Cop26 Glasgow: Boris Johnson admits G20 net zero plan is ‘too vague’ and warns progress is ‘not enough’

·41-min read

The long-awaited climate summit Cop26 is opening today, with delegates continuing to arrive in Glasgow.

World leaders, advisers and scientists will come together in the Scottish city tomorrow to commit to reducing carbon emissions in hopes of avoiding a climate catastrophe.

G20 leaders have been accused of failing to beef up climate commitments after a statement issued was by the group pledging to only “enhance when necessary” plans to cut carbon emissions by 2030 – the cut-off point for averting disaster, scientists say.

It sets no date for phasing out the fossil fuel. There is also no deadline for ending fossil fuel subsidies, which have soared since the easing of the Covid pandemic.

Speaking at the end of the G20 meeting in Rome, Boris Johnson admitted that the commitment was “too vague” and said the existing pledges were “not enough”.

Read More

Cop26: Greta Thunberg mobbed by supporters as she arrives in Glasgow

Cop26: Activists heckle ‘hypocrite’ Alok Sharma at youth event over Cambo oilfield

Cop26: UK has failed poorest nations on climate, chief government adviser warns

Key Points

  • Time for ‘diplomatic niceties’ over if world to be saved, says UN secretary general

  • Climate summit ‘last hope’ of reaching 1.5C goal, says summit president

  • Cop26 hit by travel chaos as trains from London to Glasgow blocked by fallen tree

  • Paris Agreement commitments left unmet for “far too long”, says UNFCCC executive secretary

  • G20 leaders accused of failing to beef up climate commitments ahead of Cop26 summit

  • G20 climate pledge too vague, suggests Johnson

Young delegates heckle ‘hypocrite’ Sharma over Cambo support of oil field

08:15 , Emily Atkinson

The Cop26 president was speaking at the closing ceremony of the COY16 youth conference on Saturday evening when a group of delegates stood up and branded him a “hypocrite” for the UK Government’s support of the Cambo oil field.

The activists began chanting from the crowd before walking out of the auditorium at Strathclyde University.

“Alok Sharma and the UK government are hypocrites,” said one delegate, while others held up a green “Fridays for Future” flag.

“They are opening the new Cambo oil field, they subsidise billions into fossil fuels yet won’t look after the workers who need a just transition.

“Where is the support for countries in crisis as a result of our colonial history?”

Environmental campaigners have called for plans to begin extraction at the Cambo oil field, to the west of the Shetland Islands, to be scrapped.

08:18 , Emily Atkinson

Cop26: Activists heckle ‘hypocrite’ Alok Sharma at youth climate event

Cop26 is ‘world’s moment of truth’ on climate change, says Boris Johnson

08:24 , Emily Atkinson

The UN climate conference will be the “world’s moment of truth”, Boris Johnson said as he urged leaders to deliver on the target of preventing global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5C degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Mr Johnson, who is due to fly from the G20 in Rome to Glasgow on Sunday evening, said: “Cop26 will be the world’s moment of truth.

“The question everyone is asking is whether we seize this moment or let it slip away.

“I hope world leaders will hear them and come to Glasgow ready to answer them with decisive action.

“Together, we can mark the beginning of the end of climate change - and end the uncertainty once and for all.”

UK net-zero tech firms double in value over one year

08:37 , Emily Atkinson

The UK’s net-zero tech sector has nearly doubled in value over the last 12 months despite major stalling in investment growth, according to data.

The firms, which develop technology to offset carbon emissions, saw valuations rise from 24.4 billion dollars (£17.8 billion) in 2020 to 47.6 billion (£34.8 billion) in 2021, the Net Zero 2021 Report from start-up network Tech Nation shows.

It comes after eight UK net-zero tech firms passed the billion-dollar (£730 million) valuation “unicorn” status.

Dr George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation, told the PA news agency: “If these net-zero companies are to fulfil their potential to save our planet, they need more help, support and funding from investors, UK pension funds and policymakers worldwide.”

Nicola Sturgeon: World leaders must return home from Cop26 with ‘message of hope'

08:51 , Emily Atkinson

Commenting as Glasgow prepares to host dignitaries from around the globe, the First Minister said: “Scotland is welcoming the world to what may be the most important international conference of this century.

“Hosting an international gathering of this scale - during a global pandemic - is an enormous logistical challenge, and I am hugely grateful to all those who have been preparing to keep Glasgow moving and deliver a safe conference for delegates.”

She continued: “Once world leaders are all in the same room, they must seize the moment and agree the necessary steps to prevent catastrophic temperature rises - and when they leave Glasgow, they must return home carrying a message of hope for humanity’s future.

“Scotland may not be at the top table of these negotiations, but I and the Scottish Government will be doing absolutely everything we can to help make this conference a success.”

‘This is the one chance we have to save the world’, says Chairman of Climate Change Committee

09:13 , Emily Atkinson

Lord Deben has said that the present moment “is the one chance we have to save the world” ahead of the first day of the Cop26 UN climate conference.

