Cop26 - latest news: Biden ‘on track’ to deliver on his commitments, says White House advisor

·62-min read
Cop26 - latest news: Biden ‘on track’ to deliver on his commitments, says White House advisor

China has released its updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to tackle climate change, with experts saying little new has been offered by Beijing.

The world’s largest greenhouse emitter outlined its previously-made commitments to reach peak carbon dioxide emissions by the end of this decade and to become carbon neutral by 2060.

In the submitted documents published on the UN’s website, Beijing said it would increase the share of renewables in its primary energy consumption to 25 per cent by 2030. This is five per cent higher than previously pledged.

Li Shuo, of Greenpeace China, said China’s lack of new pledges “casts a shadow on the global climate effort”, adding that its politicians had “missed an opportunity to demonstrate ambition”.

Using individual countries’ current climate promises, a UN report published earlier this week predicted that global temperatures would jump by 2.7C above pre-industrial levels.

If accurate, this forecast means the terms agreed at the Paris Agreement in 2015 are unlikely to be met. Six years ago, world leaders said they would act to keep temperature rises beneath the 2C threshold.

Read More

Budget: Rishi Sunak makes flights cheaper despite warning to cut UK’s air travel demand

Insulate Britain protesters have ink thrown over them by furious drivers as they block roads

Six things to look out for at Cop26 – and why the climate summit matters

Key Points

  • China offers little new with climate plan

  • Queen pulls out of Cop26

  • Insulate Britain resumes protests on major London roads

  • Prince Charles to deliver opening address at Cop26

  • Greta Thunberg to join Glasgow strike

  • Putin expresses ‘regret’ he can’t make Cop26 during call with PM

  • Greenpeace chief warns of 'greenwashing' at UN climate talks

  • World heading for catastrophe without bolder climate plans, UN warns

Joe Biden arrives in Italy for G20 summit, ahead of Cop26

06:15 , Stuti Mishra

US President Joe Biden has arrived in Europe for two international summits, beginning with the G20 in Rome. After Rome, Biden will be coming to Glasgow for the crucial Cop26 summit. The US president, along with the first lady Jill Biden, arrived at Rome’s t Fiumicino airport early on Friday where he is also expected to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican.

He will then head to Scotland on Sunday night for the United Nations climate conference.

US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Rome Fiumicino International Airport (REUTERS)
US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Rome Fiumicino International Airport (REUTERS)

Biden would be ‘on track’ to deliver on his commitments, says White House advisor

05:45 , Stuti Mishra

Biden is on his way back to Europe just hours after pressing Congress to enact his signature Build Back Better Act into law so he can arrive having fulfilled his promise that the US will take action to halt climate change in time for the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

The message this time? Democracy works.

Often choosing to frame this choice explicitly in his remarks, Biden has bet that Americans — and the world — will see his success as proof that the liberal order, characterized by free and fair elections to choose governments that respect basic human rights, is not too slow-moving and cumbersome for the increasingly polarized world of the 21st century.

With Thursday’s announcement that a deal has been reached to pass his Build Back Better plan through Congress, Biden will arrive in Rome on Friday with some — but not all — his ducks in a row, writes Andrew Feinberg.

Biden is headed to Europe, having narrowly avoided embarrassment

What do we need for Cop26 to be a success?

05:15 , Stuti Mishra

A lot of hopes are pinned to the crucial Cop26 summit starting this Sunday. However, the immediate run-up to the summit has also been marred by disagreements, both internationally and within the UK

A shortage of gas in Europe has driven up prices and led to accusations that Russia, as the major supplier, has been rigging the market – charges it denies.

But this huge international gathering, seen as the second opportunity for the UK to show off “Global Britain” in the first year of Brexit – and if possible outshine the Paris climate summit of 2015 – had already lost some of its lustre, Mary Dejevski writes.

For Cop26 to be a success we need inspiration not desperation | Mary Dejevsky

What is Cop26?

04:41 , Stuti Mishra

Cop26 will finally commence in Glasgow, Scotland, from Sunday, a year on from its postponement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hosted by the UK under the presidency of former business secretary Alok Sharma and in partnership with Italy, the summit at the city’s SEC Centre will bring together the biggest gathering of world leaders ever assembled on British soil over the course of its 12-day run from Sunday 31 October to Friday 12 November.

What is Cop26 and why does it matter, Joe Sommerlad explains.

What does Cop26 stand for?

AOC urges emergency funding for global south climate activists

Thursday 28 October 2021 22:43 , Rory Sullivan

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has donated £7,250 to allow two climate change representatives to attend the Cop26 summit.

The Democratic politician urged leaders around the world to fund others who might otherwise not make it to Glasgow.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said: “It’s vitally important that those areas most affected by climate change have representatives at Cop26.

“Unfortunately, it is these very activists that have the least access.

“I’m committing to support two international advocates to attend the conference, and I challenge my colleagues in (the US) Congress and in wealthier nations around the globe to step up to ensure these 90 activists have a chance to be heard.”

The campaign group Cop26 Coalition said roughly 100 delegates from the global south were struggling to attend the conference due to high costs and travel rules.

Polar research ship named after David Attenborough docks in Greenwich

Thursday 28 October 2021 21:36 , Rory Sullivan

The UK’s most advanced polar research ship has docked in London to mark the upcoming Cop26 summit.

The vessel’s arrival in Greenwich is part of a three-day public celebration hosted by UKRI-NERC British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG).

“With Cop26 only days away, it’s incredible to see the new RRS Sir David Attenborough and hear about the world-leading and ground-breaking research it will complete in the Antarctic and Artic regions,” international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said.

RSS Sir David Attenborough docks in London ahead of climate summit

Democrats counter ExxonMobil CEO’s comments at Congress hearing

Thursday 28 October 2021 20:00 , Rory Sullivan

The boss of ExxonMobil has claimed his firm “does not spread disinformation” on climate change, before being challenged over the remarks by Democrat politicians.

Speaking at a Congress hearing, Darren Woods said his company “has long acknowledged the reality and risks of climate change” and had always been “truthful” and “fact-based”.

In response, Democrats accused oil executives like Mr Woods of a decades-long campaign to spread disinformation about the link between fossil fuels and the climate crisis.

Carolyn Maloney, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, said: “They are obviously lying like the tobacco executives were.”

No 10 doorway lit up green

Thursday 28 October 2021 19:31 , Rory Sullivan

The doorway at 10 Downing Street has been lit up green ahead of the Glasgow climate summit.

“With Cop26 just a few days away, I’m delighted to see Downing Street glowing green to mark our progress towards achieving a clean and reliable electricity system - supplying towns and cities across the country,” Boris Johnson said:

Manchin emerges as enemy of Biden’s climate change agenda

Thursday 28 October 2021 19:02 , Rory Sullivan

Joe Biden promised that the US was “back” on climate, following his election victory over his predecessor Donald Trump, who pulled out of Paris climate agreement.

However, passing climate change legislation will be difficult in such an evenly-split Senate.

Especially if Democratic senator Joe Manchin continues to be a thorn in the Biden administation’s side.

Eric Garcia reports:

Manchin emerges as the enemy of Biden’s climate agenda ahead of Glasgow

Sturgeon to address young climate activists

Thursday 28 October 2021 18:42 , Rory Sullivan

Nicola Sturgeon will speak to 400 young climate activists this evening, three days before the launch of the Cop26 summit.

The address by the Scottish first minister will take place at the opening of the 16th UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY).

The SNP leader is expected to say that young people’s activism has “spurred on” global change and that the delegate’s presence at Cop gives it the “very best chance of success”.

“I can honestly say that you are the reason why, in 2019, Scotland became one of the first countries to declare a climate emergency,” Ms Sturgeon will say.

“You should not have had to become the conscience of decision-makers around the world, but we will reach a better outcome if you are,” she will add.

