing out coal at the COP26 conference, saying that it had already made “enormous efforts” to reduce coal consumption.
COP26 president Alok Sharma said on Sunday that China and India owed developing nations an explanation for why they pushed to water down clauses.
Empty words, no action: Cop26 has failed First Nations people
I saw a conference that relied on dated colonial constructs and ignored Indigenous people. I watched the Australian pavilion used to promote gas and carbon capture and storage, sponsored by corporations such as Santos. Outnumbered by fossil fuel lobbyists, First Nations people witnessed an aggressive big business approach to climate negotiations, hardly the turning away from and permanent closure of extractive, polluting industries that we are all calling for.
And I saw a lot of talk. Countries said they would be ambitious, but without implementation by all governments at all levels, these are just empty words when we desperately need action.
Here’s what world leaders agreed to — and what they didn’t — at the UN climate summit
(NPR) World leaders signed off on a new climate change agreement after two weeks of intense negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland. While some countries committed to more ambitious cuts to heat-trapping pollution, many nations did not agree to rein in emissions fast enough for the world to avoid the worst damage from climate-driven storms, heat waves and droughts.
Still, the summit’s progress means that goal could still be within reach, experts say — if countries follow through on their promises.
The agreement was built from compromises on many fronts, including a last minute effort by India to weaken efforts to phase-out coal. Still, it broke new ground in creating a worldwide consensus to transition away from fossil fuels and to speed up countries’ ambitions to cut emissions faster.
Cop26 ends in climate agreement despite India watering down coal resolution
Glasgow climate pact adopted despite last-minute intervention by India to water down language on phasing out dirtiest fossil fuel
(The Guardian) Countries have agreed a deal on the climate crisis that its backers said would keep within reach the goal of limiting global heating to 1.5C, the key threshold of safety set out in the 2015 Paris agreement.
The negotiations carried on late into Saturday evening, as governments squabbled over provisions on phasing out coal, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and providing money to the poor world.
The “Glasgow climate pact” was adopted despite a last-minute intervention by India to water down language on “phasing out” coal to merely “phasing down”.
The pledges on emissions cuts made at the two-week Cop26 summit in Glasgow fell well short of those required to limit temperatures to 1.5C, according to scientific advice. Instead, all countries have agreed to return to the negotiating table next year, at a conference in Egypt, and re-examine their national plans, with a view to increasing their ambition on cuts.
Cop26 reactions: ‘Rich nations have kicked the can down the road’
Observers give mixed reception to news of an accord on the Cop26 final text. A selection give their views here
Hundreds of global civil society representatives walk out of Cop26 in protest
Carrying blood-red ribbons to represent the crucial red lines already crossed by Cop26 negotiations, hundreds of representatives of global civil society walked out of the convention centre in Glasgow on the final morning of the summit in protest.
Singing and whooping, representatives of farmers, Indigenous people, youth, women, academics, trade unions and environmental NGOs exited the convention centre in protest [and were] greeted by chants from the throng of activists outside the gates.
(The Guardian) The audience at the People’s Plenary in the conference blue zone heard speakers condemn the legitimacy and ambition of the 12-day summit before walking out to join protesters gathered on the streets beyond the security fencing.
“Cop26 is a performance,” the Indigenous activist Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Tla A’min Nation told the meeting before the walkout. “It is an illusion constructed to save the capitalist economy rooted in resource extraction and colonialism. I didn’t come here to fix the agenda – I came here to disrupt it.”
Tracy Bach of the advocacy steering group Ringo, shot down claims that this summit was “the most inclusive Cop ever”, telling the audience: “Most of the observers sitting here right now have not had access to the negotiation space.”
Transform approach to Amazon or it will not survive, warns major report
Panel of 200 scientists tells Cop26 Indigenous people, business, governments and scientists must collaborate
U.S. and China unveil deal to ramp up cooperation on climate change
(Reuters) – The United States and China, the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, unveiled a deal to ramp up cooperation tackling climate change, including by reducing methane emissions, protecting forests and phasing out coal. The framework agreement was announced by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua at the U.N. climate conference in Scotland, and was billed by both as way to tip the summit toward success. read more
World’s ‘calamitous’ water crisis being ignored in climate talks – WaterAid
Cop26 summit focusing on slowing down global heating at expense of current impact on water-stressed regions, says head of WaterAid
A global water crisis is being ignored at Cop26 to the detriment of billions of people’s lives, according to the charity WaterAid.
Water had not had “nearly enough” attention at the climate conference in Glasgow, with urgent action needed, said Tim Wainwright, chief executive of WaterAid.
“The way that climate change affects human beings is almost entirely through water, either too much or too little,” he said. “So why aren’t we talking about water all the time?
“We need the kind of action on water that we have already happening on the energy transition,” he said.
‘Killing us slowly’: dams and drought choke Syria’s water supply – in pictures
Cop26 – a tragedy in two acts where the rich nations knife poor countries in the back
Despite the fine words and supposed ambition, there is little time left to reach a meaningful finale
(The Guardian) If Cop26 were to be staged, it would be as a political drama in two long acts. Act one would see the leaders of wealthy cou(The Guardian) ntries such as Britain, the US and Australia smiling broadly as they strut the Glasgow stage with their friends, wring their hands and manage the world’s expectations. Act two would see them knifing each other offstage and kicking poor countries hard before running away.