The comments, made to Sky News this morning, were followed by a discussion surrounding the urgent need for more electric vehicle charging points in the UK.

According to the Climate Change Committee, there need to be around 150,000 public charge points operating in our country by 2025.

At present, just 22,790 public charging points are available around the country.

Lord Deben said: “On the charging front, there is a great deal more that needs to be done. We need to get that right.

“We want more now, we want more next month, and more the month after that.”

Cop26 outcome will be ‘life or death for millions of people,’ says Archbishop of Canterbury

09:16 , Emily Atkinson

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the outcome of the Cop26 climate summit will be “life or death for millions of people” living in countries most effected by extreme weather.

The former oil executive, who in 1987 resigned from the fossil fuel industry after 11 years to train for Anglican priesthood, added that leaders must deliver for “the whole human family”.

He said: “The Cop26 climate talks are emergency surgery for our world and its people.

“The outcome will be life or death for millions of people. That’s how seriously we must take this moment.”

He added: “If these talks do not deliver, we face a dark, disturbing future – but there is still time, just, to save our world from the worst of the catastrophe.

“This is a chance to start living in a way that is healthier, kinder, and better for everyone.”

09:17 , Emily Atkinson

Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘Cop26 summit will be life or death for millions of people’

Alok Sharma urges world leaders to ‘leave the ghosts of the past’ behind and focus on future

09:49 , Emily Atkinson

The Cop26 president said it was “on world leaders” to find an agreement at the upcoming UN climate summit.

Mr Sharma told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme: “My message to them is very clear: leave the ghosts of the past behind you - it is Halloween today, after all.

“Let’s focus on the future and unite around this one issue we know that matters for all of us, which is protecting our precious planet.”

Asked about the Prime Minister’s more fatalistic comments about the summit, Mr Sharma said: “The Prime Minister is absolutely right, it is going to be really tough at this summit.

“We’ve got two weeks to get this over the line. But he was also making the point that when we took on the presidency of Cop26, less than 30% of the economy was covered by a net zero target - we are now at over 80%, nearly all the G20 nations have a net zero target for the middle of the century.”

UK ‘expected more’ from China’s climate commitments, says Cop26 president

10:04 , Emily Atkinson

The UK “expected more” from China’s pre-summit climate commitments, Cop26 president Alok Sharma has said.

Mr Sharma told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “In terms of their NDC (nationally determined contributions) it moved forward somewhat from 2015 ... but of course we expected more.

“This is a real opportunity for China, for all the biggest economies, to step up and show further leadership here.

“China has made some commitments in terms of coal and I think they’ve said - and this really is very meaningful - that they will stop international coal financing.

He added: “They’ve also said, in terms of domestic coal, that will start to go down from 2026 - we need to see the details of that.”

Greta Thunberg accuses world leaders of avoiding taking ‘real action’ on climate change

10:24 , Emily Atkinson

The comments were made after the environmental campaigner was asked about the UK’s position on leading on climate change in the wake of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement on Wednesday that there would be a 50 per cent cut to air passenger duty (APD) for domestic flights.

Greta Thunberg told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “Of course we can’t talk about this in, like, one single policy and so on. But when you see a pattern of these policies, that all the time are avoiding taking real action, then I think you can draw conclusions from that pattern.

“That climate action is not really our main priority right now.”

Asked if she believed it possible for the world to reach an agreement to keep global warming below 1.5C., she said to Marr: “I don’t know. It can. It’s possible in theory.

“It’s up to us if we want that to happen.”

Antarctic glacier named after Cop26 host city Glasgow ahead of UN summit

10:46 , Emily Atkinson

The Glasgow Glacier is one of nine areas of fast-flowing ice in the Getz basin in the west of the continent to be named after locations of major climate treaties, conferences and reports.

The 26th UN climate summit is bringing officials from almost 200 countries to Glasgow to haggle over the best measures to combat global warming.

The request to name the glacier after Glasgow came from University of Leeds scientists, including PhD researcher Heather Selley, who identified 14 glaciers in the basin that are thinning and flowing more quickly into the ocean.

Speaking about the new name, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “By naming this glittering giant of nature after the city where next week humankind will gather to fight for the future of the planet, we have a stark reminder of what we are working to preserve.”

Alok Sharma dodges questions on Cambo oilfield as Cop26 opens

10:56 , Emily Atkinson

The Cop26 president has swerved questions over the prospect of the Cambo oilfield receiving approval, saying: “That’s not my decision, that’s not my role.”

It comes after Mr Sharma was branded a “hypocrite” for the UK Government’s support of the oil field while speaking at the closing ceremony of the COY16 youth conference on Saturday evening.

Lord Deben, the chair of the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC), has previously suggested of Cambo: “We really do have to face up to the issue that there may be some occasions where we think that development could be of a kind which would help our move towards net zero to such a degree that it’s worth doing.

“But we always have to remember that the moment you do any of that, you’re setting an example that will be quoted throughout the world as showing this kind of development is acceptable.”

Asked about the remarks, Mr Sharma told the BBC: “Well, as I said, that’s no my decision, that’s not my role.