President Xi will not attend Cop26, says Britain’s UN ambassador

Thursday 28 October 2021 18:21 , Rory Sullivan

The UK is expecting China’s top climate envoy to attend Cop26 in place of president Xi Jinping, Britain’s UN ambassador has said.

“The Chinese have indicated that they’ll be represented by their lead climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua,” Barbara Woodward said. “So we understand that president Xi Jinping will not be coming.”

Irish government seeks to dispel farmers’ fears over carbon cuts

Thursday 28 October 2021 18:03 , Rory Sullivan

The Irish government has attempted to dispel fears that its climate change plan will adversely affect farmers.

Ministers will announce next week how the country will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51 per cent by the end of the decade.

Although environment minister Eamon Ryan told Reuters the agricultural sector could face carbon cuts of up to 30 per cent, he disputed farmers’ claims this could lead to 56,000 redundancies and a steep reduction in their income.

“You’ll see a natural diversification and less intense system but also less costs and a higher premium. I think that’s the only way it’s going to work,” Mr Ryan said.

“You have to look at ways in which it actually works for Irish agriculture, and I think it can.”

Turkish lake dries up due to climate change and farming

Thursday 28 October 2021 17:45 , Rory Sullivan

Flamingoes have fed in the waters of Turkey’s Lake Tuz for centuries.

But this year was different: bird carcasses lay scattered across the cracked bed of the country’s second-largest lake.

“There were about 5,000 young flamingos. They all perished because there was no water,” said wildlife photographer Fahri Tunc.

Experts say the lake is the victim of climate change-induced drought and decades of harmful agricultural policies.

Suzan Fraser and Mehmet Guzel report:

Vast lake in Turkey dries up due to climate change

China’s updated climate plan

Thursday 28 October 2021 17:25 , Rory Sullivan

China has just updated its climate policies ahead of Cop26.

“Climate change is a grim challenge facing all mankind,” its statement begins. But does Beijing back this up with strong enough action?

Our environment correspondent Harry Cockburn takes a look at the details:

China to hit peak emissions by 2030 under updated climate policies ahead of Cop26

Two Olympians involved in XR protest at UK’s largest oil refinery

Thursday 28 October 2021 17:04 , Rory Sullivan

#icymi

Two Olympians are among a group of climate campaigns protesting at the UK’s largest oil refinery, demanding that ministers end all fossil fuel investment.

A total of 15 Extinction Rebellion supporters broke into ExxonMobbil’s Fawley oil terminal, with Olympic sailor Laura Baldwin and gold-medal-winning canoeist Etienne Stott locking themselves to a pink boat near its entrance.

“I am a deeply protective mother, moved to take direct action in a desperate bid to force this suicidal system to change in time to limit the climate crisis worsening and slipping past the point of no return,” said Ms Baldwin.

Their protest comes three days before the start of the Cop26 summit.

British Olympians Laura Baldwin and Etienne Stott (PA)
British Olympians Laura Baldwin and Etienne Stott (PA)

People expect decisive action against climate change, says Prince Charles

Thursday 28 October 2021 16:44 , Rory Sullivan

People expect world leaders to act at Cop26, Prince Charles has warned.

Speaking on the eve of the summit, the Prince of Wales reiterated his sympathy for the “frustration” of young activists, who believe the world has to be much more ambitious in tackling the climate crisis.

He said countries must “bury our differences in order to rescue this planet and everything it means, this miraculous planet, for the future of generations to come”.

Big Oil CEOs to testify before Congress

Thursday 28 October 2021 16:28 , Rory Sullivan

Thursday’s Big Oil hearings in Congress could change public opinion the same way the Big Tobacco hearings in the 1990s did, argues Jamie Henn.

The House Oversight Committee will hear from the executives of Exxon, Chevron, Shell, BP, the American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce on climate disinformation.

In Mr Henn’s opinion, the investigation must address how these firms’ are still lobbying in their own interests:

“If the Congressional investigation is going to be a success, it needs to uncover the ways that Big Oil is continuing to lobby against climate progress.”

Today, Big Oil CEOs will testify to Congress about climate change. It’ll be awkward

Train ticket to Glasgow five times more expensive than flight, says MP

Thursday 28 October 2021 16:05 , Rory Sullivan

Taking the train to Glasgow for next week’s Cop26 climate conference is more than five times more expensive than catching a plane, an MP has pointed out.

Jim McMahon, the Labour (Co-op) MP for Oldham West and Royton, tweeted screenshots showing the prices of single tickets from London to Glasgow.

The train fare was £135, while the cost of a flight was just £25.

This comes as chancellor Rishi Sunak was criticised for lowering domestic air passenger duties in his Budget, a move seemingly at odds with the government’s green pledges.

Beijing ‘casts shadow’ on global climate effort, warns Greenpeace China

Thursday 28 October 2021 15:40 , Rory Sullivan

Greenpeace has criticised China for not going further with its climate change pledges.

Li Shuo, who works for Greenpeace China, said its lack of new pledges “casts a shadow on the global climate effort.”

“In light of the domestic economic uncertainties, the country appears hesitant to embrace stronger near term targets, and missed an opportunity to demonstrate ambition,” he added.

China offers little new with climate plan

Thursday 28 October 2021 15:20 , Rory Sullivan

China has revealed its latest plans to fight climate change over the coming decades, with the pledges not going far beyond what it had already promised.

Just days before the Cop26 climate summit, China said it would peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and will go carbon neutral before 2060. Both steps have been pledged before by President Xi Jinping.

The UN has warned China’s nationally determined contributions and those made by other countries do not go nearly far enough.

The UN Environment Programme’s Emission Gap Report 2021 said that even if countries reach their individual targets, temperatures would rise 2.7C above industrial temperatures.

The world therefore appears unlikely to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting temperature rises to between 1.5C and 2C.

Sunak made wrong choice on slashing flight duty, Sturgeon says

Thursday 28 October 2021 14:55 , Matt Mathers

Rishi Sunak made the "wrong choice" by announcing a cut in charges on domestic flights days before the global Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon has insisted.

The Scottish first minister hit out at the chancellor after he revealed plans to reduce air passenger duty (APD) charges for travellers on flights within the UK.

She said: "I think it was the wrong choice a few days from Cop26 starting, when all of us have an obligation to think about how we contribute to reaching net zero and saving the planet, that the chancellor chose to make that cut in aviation duty.

"It's not a choice this (Scottish) government would have made, but it is for them to defend that in the months to come."

Cop26 president Alok Sharma arrives in Glasgow for negotiations ahead of summit

Thursday 28 October 2021 14:15 , Matt Mathers

The UK’s Cop26 president Alok Sharma has arrived in Glasgow ahead of the start of the summit on Sunday.

He says he’ll meet with negotiating groups for talks as world leaders head for Scotland.

‘Copness monster’ makes appearance in London ahead of crucial summit

Thursday 28 October 2021 14:04 , Matt Mathers

‘Messy, the COP Ness Monster’ opens at Grosvenor Square, Mayfair on October 29th, 2021 in London, England.

‘Messy’ – a five-metre long, sustainably-built sculpture shaped like the iconic Loch Ness Monster made from recycled jeans – will live in the heart of London’s West End during Cop26.

WaterBear, the free streaming platform for the future of our planet, aims to highlight how critical the transition to a circular economy is for tackling the climate crisis.

 (Getty Images for WaterBear)
(Getty Images for WaterBear)

Sir Patrick Vallance says ‘nature-based solutions’ must sit alongside new tech to tackle climate crisis

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:59 , Matt Mathers

The most senior scientific advisor to the UK government, Sir Patrick Vallance, has said harnessing the benefits of the natural world is a “critical” part of hitting net zero by 2050, and must sit alongside innovation in science and technology to tackle the climate crisis.

Our environment correspondent Harry Cockburn reports:

Sir Patrick Vallance says nature-based solutions integral to tackling climate crisis

EU launches project with South Africa to speed up ending coal

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:45 , Matt Mathers

The European Union will launch a project with South Africa at the Cop26 climate summit to speed up the country's exit from coal, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday.