The climate crisis conference, now halfway through its second week, is well into act two and the final scenes are being rehearsed in late-night talks. In a dramatic early-morning move, Alok Sharma and the UK presidency acting as the protagonist, listened to countries and produced a seven page draft “non-paper” that sets the broad outline of the final agreement that it thinks it may be diplomatically possible to reach.
Bill McKibben: Trust Is Hard to Find at the U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow
Young activists are right to doubt the pledges of governments, financial firms, and the fossil-fuel industry.
(The New Yorker) As the second week of the COP26 United Nations global climate talks began in Glasgow on Monday, the Washington Post published a truly remarkable piece of reporting that will surely demoralize the hardworking people gathered in the convention hall trying to hammer out an agreement. A team led by the Post’s veteran climate analyst Chris Mooney went through the emissions data proffered by countries at the summit, and found that they were in many cases wildly wrong. Malaysia, for instance, claimed that its forests are sucking up so much carbon that its net emissions are smaller than tiny Belgium’s—even though most researchers are convinced that clearing peatlands for palm-oil plantations, as Malaysia has been doing, is the very definition of a carbon bomb. The Central African Republic reported that its land absorbs 1.8 billion tons of carbon a year; the Post termed it “an immense and improbable amount that would effectively offset the annual emissions of Russia.” The worst-case scenario: the emissions data could be off by twenty-three per cent over all, or roughly the equivalent of China’s emissions.
Tuvalu minister to address Cop26 knee deep in water to highlight climate crisis and sea level rise
‘We are sinking’: foreign minister Simon Kofe hopes the speech will demonstrate the reality of sea levels rising for countries on the frontline
Images of Simon Kofe standing in a suit and tie at a lectern set up in the sea, with his trouser legs rolled up, have been shared widely on social media, drawing attention to Tuvalu’s struggle against rising sea levels.
“The statement juxtaposes the Cop26 setting with the real-life situations faced in Tuvalu due to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise and highlights the bold action Tuvalu is taking to address the very pressing issues of human mobility under climate change,” Kofe said in his video message.
Many big polluters have vowed to intensify their carbon cuts over coming decades with some aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But Pacific Island leaders have demanded immediate action, pointing out that the very survival of their low-lying countries is at stake.
Before Cop26, it emerged that one-third of Pacific small island states and territories would be unable to send any government figures to the summit in Glasgow due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The lack of high-level representation of Pacific nations at the meeting led to fears that the concerns of these countries, which are among those most at risk due to the climate crisis, would not be appropriately represented at the summit.
In October, a World Bank report said that projected sea level rise could cost the Marshall Islands, a country in the north Pacific halfway between Hawaii and Australia, its status as a nation.
Want to avoid greenwashing label? Go from targets to action, track progress, suggests Catherine McKenna
(GZero) Everyone’s talking about greenwashing at COP26. Why? For Catherine McKenna, Canada’s former minister of Infrastructure and Communities, it’s too easy to make commitments without having a process in place to deliver. Good words, she says, are no longer enough. “We need to understand how you’re going to translate your targets into real action. And then we need to track that progress. That’s exactly what governments need to do, but it’s also what businesses need to do.”
Young Women Are Leading Climate Protests. Guess Who Runs Global Talks?
There’s a clear gender and generation gap at the Glasgow talks, and the two sides have very different views on how to address global warming.
Somini Sengupta, international climate reporter
(NYT) Those with the power to make decisions about how much the world warms in the coming decades are mostly old and male. Those who are angriest about the pace of climate action are mostly young and female.
Social movements have almost always been led by young people. But what makes the climate movement’s generational divide so pointed — and the fury of the young so potent — is that world leaders have been meeting and talking about the need to address climate change since before most of the protesters were born, with few results.
World’s biggest banks to play a role in limiting greenhouse gas emissions
Pledge by over 450 financial institutions in 45 countries billed as one of the successes of Cop26 summit
Ian Bremmer: Leaders at COP26 pledge to end deforestation by 2030
Well, that is one of the wins. It’s the same pledge, but more countries are on board. The Russians, the Chinese, others that weren’t before, and also, we’re seeing movement on methane reduction pledges. Not as significant in amount as carbon dioxide emissions, but more dangerous in terms of impact on global warming. But the big issue, of course, is that still on carbon into the atmosphere, much lower coordination than you desperately need between north and south, rich and poor, Americans and Chinese. We are very far from where we want to be on that, and there, COP26 is a disappointment.
COP26: Biden attacks China and Russia leaders for missing summit
Countries have already announced major deals, including a global pledge to slash methane levels by 2030 as well as to end and reverse deforestation by the same year.
Both China and Russia are signatories of the pledge to reverse deforestation. Before Mr Biden’s speech, Mr Putin virtually addressed a meeting on forest management at the COP26 summit on Tuesday, saying that Russia takes the “strongest and most vigorous measures to conserve” woodlands, according to a Kremlin press release.
Uniting the world to tackle climate change.
The UK hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow 31 October – 12 November 2021.
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) has begun, accompanied by drastic warnings from the scientific community of an escalating climate crisis. COP26 aims to keep alive a target of capping global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the limit scientists say would avoid its most destructive consequences. Meeting that goal, agreed in Paris to much fanfare in 2015, will require a surge in political momentum and diplomatic heavy-lifting to make up for the insufficient action and empty pledges that have characterised much of global climate politics. The conference, which began on Sunday, needs to secure more ambitious pledges to further cut emissions, lock in billions in climate finance, and finish the rules to implement the Paris Agreement with the unanimous consent of the nearly 200 countries that signed it.