“When a decision is made I’m very happy to come back and discuss it.”

10:57 , Emily Atkinson

‘That’s not my decision’: Alok Sharma swerves questions on Cambo oilfield

Time for ‘diplomatic niceties’ over if world to be saved, says UN secretary general

11:36 , Emily Atkinson

Writing in The Independent, Antonio Guterres said the time for “diplomatic niceties” was over, and that the richest countries must “stand up and lead” the world away from the brink of runaway global heating.

As Glasgow opens its gates for the first day of the Cop26 summit, Mr Guterres writes: “Governments’ actions so far simply do not add up to what is so desperately needed.

“Recent new announcements for climate action are welcome and critical – but even so, our world is on track for calamitous global temperature rises well above 2C.

“The time has passed for diplomatic niceties. If governments – especially G20 governments – do not stand up and lead this effort, we are headed for terrible human suffering.”

11:37 , Emily Atkinson

Leaders must get on with the job at Cop26 – before it’s too late | Antonio Guterres

11:37 , Emily Atkinson

Time for ‘diplomatic niceties’ on climate is over, UN chief says

Flight tax changes attempt to prove Brexit ‘was a good idea’, says government climate advisor

11:47 , Emily Atkinson

On Sunday the head of the government’s advisory climate change committee, Lord Deben, claimed the tax was calculated to cast the UK’s decision to leave the European Union in a positive light.

He told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “I’m afraid the government is hung up in trying to prove that leaving the European Union was a good idea.

“And that’s quite difficult. So one of the things it can do is to reduce the taxes internally and not across the whole of Europe. So, he decided to do that.

“Actually, it doesn’t make any difference. As a matter of technicality, because the way that internal flights are accounted for under climate change will mean that they’ll just have to pay more in carbon.”

11:48 , Emily Atkinson

UK flight tax cut shows PM ‘hung up’ on proving Brexit was good, adviser claims

The Independent launches petition calling on world leaders to act immediately on the climate crisis

11:51 , Emily Atkinson

The Independent has launched a petition calling on world leaders to take meaningful action on the climate crisis immediately.

We believe the world can’t afford to wait for action to tackle the climate emergency and we want global leaders at the Cop26 UN climate summit to agree on securing global net zero by mid-century and keeping the 1.5C target from Paris within reach.

To join in our fight in helping to encourage world leaders to hit our climate targets please sign our petition below. We thank you for your support.

Sign The Independent’s petition calling for climate crisis action

Prince Charles: Cop26 a ‘last chance saloon’ in meeting Paris Agreement commitments

11:55 , Emily Atkinson

Prince Charles has warned the Cop26 summit is the “last chance saloon” to save the planet and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, as he told world leaders they have an “overwhelming responsibility of to generations yet unborn”.

Speaking at the G20 summit in Rome, Prince Charles told delegates there was an “urgent need” to explore how to develop “a mechanism to provide sovereign risk guarantees that would help release the vast sums of money to make this public/private partnership a reality.

“And that, in turn, is our only hope if we are to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees,” he stressed.

He went on: “Cop26 begins in Glasgow tomorrow. Quite literally, it is the last chance saloon. We must now translate fine words into still finer actions.”

11:56 , Emily Atkinson

Cop26 ‘last chance saloon’ to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, Prince Charles says

Paris Agreement commitments left unmet for “far too long”, says UNFCCC executive secretary

12:45 , Emily Atkinson

The commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement have remained unmet for “far too long”, UNFCCC executive secretary Patricia Espinosa has said in her opening statement he Cop26 summit.

She said: “Every day that goes by without being able to implement the Paris Agreement in full is a wasted day, the accumulation of which have real world repercussions for people throughout the world, especially the most vulnerable.”

She urged parties to take action, stressing that “success is possible” but calling for more ambition, for all nations to get on board and fulfil the commitments under the agreement.

She also called for support for developing countries, saying without this “we will not be able to embark on the transformations needed to achieve the 1.5 degree goal”.

13:00 , Emily Atkinson

Opinion: Innovation is a key part of tackling the climate crisis

Parts of the world will disappear underwater even if 1.5C target met, says Sharma

13:15 , Emily Atkinson

His comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is urging world leaders at the G20 in Rome to push harder on their climate pledges, saying the Glasgow summit represents the “best chance” of safeguarding the future of the planet.

Mr Sharma told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme that “1.5C really matters”.

He added: “We know from the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that we are already at global warming of 1.1C above pre-industrial levels.

“At 1.5C, there will be countries in the world that will be under water and that’s why we need to get an agreement here on how we tackle climate change over the next decade.”

Trains from London to Glasgow delayed as line blocked by fallen tree

13:54 , Emily Atkinson

Cop26 has been hit by travel chaos on its opening day as train lines between London Euston and Glasgow suffered major delays amid inclement weather.

Avanti’s west coast line was blocked because of a tree falling on power lines, the company said. It advised customers not to travel.