"The idea is that the countries support South Africa to phase out of coal faster and to go earlier and faster into developing renewables. We're still working on that," von der Leyen told a news conference, adding that the United States, the UK, Germany and France were also involved.

The initiative is to be launched at the COP26 climate summit from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel, and phasing it out quickly is seen as crucial if the world is to meet the Paris Agreement's target to limit global warming to 1.5 C and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

A message for Cop26 – from deep within the Amazon rainforest

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:35 , Matt Mathers

In the run up to Glasgow summit, Nemonte Nenquimo – the female leader of the indigenous Waorani people – demands we respect Mother Nature, writes Donnachadh McCarthy

Read Donnachadh’s full dispatch below:

A message for Cop26 – from deep within the Amazon rainforest | Donnachadh McCarthy

UK Environment Bill won’t pass parliament before Cop26

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:20 , Matt Mathers

Rees Mogg also told MPs the UK's flagship environment legislation will fail to clear parliament before the Cop26 climate talks begin in Glasgow.

It is hoped the stand-off between the two the Commons and the Lords will end next month and the bill can then receive royal assent to become law.

On Tuesday, the government climbed down over legal controls against dumping raw sewage into waterways following a backlash inside and outside parliament.

We still need to use fossil fuels ahead of net zero transition, Rees-Mogg tells Commons

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:04 , Matt Mathers

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said the UK will still “need to use fossil fuels” ahead of the transition to net zero as he faced calls to explain why the government supports opening the new Cambo oilfield.

He told the Commons: “We have to remember that the target of net zero is by 2050, we are going to need to use fossil fuels in the interim. It is fanciful to think otherwise and if we are going to use them we are going to need to be economic.”

Mr Rees-Mogg also said: “The vision that this government has is one that is based on improving people’s standards of living. That’s what the Budget was about yesterday and that’s what the green policy is about. It is not about cave dwelling, it is not hair shirt greenery.”

 (PA)
(PA)

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire had said it was “embarrassing” that chancellor Rishi Sunak had slashed air passenger duty on short haul domestic flights in the Budget ahead of Cop26.

She added: “The government I am afraid to say working with the SNP Scottish government seem to be supporting new oilfields in the North Sea.

“Will he ask the business secretary to come to the house and explain why the government are saying that we must move beyond fossil fuels but meanwhile opening the new Cambo oilfield?”

Will presidents Xi and China attend Cop26?

Thursday 28 October 2021 12:40 , Matt Mathers

President Putin has confirmed he will not attend Cop26, citing the Covid pandemic as his reason for not wanting to make the trip to Glasgow.

Downing Street aides fear China’s Xi won’t make an appearance either and will instead send a deputy.

More below from my colleague Joe Sommerlad:

Will China’s Xi Jinping attend Cop26?

Who is going to Cop26? Putin snubs event in blow to climate talks

Full schedule for this year’s UN climate conference in Glasgow

Thursday 28 October 2021 12:20 , Matt Mathers

Next week’s summit will unfold over 12 days amid intense pressure on world leaders to walk away with a plan.

Here’s the full schedule of events:

Full schedule for this year’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow

What does Cop26 stand for and why does it matter?

Thursday 28 October 2021 12:05 , Matt Mathers

Cop26 will finally commence in Glasgow at the end of October, a year on from its postponement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hosted by the UK under the presidency of former business secretary Alok Sharma and in partnership with Italy, the summit at the city’s SEC Centre will bring together the biggest gathering of world leaders ever assembled on British soil over the course of its 12-day run from Sunday 31 October to Friday 12 November.

But what does the term ‘Cop’ stand for and why is the summit important? My colleague Joe Sommerlad reports:

What does Cop26 stand for and why does it matter?

Britain drafts Cop26 deal on global aviation emissions

Thursday 28 October 2021 11:55 , Matt Mathers

Britain is asking countries to push for a global target to cut aviation emissions to levels compatible with the Paris Agreement, under a deal due to be announced at the COP26 climate change summit, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

As Cop26 host, Britain is rallying countries to join an "International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition" and agree to push the United Nations' aviation agency to set a long-term target to reduce emissions from international flights.

Countries that sign the deal would commit to supporting the adoption by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of an "ambitious long-term aspirational goal that is compatible with net-zero global emissions by 2050", the draft said.

The aim is to build momentum for ICAO to set tougher climate targets when its nearly 200 member countries meet in September 2022.

Two Olympians among XR protesters blockading oil refinery

Thursday 28 October 2021 11:40 , Matt Mathers

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion, including Team GB Olympians Laura Baldwin and Etienne Stott, have broken into an oil refinery at Fawley in Hampshire.

The group used their pink boat — the Beverly Geronimo — to blockade the main entrance to the ExxonMobil refinery, while other protesters cut through the site’s electric fence and have climbed two 50ft oil silos, the group said in a statement.

The protesters are demanding the government stops all fossil fuel investments and are also calling for Exxon Mobil to stop its expansion plans for the Fawley refinery.

My colleague Alastair Jamieson reports:

Olympians join Extinction Rebellion oil refinery protest

China to present ‘updated climate plans today'

Thursday 28 October 2021 11:25 , Matt Mathers

China will submit its updated nationally determined contribution climate plan later today, EU sources hear.

NDC’s are countries’ targets for reducing emissions, as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

According to EURACTIV journalist Frédéric Simon, “insider sources in Brussels” briefed the news, which is to be confirmed.

It is widely expected that China’s President Xi will not attend the talks in Glasgow, raising fears that Beijing won’t commit to new targets to tackle climate change.

Shell not attending Cop because oil and gas giant ‘not welcome'

Thursday 28 October 2021 11:11 , Matt Mathers

A climate summit aimed at reducing emissions might not be a whole lot of fun for oil and gas executives.

And it looks like Shell, the Anglo-Dutch multinational, is opting to stay away.

According to Emily Gosden, energy editor at The Times, the firm won't be rocking up to Glasgow because "we were told we were not welcome so we will not be there".

Ouch.

$1bn plan to save critical Congo Basin forest could allow more logging, leaked documents reveal

Thursday 28 October 2021 10:50 , Matt Mathers

A $1bn plan backed by the UK and EU to protect the world’s second-largest rainforest could allow for more industrial logging that it is feared will wipe out the forest within decades, according to leaked documents seen by The Independent.

Our New York-based senior climate correspondent Louise Boyle reports:

Leak reveals $1bn plan to save critical forest could allow more logging

Attenborough: Use Montreal protocol as template for success at Cop26

Thursday 28 October 2021 10:35 , Matt Mathers

In a speech on the polar research ship named after him, Sir David Attenborough called on world leaders meeting for the Cop26 climate talks to listen to the science.

The RSS Sir David Attenborough is moored in London ahead of its first Antarctic mission later this year.

He pointed to how quickly world leaders acted in response to evidence from British scientists in the 1980s of the damage to the ozone layer, agreeing the Montreal Protocol to phase out CFCs just two years later.

He said: “We all know the magnitude of the dangers facing us in the immediate future.

“Would it not be marvellous to suppose that as a consequence of our discoveries, and science’s discoveries, the nations of the world joined together and actually did something in this coming Cop?” he said.

He said he hoped and prayed that the conference took action and that nations get together and listen to the science of what has to be done if the world was not to be overcome by climate change.

He said he was very proud and could think of no greater compliment than to be associated with the vessel.

In a speech on the polar research ship named after him, Sir David Attenborough called on world leaders meeting for the Cop26 climate talks to listen to the science.

Labour slams Sunak’s ‘astonishing’ move to cut air passenger duty

Thursday 28 October 2021 10:19 , Matt Mathers

Labour has slammed chancellor Rishi Sunak’s move to slash air passenger duty ahead of the crucial Cop26 climate summit.

