Cautious optimism after second day of Cop26 leaders’ talks sees progress

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference during the Cop26 summit (PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference during the Cop26 summit (PA) (PA Wire)

“I think we can be confident about one thing in the days ahead – the couple of weeks we’ve got – the clock on the doomsday clock I was talking about is still ticking, but we’ve got a bomb disposal team on site, and they’re starting to snip the wires, I hope some of the right wires” – Prime Minister Boris Johnson says international negotiators at the Glasgow conference have made progress.

“We’ve already achieved an enormous amount at Cop, in ambition, money, a whole bunch of new initiatives. Frankly, we’re a day and a half into this, and I’ve seen more energy and more commitment and more urgency than I’ve ever seen and I’ve been doing this since 1988” – US climate envoy John Kerry.

“I’ve been to all the Cops since 2006. This is the first Cop where the private sector – particularly the financial sector, but the whole private sector – is right out in front. I haven’t seen that before and it’s pulling governments along” – Lord Stern.

The Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted a Commonwealth Leaders’ Reception (PA) (PA Wire)
The Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted a Commonwealth Leaders’ Reception (PA) (PA Wire)

“Frankly, we have all had enough talking so we need to put our words and commitments into practice” – The Prince of Wales.

“One of the most important things we can do in this decisive decade to keep 1.5 degrees is reduce our methane emissions as quickly as possible. It’s one of the most potent greenhouse gases there is. It amounts to about half the warming we are experiencing today” – US President Joe Biden as scores of countries joined a pledge to cut their methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade.

“The Maldives faces catastrophic impacts of climate change due to rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions. My people deserve a safe place to live as much as anyone else in this room” – Maldives president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Vinisha Umashankar with the solar-powered ironing cart she designed (Earthshot Prize/PA) (PA Media)
Vinisha Umashankar with the solar-powered ironing cart she designed (Earthshot Prize/PA) (PA Media)

“I invite you to stand with us. We hope that you would give up the old thinking, old ways and old habits. We extend our hands to you. But let me be clear! We won’t wait for you to act. We will lead even if you don’t. We will act even if you delay” – Schoolgirl inventor Vinisha Umashankar, 15, a finalist in the Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize.

“We must conserve what we still have, we must restore what we’ve lost and we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come. Two-thirds of the land in Africa is degraded, but this can be reversed” – Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who has pledged two billion dollars (£1.47 billion) for land restoration in Africa.

“Banks and governments purporting to protect the world’s forests will be judged by whether they stop financing harmful development projects, as well as putting a stop to rearing cattle and crops like soy, which have driven the dreadful demise of forests, often with human rights abuses” – Paul de Zylva, senior sustainability analyst at Friends of the Earth.

Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (PA) (PA Wire)
Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (PA) (PA Wire)

“This is a big problem because, I’m not saying women make better politicians than men, but we have different life experiences. In order to have balanced decisions we need to have both genders represented” – Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said only 10 of the 140 world leaders attending the vital summit in Glasgow were women.

“We all know Cop26 has already failed before it even started. We are expecting emissions to rise instead of net zero by 2030. We are never going to get there” – One Extinction Rebellion campaigner, Luca Trivellone, 27, from Italy.

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