Passengers, potentially including hundreds of delegates and journalists heading to Cop26, were told their tickets for today could still be used tomorrow.

“We’re working on a plan to remove the tree & then fully assess the damage so we can plan a repair,” the body tweeted.

13:54 , Emily Atkinson

Cop26 travel chaos as trains from London to Glasgow delayed

Extinction Rebellion march on Edinburgh in protest of Cop26

14:05 , Emily Atkinson

Extinction Rebellion activists are marching through the streets of Edinburgh in solidarity with protests taking place across the world in a stand against the Cop26 climate summit.

The demonstrators are walking from George IV Bridge, Bank Street, North Bank Street, Market Street, Jeffrey Street and Canongate to reach the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood at about 1pm.

Extinction Rebellion activists are seen protesting on October 31, 2021 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
Extinction Rebellion activists are seen protesting on October 31, 2021 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Getty Images)

Participant Mike Grant, 61, from Rosewell, Midlothian, said: “I am marching today to make clear to those gathering for Cop26 that the people demand far bolder and far faster action now.

“Every fraction of a degree avoided is a life, a town, a species saved somewhere in the world.

“Our children’s children deserve nothing less from a generation that did so much to cause the problem.”

Cop26 ‘last hope’ of reaching 1.5C goal, says summit president

14:18 , Emily Atkinson

Alok Sharma has told the formal opening session of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow that it is the “last, best hope” to keep global warming limits to 1.5C.

Mr Sharma told delegates: “The rapidly-changing climate is sounding an alarm to the world to step up on adaptation, to address loss and damage, and to act now to keep 1.5 alive.

“We know that this Cop, Cop26, is our last, best hope to keep 1.5C in reach.”

He continued: “Together we can seize the enormous opportunities for green growth for good, green jobs for cheaper, cleaner power.

“We need to hit the ground running to develop the solutions that we need. And that work starts today - and we succeed or fail as one.

“If we act now, and we act together, we can protect our precious planet.”

Alok Sharma goes vegetarian for sake of the planet

14:21 , Emily Atkinson

The Cop26 president Alok Sharma has announced he has made the switch to a vegetarian diet to do his bit for the planet.

He said: “The reason I gave up meat is because my younger daughter, who went vegetarian some years ago and is very focused on environmental issues, basically said to me when I got this role, ‘What am I going to do for the environment?’’’

It comes after George Eustice, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, told the Telegraph that the government was working on a so-called ‘meat tax’ to curb the impact of global warming.

When asked about the potential tax, Mr Sharma told the Mail on Sunday: “Ultimately, issues on tax and spend are for the Chancellor.

“But I would say, my approach on these things has always been about carrot rather than stick. ‘At the end of the day, we ought to be encouraging people rather than forcing them to go in a particular direction.”

14:28 , Emily Atkinson

Watch: It is ‘on world leaders’ to find agreement at Cop26 summit, says Alok Sharma

Why must the world quickly tackle methane?

14:33 , Emily Atkinson

Experts say getting methane emissions under control is of huge importance in the bid to curb global heating, the subject of tense negotiations at the Cop26 climate summit being held in Glasgow.

Methane levels are at their highest since measurements began in the 1980s, the UN said earlier this year. (AFP via Getty Images)
Methane levels are at their highest since measurements began in the 1980s, the UN said earlier this year. (AFP via Getty Images)

Methane is a greenhouse gas which traps significantly more heat over time than does carbon dioxide. According to the UN, it has accounted for about 30 per cent of global temperature rises since pre-industrial times.

Cutting methane emissions could give rapid results and help the world hit the 1.5C warming target agreed in Paris in 2015.

Why must the world quickly tackle methane?

Nicola Sturgeon praises UN climate chief for setting out ‘stark reality' of climate change

14:54 , Emily Atkinson

Scotland’s First Minister tweeted that saying “couldn’t agree more” after the UN climate chief laid out the “stark reality” of climate change to delegates.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary told the formal opening of the UN climate summit in Glasgow on Sunday: “We stand at a pivotal point in history.

“We either choose to achieve rapid and large-scale reductions of emissions to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C - or we accept that humanity faces a bleak future on this planet.”

She added: “Every day that goes by without being able to implement the Paris Agreement in full is a wasted day, the accumulation of which have real world repercussions for people throughout the world, especially the most vulnerable.”

Planet is ‘changing before our eyes’, warns UN report

15:06 , Emily Atkinson

A study by the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) found that the planet had entered “uncharted territory” as rising temperatures pose a threat to food security and crucial ecosystems.

Even with a temporary cooling event, known as La Niña, earlier this year, 2021 is still expected to be the fifth to seventh warmest year on record, while global sea levels have risen to a new high.

The WMO’s report warned that extreme weather events have been increasing in frequency and intensity over the last 10 years, with one UN expert warning extreme events are now “the new norm”.

It added that the impact of these events, along with conflicts, economic shocks and the Covid-19 pandemic, have led to “a rise in hunger and, consequently, undermined decades of progress towards improving food security”.