Analsysts said the policy, which cuts the cost of domestic flights, encourages air travel over rail journeys at a time when emissions need to be cut.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, described the move as “astonishing”.

She told BBC Radio 4 Today: “We wouldn’t have gone ahead with that cut. “I find it astonishing that, the week before Cop26, where we are supposed to be showing global leadership, we have cut air passenger duty on domestic flights.

“We should be encouraging people to use our train network for those journeys.”

Make green the ‘easy choice’ to tackle climate change, government’s chief scientific adviser says

Thursday 28 October 2021 10:01 , Matt Mathers

Governments around the world need to invest more in technology to make green choices easier and cheaper for consumers, a top scientific adviser has said.

Patrick Vallance, Boris Johnson's chief scientific adviser - who has played a leading role in Britain's Covid response - said building capacity for "research and development" is key.

"We need collaboration internationally across science to make sure that we get innovation across the world accessible, and we need to build capacity for research and development in those countries which need it in order to get to the solution," he told BBC Breakfast.

Encouraging people to cycle rather than drive will help to reduce emissions, he added.

Asked about the Budget incentive to encourage flying around the UK and whether it sent the wrong message, Sir Patrick said his scientific advice is that "all of us taking some action to reduce flying would be a beneficial thing" and there is a need to get to a sustainable way of flying.

Sign up to The Independent’s free Cop26 UN climate summit daily briefing newsletter

Thursday 28 October 2021 09:45 , Stuti Mishra

Cop26, the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, is nearly upon us and the urgency of the business in hand is being felt like never before.

Here at The Independent, we are offering you an exclusive way to receive a daily news bulletin direct from our correspondents on the ground at the summit.

Our team of dedicated environment and climate reporters will be compiling a newsletter on a daily basis and it will be sent out each evening of the summit bringing all the latest headlines from that day’s events.

The daily briefing will bring you up to speed on what has been discussed, what has been agreed, exclusive interviews our team will carry out with the delegates and others, as well as a behind the scenes view and analysis from the latest 24 hours in Glasgow.

To sign up for our climate newsletter and the Cop26 special editions click here

How Cop26 summit will affect travel in Glasgow

Thursday 28 October 2021 09:12 , Stuti Mishra

More than 25,000 delegates are set to descend on Glasgow in less than two weeks when the Cop26 climate summit which was delayed by Covid-19 finally begins.

Hosted by the UK under the presidency of former business secretary Alok Sharma and in partnership with Italy, the summit at the city’s Scottish Event Campus (SEC) will bring together the biggest gathering of world leaders ever assembled on British soil.

The conference will run for 12 days, from Sunday 31 October to Friday 12 November.

Transport Scotland has warned that the scale of the event “is unprecedented in terms of impact on the transport network”.Joe Sommerlad reports

Floods hit Glasgow days before Cop26

Thursday 28 October 2021 08:37 , Stuti Mishra

Torrential rain has caused flooding in west Scotland as downpour causes water-logging in Glasgow, with just three days to go for the crucial Cop26 summit.

Videos and photos posted on social media show roads inundated in water triggering a traffic jam, while the rail network has already been affected.

Earlier, the Met Office had warned of life-threatening flooding as it issued amber weather warnings for rain in north-west England and south-west Scotland.

What has changed since Cop25?

Thursday 28 October 2021 07:30 , Stuti Mishra

Remember Cop25? If so, it’s probably not for the right reasons. The last UN climate summit, held in Madrid in 2019, was characterised by squabbles among major polluting nations and ultimately a disappointing lack of action.

Now on the cusp of Cop26 in Glasgow – postponed for a year due the Covid pandemic – there is an even narrower window to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, designed to curb even greater climate extremes.

Countries must commit to dramatically reduce their planet-heating emissions to keep global temperature rise to an increasingly ambitious 1.5C since pre-industrial times, or “well below” 2C. Currently, the world has heated about 1.1C.

Pre-Paris deal, the world was heading for temperature rise close to 4C, and while this has dropped, it is still tracking to hit more than 3C this century. The World Meteorological Organisation reported on Monday that greenhouse gas concentrations hit a record high last year, and increased at a faster rate than the annual average for the last decade, despite a temporary reduction during Covid lockdowns.

The Independent’s Senior Climate Correspondent Louise Boyle explains how much progress has been made since the last UN climate summit.

How much progress has been made since Cop25 and how far do we have to go?

Full schedule for this year’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow

Thursday 28 October 2021 07:00 , Stuti Mishra

Cop26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties will finally commence in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of October, a year after it was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hosted by the UK under the presidency of former business secretary Alok Sharma and in partnership with Italy, the summit at the city’s SEC Centre will bring together the biggest gathering of world leaders ever assembled on British soil over the course of its 12-day run from Sunday 31 October to Friday 12 November.

Boris Johnson, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and US president Joe Biden will be among the visiting dignitaries, as will Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, the world’s two most famous climate activists, despite the latter criticising the event and expressing pessimism about its chances of achieving meaningful change.

The 197 signatories, or “parties”, to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will all be represented in Glasgow, along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government officials, businesses and activists, all hoping to make their voices heard and see a comprehensive plan drawn up to realise the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and avert the global climate catastrophe our planet faces.

Here’s the official schedule for Cop26 and which topics will be up for discussion on which days.

Full schedule for this year’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow

Things to look for at Cop26

Thursday 28 October 2021 06:30 , Stuti Mishra

Glasgow is set to become the focus of the world’s attention this weekend, as the long-awaited climate summit Cop26 finally opens.

The two-week event is the latest international meeting aiming to rapidly bring down the emissions from the burning of greenhouse gases which are heating up our planet.

The UN has billed the summit as a “crucial” opportunity for countries to avoid the worst impacts of a warming world, including catastrophic sea-level rises and extreme weather and food shortages. The “conference of the parties” has been described as the “last chance saloon” to plan and take action within an effective time frame.

Almost 200 world leaders, along with 20,000 delegates and tens of thousands of campaigners and protesters are set to descend on Glasgow, in a major effort to chart a more sustainable future for our species.

As the UN warns the world is ‘heading for catastrophe’, Harry Cockburn tells you how to keep an eye on what matters at the ‘last chance’ Glasgow conference.

Net-zero goals aren’t the solution, says India before COP26

Thursday 28 October 2021 05:56 , Stuti Mishra

A carbon neutrality goal isn’t the solution to climate change and developed countries should acknowledge their historic responsibility, India s federal environment minister said ahead of the Cop26 summit starting this Sunday.

Bhupendra Yadav, who will be attending the UN summit along with prime minister Narendra Modi, said on Wednesday that India managed to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) ahead of time and without any major financial help from the developed nations.

However, climate finance remains an important issue that Cop26 should try and address, the minister added.

India as the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is under increased pressure to announce net-zero goals. However, top officials said India has historically contributed to only 4 per cent of total emissions since the 1850s.

Environment secretary RP Gupta told reporters, instead of net-zero “it is how much carbon you are going to put in the atmosphere before reaching net-zero that is more important.”

Boris Johnson impersonator sets fire to boat

Thursday 28 October 2021 05:25 , Stuti Mishra

A climate campaigner from the organisation Ocean Rebellion dressed as Boris Johnson and set fire to a boat in Glasgow to protest against the use of fossil fuels.

The protester, part of the Extinction Rebellion affiliated group, wore a false head designed to look like the prime minister while setting light to the prop with the words “Your Children’s Future” outside the Cop26 venue.

The campaigners, including an “Oilhead” character with a petrol can mask, also burned stacks of fake money during the protest on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow, opposite the site of the upcoming Cop26 conference.

Boris Johnson impersonator in Glasgow sets fire to boat to protest fossil fuel use

Biden likely to head to Cop26 without a final US climate deal, report says

Thursday 28 October 2021 04:49 , Stuti Mishra

US president Joe Biden may have to go to the Cop26 summit without an agreement on his climate action bill, Reuters news agency reported.

Mr Biden’s $1.5 trillion-$2 trillion spending plan to control climate change and expand health and safety net programs has remained mired in intraparty squabbles on Wednesday, as did a linked $1 trillion infrastructure bill that also includes climate-related measures.

While the president was hoping to secure the backing on the bill before heading for the international climate summit, a key Democrat told the news agency that time has simply run out for anything to be finalised before his departure.

Thursday 28 October 2021 04:30 , Stuti Mishra

Good morning

Thursday 28 October 2021 04:28 , Stuti Mishra

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of all things Cop26.

Follow for the latest climate updates.

Kenyan president and Lord Lebedev to convene Cop26 event on Africa’s crucial role in tackling climate crisis

Wednesday 27 October 2021 16:20 , Thomas Kingsley

The global importance of protecting Africa’s carbon-rich natural landscapes will be centre stage at the United Nations Cop26 climate summit next week at an event being co-staged by The Independent.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Evgeny Lebedev are convening the high-level event to discuss how private and public sector investment in these crucial carbon sinks is vital to combatting the climate crisis.

The event will be live-streamed by The Independent on Independent TV.

See the full story below:

Kenyan president and Lord Lebedev to convene Cop26 event on tackling climate crisis

Time running out to avoid rail strikes during Cop26, union warns

Wednesday 27 October 2021 15:59 , Thomas Kingsley

Transport bosses have been told they need to “put pay justice on the agenda” if they want to prevent rail strikes during the global Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

With world leaders heading to Scotland for the crucial climate talks, members of the RMT union are threatening to strike for the duration of the summit.

Other unions have accepted the deal on the table, but Scotland's transport minister Graeme Dey has warned he is “not optimistic” of a resolution being reached with the RMT ahead of the deadline set for 5pm on Wednesday.

Speaking at Holyrood on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Dey accused the RMT of changing its counter-proposals, and said: “Multiple times over recent weeks, we have been led directly and publicly to believe that there was a possible resolution of this dispute.

“This government and ScotRail reached out on all occasions, only to find the goalposts moved.

“It has been very difficult to establish trust in this process.”

In response, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This inflammatory language helps no one. We are not going to indulge in digging deeper trenches when there is ample time to resolve these disputes if we get talks back on.

“We are ready and waiting to get back round the table and Mr Dey should be focusing his efforts on making that happen.”

Additional reporting by PA

Prince Charles to deliver opening address at Cop26

Wednesday 27 October 2021 15:36 , Thomas Kingsley

The Prince of Wales will deliver the opening address at the Cop26 UN climate change summit, Clarence House has announced.

Charles, who delivered the opening speech at Cop21 in Paris in 2015, will speak to delegates gathered in Glasgow for the opening ceremony on Monday hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It comes as Buckingham Palace announced earlier this week that the Queen would miss the summit following doctors’ advice to rest.

Prince Charles has warned that climate change is the
Prince Charles has warned that climate change is the

Ed Miliban challenges Boris Johnson over Cop26 ambitions on PMQs return

Wednesday 27 October 2021 15:15 , Thomas Kingsley

Ed Miliban returned to PMQs today challenging Boris Johnson to offer more than "climate delay" at Cop26.

Shadow energy secretary Mr Miliband was a late replacement for Sir Keir Starmer, who was required to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19.

As he rose to his feet to heckles from the Conservative benches, Mr Miliband - who stepped down as Labour leader in 2015 - said: "Just like the old days."

He said Mr Johnson had undermined his own Cop presidency by “saying one thing and doing another” after highlighting a lack of commitment to the climate in trade deals and telling others to abandon fossil fuels while not doing so as a government.

Mr Johnson highlighted his talks with world leaders ahead of the summit, adding: “It's still too early to say whether it will succeed. It's in the balance.”

Mr Miliband countered: “The thing the Prime Minister has underestimated throughout these last two years is Cop26 is not a glorified photo opportunity - it's a fragile, complex negotiation.”

Mr Miliband is standing in for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who has tested positive for Covid-19. (PA)
Mr Miliband is standing in for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who has tested positive for Covid-19. (PA)

Protest events are biggest Covid ‘concern’ at Cop26

Wednesday 27 October 2021 15:05 , Thomas Kingsley

The spread of coronavirus by activists around the Cop26 summit is a “concern,” a public health expert has said.

Professor Linda Bauld said safety measures were in place at the summit itself, but other gatherings posed a greater risk.

It’s estimated that 100,000 people - including Greta Thunberg - will take part in climate protests during the summit.

"If things tip one way or the other, behaviour or waning vaccine immunity, concerns about COP - these are all in the mix - it could go above 1.0 again and that's a situation we don't want to be in," Professor Bauld told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme.

 (PA)
(PA)

Squid Game discussed more than climate change in run up to Cop26

Wednesday 27 October 2021 14:45 , Thomas Kingsley

Korean Netflix series Squid Game has been discussed online 10 times more than Cop26 in the past 30 days, a study has found.

The study by software company Brandwatch, found that on more than 5.2 million data points, the dystopian thriller was more talked about than the climate summit which has been labelled the world’s “last best hope” to address accelerating issues of climate change.

Squid Game continues to dominate conversation (Netflix / Squid Game)
Squid Game continues to dominate conversation (Netflix / Squid Game)

Rishi Sunak makes flights cheaper despite warning to cut UK’s air travel demand

Wednesday 27 October 2021 14:20 , Thomas Kingsley

The government will cut taxes on domestic flights to make it cheaper to fly within the UK, Rishi Sunak has announced.

In a budget delivered just days before the UK hosts the Cop26 UN climate conference in Glasgow the chancellor said he wanted to make internal air travel cheaper to “cut the cost of living”.

And he also announced that the government will continue to freeze fuel duty, a policy that has made it increasingly cheaper to drive compared to more environmentally sustainable alternatives.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has the full story below:

Rishi Sunak cuts taxes on domestic flights days before Cop26 climate summit

Climate activists occupy Science Museum overnight in protest

Wednesday 27 October 2021 14:00 , Thomas Kingsley

A group of 30 environmental activists spent Tuesday night camped out in the Science Museum in South Kensington, central London, after occupying the institution to protest against it accepting money from businesses with ties to fossil fuel extraction.

Activists from the London branch of UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) spent 18 hours in the museum.

UKSCN occupied the exhibition centre’s lobby for where their sit-in beginning around 5.40pm on Tuesday evening and seeing participants stage a candlelit vigil for “the victims of the museum’s fossil fuel sponsors: Shell, BP, Equinor and Adani”.

Our reporter Joe Sommerlad has the full report:

Climate activists occupy Science Museum overnight in protest against sponsors

Billie Eilish and Rainn Wilson call for urgent climate action from world leaders ahead of Cop26

Wednesday 27 October 2021 13:36 , Thomas Kingsley

Billie Eilish and Rainn Wilson have joined forces with scientists from Arctic Basecamp, calling on world leaders to take urgent action at the United Nations Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow next week.

“This year, our leaders are deciding the global actions required on the environment and climate emergency in a critical decade for our planet,” 19-year-old Billie Eilish says in a video message posted by the University of Exeter’s official Twitter handle.

Mr Wilson added: “Courage. That’s what our world’s leaders need more than anything.”

“We need to act with urgency. We need to half emissions by 2030. World leaders, are you up for it? I am! Let’s try and do the impossible.”

Our reporter Peony Hirwani has the full report below:

Billie Eilish and Rainn Wilson call for ‘urgent action’ amid climate crisis

What does Cop26 stand for and why does it matter?

Wednesday 27 October 2021 13:15 , Thomas Kingsley

What is Cop26?

Cop stands for conference of the parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This year is the 26th iteration of the annual meeting.

The 197 signatories, or “parties”, to the UNFCCC will all be represented in Glasgow, along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government officials, businesses and activists, all hoping to make their voices heard and see a comprehensive plan drawn up to realise the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and avert the global climate catastrophe our planet faces.