15:06 , Emily Atkinson

Planet ‘changing before our eyes’ due to climate crisis, report warns

15:23 , Emily Atkinson

Writing in The Independent, Bear Grylls has said “when it comes to the climate crisis, one thing’s incredibly clear. We’re running out of time.”

He continues: “Cop26, the UN’s climate summit in Glasgow is a pivotal moment in stopping this slide to catastrophe. I’m attending, not just as Chief Scout, and Chief Ambassador of World Scouting, but as a father, and as a citizen of our planet, who believes we must take a stand before it’s too late.

“This is it. Our final moment to protect the planet and safeguard the future. We’ve made our promise, but we need world leaders to make theirs and for the sake of everyone and everything on Earth, we must not fail. United, we can leave the world better than we found it.”

G20 leaders accused of failing to beef up climate commitments ahead of Cop26 summit

15:42 , Emily Atkinson

The statement issued by the G20 group of the biggest economies is set to pledge to only “enhance when necessary” plans to cut carbon emissions by 2030 – the cut-off point for averting disaster, scientists say.

It sets no date for phasing out the fossil fuel, which will happen only “as soon as possible”.

There is also no deadline for ending fossil fuel subsidies, which have soared since the easing of the Covid pandemic, with an aim to achieve that only “over the medium term”.

G20 leaders fail to beef up climate commitments in blow to Cop26

Children’s hospital staff arrive at Cop26 after cycling 500 miles from London to Glasgow

15:54 , Emily Atkinson

A group of cyclists who work in children’s hospitals and as medical bosses have reached Cop26 after cycling 500 miles from London to Glasgow.

The 39 activists, members of Ride For Their Lives, cycled from London to Glasgow to raise awareness of the health damages air pollution can cause, particularly in children.

The group have carried with them the Healthy Climate Prescription letter, a document signed by organisations representing 45 million health professionals around the world.

The letter says “the climate crisis is the single biggest health threat facing humanity”, with air pollution at the top of the list of deadly impacts.

It calls for a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels, the cause of both problems.

Tricky start to Cop summit amid travel disruption

16:15 , Tom Batchelor

Travellers heading to the Cop26 summit have had their journeys delayed or upended by following a period of strong winds and rain.

Hundreds of passengers hoping to travel to Glasgow for the start of the climate conference on Sunday were left waiting inside London’s Euston station after a fallen tree halted services.

Many were caught on slow moving or stationary trains, while others were forced to book domestic flights to reach the summit.

An announcement just before 2pm revealed all train services had been suspended.

The original disruption came as a result of damage to overhead electrical wires between Rugby and Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line.

Network Rail said its teams are on site near Long Buckby in Northamptonshire, where the damage occurred.

The company said it is working to remove the fallen tree before assessing the damage and beginning repairs.

Travellers are advised not to go to Euston and instead check for regular updates.

Rail disruption due to severe weather ‘shows impact of climate change'

16:32 , Tom Batchelor

Passengers heading to the summit have said the disruption to their journeys due to severe weather was a sign of the impact climate change was having.

Scientist Simon Lewis said he has been stuck on a train for more than three hours as a result of the disruption.

The 49-year-old professor, from University College London, was on the 11am service from London to Edinburgh but was brought to a halt just 45 minutes later.

“We are moving a tiny bit every now and again, but have not made it to Peterborough yet, the first stop,” he told the PA news agency.

“This is inconvenient and a reminder that climate change drives extreme weather events and every country needs to adapt.”

Another passenger, David Johnson, said he and others on his train from London Euston to Glasgow were told to get off the train after half an hour waiting.

Mr Johnson is attending Cop26 as chief executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust, a UK-based international NGO focused on removing barriers to family planning as part of climate adaptation efforts.

Needing to reach the summit, Mr Johnson decided to book a flight from Gatwick to Glasgow which, he said, “does, of course, seem ridiculous”.

“The irony of the climate impacting the trains, meaning a flight to the climate change conference is the only way to get there today, is not lost on me,” he told PA.

World leaders’ motorcades left ‘idling’

16:42 , Tom Batchelor

Johnson tells world to act now on climate at end of G20 meeting

16:43 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has begun speaking at a news conference being held at the end of the G20 summit in Rome.

He said: “The science is clear that we need to act now to halve emissions by 2030 and keep 1.5C within reach. There are no compelling excuses for out procastination.

“Not only have we acknowledged the problem, we already seeing first hand the devastation climate change causes, from heatwaves and droughts to wildfires and hurricanes.

“And unlike many other global challenges, the solution to climate change is clear - it lies in consigning dirty fossil fuels like coal to history, in ditching gas guzzling modes of transport and recognising the role nature plays in preserving life on this planet and enhancing the power through renewable energy rather than orchestrating its destruction.

“If we don’t act now, the Paris Agreement will be looked at in the future, not as the moment that humanity opened its eyes to the problem but the moment we flinched and turned away.”

Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome (AP)
Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome (AP)

Why must the world quickly tackle methane?