Our reporter Joe Sommerlad has the full story below:

What does Cop26 stand for and why does it matter?

Will China’s Xi Jinping attend Cop26?

Wednesday 27 October 2021 13:00 , Thomas Kingsley

While the importance of the summit has been heavily hyped and expectation is high that a generation-defining agreement will be signed to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and put the brake on the pace of global heating in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris accord, there is currently a good deal of uncertainty surrounding precisely who will be attending.

Chinese premier Xi Jinping is still yet to confirm if he will attend the summit.

“We still need to wait for the information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and only after they make an announcement will we tell you,” veteran climate envoy Xie Zhenhua told Reuters on 19 October when asked whether Mr Xi would be attending.

Our reporter Joe Sommerlad has the full story below:

Will China’s Xi Jinping attend Cop26?

Why are activists calling for Cop26 to be cancelled?

Wednesday 27 October 2021 12:40 , Thomas Kingsley

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who sensationally became the face of the international conservation movement through her Fridays for Future school strikes, has poured scorn on the conference’s prospects of realising meaningful change through cooperation between world governments.

Asked whether she was in optimistic mood ahead of Cop26 during a recent interview with The Guardian, Ms Thunberg answered: “I am not. Nothing has changed from previous years really. The leaders will say we’ll do this and we’ll do this, and we will put our forces together and achieve this, and then they will do nothing. Maybe some symbolic things and creative accounting and things that don’t really have a big impact. We can have as many Cops as we want, but nothing real will come out of it.”

Our reporter Joe Sommerlad has the full report below:

Why are activists calling for Cop26 to be cancelled?

How climate change summit will affect travel in Glasgow

Wednesday 27 October 2021 12:20 , Thomas Kingsley

With thousands of people set to arrive in the city for the summit at the end of October, Transport Scotland has warned that the scale of the event “is unprecedented in terms of impact on the transport network”.

A huge logistical undertaking, Cop26 will see 140 heads of state including Boris Johnson, US president Joe Biden, French president Emmanuel Macron, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro descend on Glasgow.

To accommodate a conference of this magnitude, organisers in Glasgow have had to plan carefully to mitigate the disruption, with the first road closures coming into effect a full week before Cop26 kicks off, running from Saturday 23 October until Monday 15 November.

Our reporter Joe Sommerlad has the full report below:

How Cop26 road closures will affect travel in Glasgow

Glasgow strikers support Greta Thunberg climate protest

Wednesday 27 October 2021 12:08 , Thomas Kingsley

GMB, the union representing thousands of striking cleaning and refuse staff in Glasgow said they will be joining Greta Thunberg in a climate strike on Friday, 5 November.

In a video posted on Twitter, GMB head Chris Mitchell said: “Camaraderie and solidarity to all school strikers marching with @FFF_Glasgow (Fridays for Future).

“We’d like to say thank you and extend a warm Glasgow welcome to Greta Thunberg.”

250,000 UK babies a year born in toxic air hotspots, study finds

Wednesday 27 October 2021 11:51 , Thomas Kingsley

A quarter of a million UK babies a year are born in toxic air hotspots that can harm their lungs, data released before the vital UN climate conference show.

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation say the figures reveal the “national shame of children’s health blighted from birth by air pollution”.

Sarah Woolnough, CEO of both charities said: “How can it be acceptable that the first breath a baby takes could be so dirty it could seriously affect their long-term health?

“The government must blaze a trail, not just at Cop26 but beyond, to bring in bold new clean air laws and set ambitious targets to clean up the air by 2030.”

Our reporter Rory Sullivan has the full story below:

Baby born into toxic air every 2 minutes in UK, study shows

Full schedule for this year’s UN climate conference in Glasgow

Wednesday 27 October 2021 11:39 , Thomas Kingsley

Cop26 will be hosted by former business secretary Alok Sharma and in partnership with Italy. Held at the Glasgow’s SEC Centre, thousands of delegates will be at the 12-day event.

Boris Johnson, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and US president Joe Biden will be among the visiting dignitaries, as will Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, the world’s two most famous climate activists, despite the latter criticising the event and expressing pessimism about its chances of achieving meaningful change.

Our reporter Joe Sommerlad has the full story:

Full schedule for this year’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow

Police arrest 17 Insulate Britain protesters along major London road

Wednesday 27 October 2021 11:20 , Thomas Kingsley

The Metropolitan Police has said it has arrested 17 Insulate Britain activists blocking the A40 junction with Gypsy Lane in North Acton.

Police said six of the protesters had glued themselves to the ground and specialist units were deployed to remove them.

How much progress has there been since the last climate summit?

Wednesday 27 October 2021 11:10 , Thomas Kingsley

The last UN climate summit, held in Madrid in 2019, was characterised by squabbles among major polluting nations and ultimately a disappointing lack of action.

Now on the cusp of Cop26 in Glasgow – postponed for a year due to the Covid pandemic – there is an even narrower window to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, designed to curb even greater climate extremes.

Countries must commit dramatically to reduce their planet-heating emissions to keep global temperature rise to an increasingly ambitious 1.5C since pre-industrial times, or “well below” 2C. Currently, the world has heated about 1.1C.

Our climate correspondent Louise Boyle has the full story below:

How much progress has been made since Cop25 and how far do we have to go?

Government needs to do more to reduce the demand for flying, advisers have said

Wednesday 27 October 2021 10:57 , Holly Bancroft

Government climate advisers have criticised Boris Johnson’s strategy for cutting emissions to net zero for not including measures to reduce demand for flying.

The Climate Change Committee said the programme was a major step forward, but criticised the strategy for leaving out measures to limit growth in the aviation sector or encouraging people to eat less meat.

My colleague Adam Forrest has a write-up of their recommendations.

UK government must make people fly less, say climate advisers

Six things to look out for at Cop26

Wednesday 27 October 2021 10:50 , Thomas Kingsley

The two-week climate summit is the latest international meeting aiming to rapidly bring down the emissions from the burning of greenhouse gases which are heating up the planet.

The summit follows a year of extreme weather around the world, in which storms and heatwaves have driven widespread flooding and wildfires across Africa, Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

So what could we expect to see at Cop26? Our correspondent Harry Cockburn has the full story below:

Six things to look out for at Cop26 – and why the climate summit matters

New research reveals 9 in 10 Brits don’t know what Cop26 is

Wednesday 27 October 2021 10:34 , Thomas Kingsley

New research by energy company E.ON has found that 90 per cent of Britons don’t know what Cop26 is while 80 per cent are left confused, demotivated or indifferent about climate action because of “carbon jargon.”

Commenting on the research, Michael Lewis, CEO of E.ON UK, said: “Knowing more is often the key to doing more – especially when asking people to make changes to their homes and their lifestyles in order to help combat the climate crisis. We need to make this something people want to do, as well as something they need to do, and this includes simplifying the language we use so people can properly understand the benefits of a cleaner, greener lifestyle.”

Cop26 is only days away (EPA)
Cop26 is only days away (EPA)

UN launches PR campaign with ‘talking dinosaur’ urging faster climate action

Wednesday 27 October 2021 10:13 , Holly Bancroft

A talking dinosaur has become the star of a new UN PR campaign to urge more climate action from world leaders.

In a short publicity film, made by the United Nations Development Programme, the talking CGI dinosaur tells an audience of diplomats and dignitaries that “it’s time humans stopped making excuses and started making changes” to address the climate crisis.

The campaign is the first film to be made inside the UN general assembly using computer-generated imagery and includes famous actors voicing the dinosaur in different languages.

School of Rock star, Jack Black, tells viewers in English that “at least we had an asteroid. What’s your excuse?”

Watch the video here:

Don't Choose Extinction

What is Insulate Britain and what are protest group’s goals?

Wednesday 27 October 2021 10:13 , Thomas Kingsley

Environmental activist group Insulate Britain, resumed its series of roadblock protests earlier this week after a 10-day break. The group brought the financial district to a standstill on Monday and have today begun protests blocking the A40.