16:57 , Tom Batchelor

Methane is a hydrocarbon used to heat homes, power stoves and more – a fossil fuel. When burnt it produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, but methane itself is also a greenhouse gas, and a much more potent one.

Experts say getting methane emissions under control is of huge importance in the bid to curb global heating, the subject of tense negotiations at the Cop26 climate summit being held in Glasgow.

It is the main component of natural gas, and is also created in the guts of livestock. Currently levels of the gas in the atmosphere are at their highest since records began 40 years ago.

Learn more about what methane’s effect on global temperatures is here:

Why must the world quickly tackle methane?

G20 summit made ‘reasonable progress’, says PM

17:05 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has said leaders at the G20 summit had made “reasonable progress... all things considered”.

Speaking at a post summit conference, the prime minister expressed hopes for the Cop26 climate summit and said leaders would be pressured by citizens.

“The chances of progress in Glasgow are exactly the same as I’ve said,” he said.

“It’s not just governments that want it, governments like ours that are putting pressure on those leaders - it is their citizens. They want us to fix this.

“There will be people in Glasgow when the delegations arrive tonight and tomorrow from the G20 who will be anxious, who will be absolutely desperate for the Cop26 that they want. The pressure on the world is enormous.

“I hope they will agree that I stand before you today, as I said to you when we came to Rome...I think we have made reasonable progress at the G20, all things considered. But it is not enough.”

1.5C pledge ‘hangs in the balance’, says Johnson

17:12 , Tom Batchelor

The PM has said that the Cop26 target of keeping global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5C degrees above pre-industrial levels “hangs in the balance”.

At a press conference at the G20 in Rome, Boris Johnson told reporters: “I think 1.5 is in the balance, it is very much in the balance.

“Currently, let’s be in no doubt, we are not going to hit it and we have to be honest with ourselves.

“So we’ve got to keep that hope alive.”

Miliband warns over ‘greenwash summit'

17:29 , Tom Batchelor

Labour’s shadow business and energy secretary Ed Miliband has said negotiations at the Cop26 summit should be based on science to ensure it is not a “greenwash summit” of “pre-packaged plans”.

Speaking in a video posted to Twitter, Mr Miliband said: “It’s not about targets for the middle of the century, they’re important, but this is the decisive decade.

“We’ve got to hold world leaders to account here in Glasgow for that science, to negotiate on the basis of that science - not to come with their pre-packaged plans and make this a greenwash summit, but to negotiate properly on the basis of the science.

“That’s what I’m going to be seeking to do here in Glasgow.”

G20 climate pledge too vague, suggests Johnson

17:41 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has said he agreed with the suggestion the G20 pledge to achieve carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century” is too vague.

When a journalist at the press conference suggested many think that is “a bit too vague“, Mr Johnson said: “I agree, and that is a function really of the gap between some colleagues and others.

“Some countries, as you know, have made commitments to 2060 rather than to 2050.

“What they’ve said is 2060 or earlier, and what we want to do is bring those commitments earlier.”

Stopping runaway climate change ‘within our reach’, says UN official

17:52 , Tom Batchelor

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa has told a press conference on the opening day of the Cop26 talks that the 120 leaders coming to the summit shows just how climate change was a top priority at the highest level.

But she said: “We know that we are still far from where we need to be to say confidently that we will reach that 1.5C goal by the end of the century. However the science also tells us that it is still within our reach.

“So I would say, if you asked me ‘why are you optimistic’, I think that from what we are learning and seeing, we know that these transformations can happen, that there are the tools, there are instruments, there are solutions.

“It is a question of time and also on how we manage to replicate those solutions at the speed that is required so that in this decade, which is crucial, we can get to be confident about achieving the 1.5C.”

‘If Glasgow fails, the whole thing fails’: Boris Johnson warns as climate summit kicks off

17:59 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has issued a frank warning about the prospects of global leaders tackling the climate emergency, saying: “If Glasgow fails, the whole thing fails”.

The prime minister’s gloomy remarks — as the Cop26 summit kicks off — came as he described current commitments from countries across the globe as “drops in a rapidly warming ocean”.

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Boris Johnson warns on climate crisis: ‘If Glasgow fails, the whole thing fails’

Covid vaccine issues preventing Cop access, claim activists

18:10 , Tom Batchelor

Climate campaigners say lack of access to coronavirus vaccines has hampered those most affected by climate change from attending the Cop26 conference.

As the global climate summit formally opened in Glasgow on Sunday, campaign groups claimed it was the most exclusionary to date and this would hit the decisions made.

Speaking at a press conference in the blue zone of the summit, Dorothy Guerrero, of Global Justice Now, said the refusal to give more manufacturers, particularly in developing countries, access to produce the vaccine is part of the reason some were unable to attend.

She said: “It is not a crime coming from a developing country or a poor country.

“You’re already saddled by the fact that your country was affected already for many decades, and you are the least responsible for this climate change.

“And yet you could not come here and raise your voice in this important meeting simply because you don’t have access to the vaccine and hence you can’t attend the Cop.”