Insulate Britain has become infamous for its “campaign of civil resistance” in recent months, which has seen its members blockade busy roads in and around the capital, from the M25 to Old Street roundabout, the Blackwall Tunnel and Wandsworth Bridge, to draw attention to perceived inaction and insincerity on green issues from Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

But what is the movement behind weeks of traffic disruptions?

Our reporter Joe Sommerlad has the full story below:

What is Insulate Britain and what are protest group’s goals?

More people than ever before worried humans are ruining the planet, global study finds

Wednesday 27 October 2021 10:00 , Thomas Kingsley

A six-year global study has found that more people across the world are increasingly concerned about the climate.

Over the past six years, more than 181,000 people in 20 countries have been asked about the climate crisis in the largest study of its kind.

It comes days away from the start of Cop26. The findings reveal some 78 per cent of people worry about human-driven damage to the planet – up from 71 per cent in 2014.

Our climate correspondent Louise Boyle has the full report below:

More people than ever before worried humans are ruining the planet

Climate campaigners Insulate Britain block two major roads in London

Wednesday 27 October 2021 09:28 , Holly Bancroft

Insulate Britain have continued their campaign of disruption by blocking two major roads in London on Wednesday morning.

The climate group obstructed the A40 in West London and a roundabout in Dartford to urge the government to better insulate homes.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “The Met is aware of Insulate Britain activists blocking the road at the A40 junction with Gypsy Lane in North Acton.

“Officers were promptly on the scene. Traffic has had to be diverted for the safety of all. We’ll share updates soon.”

The protests come just a day after another injunction was granted against Insulate Britain covering the “entire strategic road network”.

My colleague Furvah Shah has the latest on the protest here.

Insulate Britain protesters block major London road

Poorer countries spend five times more on debt payments than climate change, report says

Wednesday 27 October 2021 09:22 , Holly Bancroft

Lower income countries are spending five times more on servicing their debt than they are on coping with climate change, analysis from an anti poverty charity has found.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign estimated that 34 of the world’s poorest countries are spending £21.4bn on debt payments each year, compared to £3.9bn on reducing the impact of the climate crisis, according to figures published in The Guardian.

Heidi Chow, executive director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said that some of these countries will be raising the issue at the Cop26 conference this weekend.

She said: “Lower income countries are handing over billions of dollars in debt repayments to rich countries, banks and international financial institutions at a time when resources are desperately needed to fight the climate crisis.

“In Glasgow, wealthy polluting nations need to stop shirking their responsibilities and provide climate finance through grants, as well as cancel debts.”

Youth climate activists ‘occupy’ the Science Museum overnight

Wednesday 27 October 2021 08:20 , Holly Bancroft

Young climate activists spent the night in the Science Museum in protest at its sponsorship deals with fossil fuel companies.

The London branch of the UK Student Climate Network held a candlelit vigil at the museum on Tuesday evening and posted photos of the encampment on social media on Wednesday morning.

The vigil was for “the victims of the museum’s fossil fuel sponsors: Shell, BP, Equinor and Adani”. Around 30 students were involved in the protest and The Evening Standard reported that the activists were locked in overnight.

A beginner’s guide to investing for climate

Wednesday 27 October 2021 07:01 , Stuti Mishra

With Cop26 pushing from stricter climate agenda, countries will be focusing on curbs for heavy carbon emissions and there will be increased scrutiny for industries that have been heavy polluters.

However, there are many companies that have adopted sustainable ways and are working towards green technology. Experts say there are many more that can benefit from environmental themes.

But what can investors do to support the various industries and companies that are involved in creating a more sustainable planet?

Here Rob Griffin asks the experts to highlight the various sectors, stocks and funds that could be worth considering.

Cop26: How to put your money where your mouth is

Can Cop26 find a consensus between developed and developing countries?

Wednesday 27 October 2021 06:30 , Stuti Mishra

One of the key aspects in Cop26 discussions will be the issue of climate financing. Developing countries like India have long maintained that climate action should be funded by developed countries.

However, there’s growing consensus that more ambitious pledges need to be undertaken in order to keep climate change under 2C.

Here Daisy Dunne explores whether wealthier countries, that got rich by burning fossil fuels, have a responsibility to compensate those at the forefront of the crisis.

Paying for pollution: The case for climate reparations

Road closures and new electric buses, how Glasgow is bracing up to welcome world leaders

Wednesday 27 October 2021 06:01 , Stuti Mishra

Leaders and delegates of 197 countries with their bustling entourage of advisers, envoys and security personnel will be arriving at the Scottish city of Glasgow over the 13 days of the Cop26 summit.

Along with the estimated 25,000 people, a host of environmental activists and protesters are also expected to be in the city.

How will the climate summit affect the roads and transport in the city?

Joe Sommerland reports

How Cop26 road closures will affect travel in Glasgow

First look of Cop26 conference centre

Wednesday 27 October 2021 05:25 , Stuti Mishra

The first pictures of the Cop26 conference centre which is set to welcome the participants from 197 countries on Sunday were shared by UNFCCC’s deputy executive secretary Ovais Sarmad on Twitter.

Referring to the summit as “unprecedented & historic,” Mr Sarmad wrote safety and hygiene will be given high priority at the venue.

Covid restrictions still a challenge for COP26

Wednesday 27 October 2021 04:53 , Stuti Mishra

While the COP26 summit is already taking place after a gap of one year, the pandemic restrictions are still affecting the attendance of many countries, especially the ones more vulnerable to climate change.

Border closures, quarantine rules and high travel costs will see small island states and poorer nations sending smaller delegations, with some leaders unable to travel to the summit starting in Scotland on Sunday.

Click here to know which countries will be affected due to the restrictions:

Covid challenges ‘disadvantage’ smaller nations in COP26 climate talks

Good morning

Wednesday 27 October 2021 04:23 , Stuti Mishra

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of all things COP26.

Follow for the latest climate updates.

Queen pulls out of Cop26

Tuesday 26 October 2021 18:29 , Holly Bancroft

The Queen will not be attending the Cop26 climate summit, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The 95-year-old monarch, who spent a night in hospital last week, was supposed to travel to Glasgow for an engagement on 1 November.

A Palace spokesperson said: “Her Majesty has regretfully decided that she will no longer travel to Glasgow to attend the evening reception of Cop26 on Monday, 1st November.

“Her Majesty is disappointed not to attend the reception but will deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded video message.”

Here Joe Middleton has the latest details.

The Queen will not attend Cop26 summit in Glasgow next week

Will China’s Xi Jinping attend Cop26?

Tuesday 26 October 2021 18:05 , Joe Middleton

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (Cop26) will finally commence in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of October, a year after it was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hosted by the UK under the presidency of former business secretary Alok Sharma and in partnership with Italy, the summit at the city’s SEC Centre will bring together the biggest gathering of world leaders ever assembled on British soil over the course of its 12-day run from Sunday 31 October to Friday 12 November.

While the importance of the summit has been heavily hyped and expectation is high that a generation-defining agreement will be signed to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and put the brake on the pace of global heating in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris accord, there is currently a good deal of uncertainty surrounding precisely who will be attending.

Without the enthusiastic cooperation of the influential leaders of some of the planet’s biggest polluting nations, anything agreed at Cop26 will ring decidedly hollow.

The worst blow to Boris Johnson’s ambitions for the gathering so far has been the Kremlin’s announcement that Russian president Vladimir Putin will not be attending.

But perhaps the greatest concern of all though is whether Chinese premier Xi Jinping will fly into Glasgow.

Joe Sommerlad reports.

Will China’s Xi Jinping attend Cop26?

Cop26: How much progress has been made since Cop25 and how far do we have to go?