Glasgow criticised for lack of cycling routes during Cop26

18:25 , Tom Batchelor

Johnson lashes out at world leaders for failing to make climate pledges needed

18:41 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has lashed out at world leaders for failing to make the commitments needed to halt the climate emergency, as he spoke at the close of the G20 summit.

A visibly frustrated prime minister admitted the Rome gathering had fallen short of what was required to put the Cop26 summit on course for success in Glasgow.

Promises made to tackle the climate crisis are “starting to sound hollow”, Mr Johnson told a press conference – when the “solution is clear”.

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Boris Johnson lashes out at world leaders for failing to make Cop26 pledges needed

Glasgow bin collection and street cleaner strikes to go ahead

18:57 , Tom Batchelor

Bin collection and street cleaner strikes will go ahead on Monday as Glasgow hosts world leaders, amid a row between a union and Glasgow City Council.

The GMB union told the Glasgow City Council chief executive, Annemarie O’Donnell, that members of the city’s cleansing service will strike for a week from a minute past midnight on Monday.

The planned strike action was previously called off on Friday after a new pay offer from council umbrella body Cosla.

Then, the GMB said it would suspend the strike for two weeks to consult with members.

On Sunday, GMB Scotland secretary, Louise Gilmour, accused Glasgow City Council of having “failed to give our members the proper time and space to consider the 11th hour offer from Cosla”.

She said there is “too much bad faith among members” towards the council.

G20 was a ‘success’, says Macron

19:10 , Tom Batchelor

Emmanuel Macron said the G20 summit in Rome has been “a success” that delivered results, especially on climate change issues, “despite many division”.

The French president said the two-day summit provided an opportunity “to revive convergence” among the world’s largest economies ahead of the much larger United Nations climate conference in Glasgow that got underway as the G20 meeting ended on Sunday.

“Now, all the work will focus on getting additional efforts from China, from other emerging countries, from Russia, in order to keep going in the right direction,” Mr Macron said.

“Indeed, we must get the G20 economies to do more on the coal energy in their country’s energy mix. That’s the next step,” he added. “We didn’t reach it here ... That was not realistic.”

Draghi: ‘Dreams are not only alive but they are progressing'

19:25 , Tom Batchelor

G20 countries made progress towards tackling the growing threat of global warming, Italian PM Mario Draghi said on Sunday, joining Emmanuel Macron in giving an upbeat assessment of the summit.

Mr Draghi, acting president of the G20, told reporters that for the first time all member states had agreed on the importance of capping global warming at the 1.5 degrees Celsius level that scientists say is vital to avoid disaster.

“We made sure that our dreams are not only alive but they are progressing,” he said in a closing news conference, brushing aside criticism from climate activists that the G20 had not gone nearly far enough in trying to resolve the crisis.

“G20 leaders have made substantial commitments ... It is easy to suggest difficult things. It is very, very difficult to actually execute them,” he added, saying he thought countries would continuously improve on their climate initiatives.

Oxfam criticises lack of G20 bold action to tackle climate change

19:43 , Tom Batchelor

Charity Oxfam was one of many groups that registered their disappointment with the outcome of the G20 meeting, calling the Rome summit a “missed opportunity” full of “vague promises and platitudes” that failed to deliver badly needed concrete action.

“Despite the amazing coffee in Rome, G20 leaders must have been drinking decaf, as their collective results were muted, unambitious, and lacking concrete action plans,” said Oxfam’s Senior Advisor, Jörn Kalinski.

“This G20 was supposed to be a key global moment for shaping effective, innovative and equitable responses towards a post-Covid world, but world leaders failed to come together and deliver the necessary action to the historic crisis still unfolding.”

The charity said the G20 “should have provided the lightning bolt that the Cop26 climate talks so desperately need. Instead, they responded with vague promises and platitudes”, and the meeting was a “missed opportunity to re-invigorate the $100-billion climate finance target that should have been met last year”.

Mr Kalinski added: “Confirming the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement was a minimum requirement. Without a promise to revise their lacklustre national climate plans to be in line with this goal, it is meaningless.

“The planet is on fire, and we are running out of time. It is now critical that Cop26 agrees to send all countries back to the drawing board to scale up their climate plans immediately, and not in five years’ time.”

Sharma says ‘biggest emitters recognise urgency of accelerating climate action’ after G20

19:59 , Tom Batchelor

Responding to the G20 meeting, Cop26 President Alok Sharma said: “On the eve of Cop26, it is encouraging that the biggest emitters in the world have recognised the urgency of accelerating climate action in this crucial decade.

“The science is clear and G20 countries have responded by committing to set plans consistent with mid-century net zero emissions, and enhancing their 2030 targets, to keep 1.5 degrees within reach.

“It’s very positive to see the G20 agreement to end international coal financing this year. Make no mistake, we are choking off the future of coal. And I welcome countries committing to work together to move to cleaner energy.

“The G20 also recognised the progress on delivering the 100bn, but I appreciate we will need to make more progress on finance at Cop26. I will continue to make this a key priority.

“As we welcome G20 and other world leaders to Cop26 in Glasgow tomorrow, the world is looking to them to build on these commitments and deliver the ambitious climate action the world needs.”

Attenborough documentary premieres in Glasgow

20:15 , Tom Batchelor

Sir David Attenborough’s latest landmark natural history series is having its premiere in Glasgow, showing viewers the hidden world of plant life.

The Green Planet uses groundbreaking filming techniques to show viewers the intricate lives of plants and the ecosystems that flourish around them.

The global premiere is taking place in Glasgow on Sunday evening, as the city hosts the Cop26 summit on tackling climate change.

Sir David and Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams are among those who will be in the audience.

In his latest television production, the renowned natural historian takes an active role in front of the camera, describing the way plants thrive around the world.

Speaking ahead of the showing, he said: “It is quite fitting that The Green Planet will receive its premiere at Cop26, and I’m pleased that I could be in Glasgow to see it with an audience.

“For years plant life has been largely ignored when talking about climate change, but as viewers will see from watching the series, the green ecosystem is at the heart of all life on earth and thus it’s vital that we tackle biodiversity and climate change together.”

Sir David Attenborough attends the premiere of Green Planet at the Glasgow IMAX cinema in the Green Zone at Cop26 in Glasgow (PA)
Sir David Attenborough attends the premiere of Green Planet at the Glasgow IMAX cinema in the Green Zone at Cop26 in Glasgow (PA)

Alok Sharma: 'We will succeed, or fail, as one’

20:29 , Tom Batchelor

Alok Sharma, the Cop president, outlined the urgent need for action in a statement marking the opening of the summit.

He said: “We can move the negotiations forward. We can launch a decade of ever-increasing ambition and action.

“Together, we can seize the enormous opportunities for green growth, for good green jobs, for cheaper, cleaner power.

“But we must hit the ground running to develop the solutions we need. And that work starts today. We will succeed, or fail, as one.”

Biden says Russia and China ‘didn’t show up' on climate needs

20:44 , Tom Batchelor

Joe Biden has said it is “disappointing” that Russia and China “basically didn’t show up” with commitments to address the scourge of climate change ahead of Cop26.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are not expected to attend the two weeks of meetings in Glasgow, but they are sending senior officials.

“The disappointment relates to the fact that Russia ... and China basically didn’t show up in terms of any commitments to deal with climate change. And there’s a reason why people should be disappointed,” the US president said.

He added: “I found it disappointing myself.”

UN official unable to attend due to Covid 'vaccine inequity’

20:59 , Tom Batchelor

Dr Musonda Xoliswa Mumba, a Zambian-born environmentalist, living in Nairobi, Kenya, who works for the United Nations, is among those unable to attend because of what she called Covid “vaccine inequity”.

What is planned for the first full day of the summit?

21:14 , Tom Batchelor

Following the procedural opening of the Cop26 on Sunday, to enable work to begin quickly, Monday and Tuesday will be the World Leaders Summit with the presence of royalty and more than 100 heads of state or government.

The World Leaders Summit provides all heads of state or government with the opportunity to set the stage for Cop26.

Sadiq Khan welcomes mayors and local leaders to London for climate meeting

21:29 , Tom Batchelor

‘Get in line, or get out of the way’

21:55 , Tom Batchelor

India Logan-Riley, an Indigenous climate activist from New Zealand, has delivered a more message for negotiators and world leaders at the summit’s opening ceremony.

“Get in line, or get out of the way,” the campaigner said.

How green are climate summit’s key sponsors?

22:14 , Tom Batchelor

The sponsors of the Cop26 climate summit have made bold pledges to get to net zero, but an investigation by The Independent has uncovered a substantial – and often hidden – reliance on controversial carbon offsets to get there, which environmentalists have branded “a license to keep polluting” and “a greenwashing scam”.

These 11 firms – Microsoft, Unilever, Sky, SSE, Scottish Power, Sainsbury’s, Reckitt, National Grid, Hitachi, GSK, and NatWest Group – have had their logos plastered all over the website of the biggest climate change event of the year, and inside its Glasgow venue, with each company hyped as a leader in their sector trailblazing the way “towards net zero”.

Last year they generated £260bn in revenue, but collectively pumped out more than 375m tonnes of carbon.

Here is the story:

How green are the Cop26 climate summit’s key sponsors?

Prince Charles calls for ‘war-like footing’ to tackle climate crisis

22:29 , Tom Batchelor

The Prince of Wales will argue that a “war-like footing” is needed to tackle the climate crisis, as he opens the Cop26 summit.

Charles is expected to call for a “vast military-style campaign” to address urgent environmental issues.

The royal, who has spent decades trying to raise awareness of the growing crisis, will speak at the opening ceremony of the major conference in Glasgow on Monday.

He is expected to stress the urgency of dealing with the climate crisis, saying: “We have to put ourselves on what might be called a war-like footing.”

He will go on to urge leaders across the globe to systematically engage with business to solve the climate problems the world faces.

He is expected to say: “We need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector. With trillions at its disposal.”

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