Tuesday 26 October 2021 17:35 , Joe Middleton

Remember Cop25? If so, it’s probably not for the right reasons. The last UN climate summit, held in Madrid in 2019, was characterised by squabbles among major polluting nations and ultimately a disappointing lack of action.

Now on the cusp of Cop26 in Glasgow – postponed for a year due the Covid pandemic – there is an even narrower window to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, designed to curb even greater climate extremes.

The Independent’s senior climate correspondent Louis Boyle reports.

How much progress has been made since Cop25 and how far do we have to go?

EU and China climate tzars set to meet ahead of Cop26 summit

Tuesday 26 October 2021 17:05 , Joe Middleton

EU green policy chief Frans Timmermans will meet China’s top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua face-to-face for the first time on Wednesday ahead of the Cop26 summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is not expected to attend the climate talks and some campaigners are concerned that the world’s biggest CO2 producer does not plan on unveiling a new pledge at the United Nations event in Scotland.

But while Xi has not travelled outside China since before the pandemic, he has made three major climate announcements on the international stage, including a pledge at last month’s UN general assembly to stop funding coal plants abroad.

At their meeting scheduled to take place in London on Wednesday, Xie and Timmermans will “go through the latest developments and see where we all stand in these last few days before the Cop26 officially begins,” an EU official said.

The 27 countries of the EU were among 143 to increase their climate pledges this year, out of the nearly 200 that signed the Paris accord. The EU has committed, in law, to cut net emissions at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030 and hit net zero by 2050.

China is among the major emitters that has yet to submit a new climate target. It has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060 and stop increasing its emissions before 2030, although it has not pinned down a date by which its emissions will peak.

Additional reporting by Reuters

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres bemoans ‘leadership gap’ ahead of Cop26 climate talks

Tuesday 26 October 2021 16:44 , Joe Middleton

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has lamented a “leadership gap” ahead of Cop26 climate talks and said that plans by countries to cut emissions over the next decade left the world on track for a “catastrophic global temperature rise” of 2.7C.

Even with new announcements in the last few days from countries pledging net zero targets ahead of Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, the world would still see more than 2C of long-term warming, he said.

“We know that humanity’s future depends on keeping global temperature increase to 1.5C by 2030,” he told a press conference on a UN report on the “emissions gap” between action needed to limit temperature rises to globally-agreed goals under the Paris Agreement and what countries have pledged.

“We also know that, so far, parties to the Paris Agreement are utterly failing to keep this target within reach.”

He warned: “The clock is ticking. The emissions gap is the result of a leadership gap.

“But leaders can still make this a turning point to a greener future instead of a tipping point to climate catastrophe.

“The era of half measures and hollow promises must end. The time for closing the leadership gap must begin in Glasgow.”

Additional reporting by PA

SNP transport minister should resign if rail strikes go ahead during Cop26 - Scottish Lib Dems

Tuesday 26 October 2021 16:30 , Joe Middleton

Transport minister Graeme Dey should resign if rail strikes go ahead during Cop26, the Scottish Lib Dems have said.

The RMT union is the final holdout in the action, which is set to disrupt the historic summit coming to Glasgow in less than a week.

Up to 30,000 people will descend on Scotland’s largest city over a two-week period and the strikes would hinder their ability to commute to and from the conference hall.

Mr Dey said on Tuesday he was “not optimistic” of a resolution by the deadline, set for 5pm on Wednesday.

But union leaders described the offer as “pitiful”, claiming it came with conditions that could cost jobs.

Lib Dem transport spokeswoman Jill Reilly said: “We are talking about delegates from around the world being unable to attend the most important climate summit of all time.

“Hotels in Edinburgh and elsewhere are booked out for this conference but their guests are unsure if they will even be able to reach the venue.

“The travelling public have now had six months of reduced services on the railways, it’s not like this has come out of the blue.”

Ms Reilly went on to point to the resignation of former transport secretary Stewart Stevenson, after a failure to prepare for snow disrupted roads.

“A rail shutdown would be a failure of equal magnitude. If the trains don’t run smoothly and on time for the duration of Cop26, then Graeme Dey should resign.

“The eyes of the world will soon be on Scotland. Ministers need to stop grandstanding and hammer out a deal that gets the trains running.”

PA

Consumers can drive climate action – look at the success of Elon Musk’s Tesla

Tuesday 26 October 2021 16:14 , Joe Middleton

People are switching to electric cars, not because governments tell them to, but because they want to buy them, writes Hamish McRae.

Opinion: Consumers can drive climate action – look at the success of Tesla

Biden ‘will be on track’ to deliver climate deal at Cop26 in Glasgow

Tuesday 26 October 2021 16:00 , Joe Middleton

President Joe Biden will be “on track” to deliver on his promise to make the US a leader in fighting climate change when he arrives in Glasgow for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Biden ‘will be on track’ to deliver climate deal at Cop26 in Glasgow

Animal Rebellion activists climb Defra building

Tuesday 26 October 2021 15:44 , Joe Middleton

Climate activists in hard hats have scaled a government today and unfurled a banner demanding that countries attending the upcoming UN climate conference invest in plant-based alternatives to meat.

The activists from Animal Rebellion scaled the building which houses the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

The campaigners are an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, which has blocked traffic, disrupted public transport and set up encampments to gain attention and press for stronger action against climate change.

The climbers hung a large yellow banner reading “COP26: Invest in a plant-based future.”

The group said its protest will remain in place until Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledges to urge all world leaders to end meat and dairy subsidies at the upcoming COP26 summit next week in Scotland.

 (PA)
(PA)

Additional reporting by AP

Nicola Sturgeon: Cop26 ‘inevitably' poses risk of transmission of Covid-19

Tuesday 26 October 2021 15:23 , Joe Middleton

Nicola Sturgeon has said that Cop26 will “inevitably” pose a risk of transmission of Covid-19, but that the Scottish Government and UN is working hard to “mitigate” issues.

The First Minister said: “The hosting of Cop26 would always have been a significant challenge for the UK and Scottish governments and Glasgow City Council.

“However, the fact it is happening amidst the global pandemic makes it even more so.

“It is inevitably the case that it poses a risk of increased Covid transmission.

“I want to assure Parliament and the public, however, that the Scottish Government has been working closely with the United Nations and the UK Government to mitigate these risks as far as possible.”

Most delegates will be double vaccinated, those from outside the common travel area will have to show proof of a negative test and those on the red list will have to stay in managed quarantine.

Those in the blue zone will have to carry out daily lateral flow testing and follow hygiene mitigations.

Additional reporting by PA

World heading for catastrophe without bolder climate plans, UN warns

Tuesday 26 October 2021 14:54 , Tom Batchelor

The world is way off course from averting climate disaster, and countries’ new commitments to cutting greenhouse gas emissions – unveiled ahead of the Cop26 climate summit – “fall far short” of what is required to reach net zero by 2050, the UN has warned.

“We know that humanity’s future depends on keeping global temperature increase to 1.5C by 2030,” secretary general Antonio Guterres told a press conference on a UN report on the “emissions gap” between action needed to limit temperature rises to globally-agreed goals under the Paris Agreement and what countries have pledged.

“We also know that, so far, parties to the Paris Agreement are utterly failing to keep this target within reach.”

He warned: “The clock is ticking. The emissions gap is the result of a leadership gap.”

Read the full report below:

World heading for catastrophe without bolder climate plans, UN warns

More people than ever before worried humans are ruining the planet, study suggests

Tuesday 26 October 2021 14:45 , Tom Batchelor

Across the world, people of all ages, gender, educational and cultural backgrounds are overwhelmingly concerned about the climate crisis, research shared exclusively with The Independent shows.

Over the past six years more than 181,000 people in 20 countries have been asked about the climate crisis in the largest study of its kind.

On the cusp of the United Nations Cop26 summit, where global leaders must negotiate more meaningful and critical climate action, the findings reveal that an ever-growing number worry about the damage being done to the planet.

Read the findings here:

More people than ever before worried humans are ruining the planet

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting