Cop26 Glasgow - news: Reaching global deal will be tougher than Paris agreement, says Sharma

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Cop26 Glasgow - news: Reaching global deal will be tougher than Paris agreement, says Sharma
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Securing a global climate deal in Glasgow will be "really tough", Cop26 president Alok Sharma has warned.

He said sealing any agreement to reduce emissions with be harder "on lots of levels" than signing the Paris Agreement of 2015.

Elsewhere, the head of Greenpeace warned against efforts by countries and corporations at the upcoming talks to “greenwash” their pollution of the planet.

“This Glasgow meeting really is a vital moment where governments need to be courageous,” said Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International.

“There’ll be a big greenwashing effort in Glasgow that needs to be called out and recognised. If you look at what they’re doing to try and hold back the world from moving forward, it’s stunning,” she said. “It’s immoral, it’s unacceptable.”

Read More

Cop26: Leaked document reveals the countries lobbying UN to water down climate crisis response

Has Joe Biden lost his climate credibility?

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

Will Cop26 be a serious flop? There is still time to turn things around

Key Points

  • India’s Modi to attend Cop26 summit

  • Leak reveals lobbying UN to water down climate response

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

  • Archbishop of Canterbury urges world leaders to ‘be bolder’ at Cop26

  • South Korean president will attend Cop26

15:45 , Chris Baynes

Securing a global climate deal in Glasgow will be "really tough", Cop26 president Alok Sharma has warned.

He said sealing any agreement to reduce emissions with be harder "on lots of levels" than signing the Paris Agreement of 2015.

Countries are under pressure to increase their greenhouse gas emission cuts as the world is far off track to meet globally agreed targets to limit temperature rises and curb dangerous warming.

The Cop26 summit, which starts in Glasgow on October 31, is the effective deadline for countries to bring forward more ambitious national climate plans in a five-year process under the Paris climate treaty.

Mr Sharma told The Guardian: "What we're trying to do here in Glasgow is actually really tough.

"It was brilliant, what they did in Paris, it was a framework agreement, (but) a lot of the detailed rules were left for the future.

"It's like we've got to the end of the exam paper and the most difficult questions are left and you're running out of time, the exam's over in half an hour and you go, 'how are we going to answer this one?"'

Italy yet to name climate envoy

Friday 22 October 2021 15:37 , Tom Batchelor

Italy has still not found a special envoy to represent it at the upcoming summit because the ministers responsible for the appointment cannot agree on a name, reports Reuters.

Italian climate activists cheered when a government decree in June promised the appointment of the special envoy, following the example of other countries which have named prominent figures to the job such as John Kerry in the United States.

The role would ensure “more effective Italian participation at international events and negotiations on the environment and climate change,” read the decree.

Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani were given joint responsibility for the appointment, which Mr Di Maio said would be made by September.

Three weeks after the deadline nobody has been named, as Italy prepares to host a G20 leaders’ meeting next week where climate change will top the agenda, immediately followed by the UN Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

“The delay in appointing the special envoy before the crucial G20 Summit and Cop26 is a big missed opportunity,” said Luca Bergamaschi, co-founder of Italian climate think-tank ECCO.

A senior government source said a few candidates were currently being vetted but the appointment was unlikely to come before the Cop26.

“I don’t think the envoy could add much at this stage, the preparatory job for the Cop is already done and the negotiating team is at work,” the source said.

Man cycles across wind turbine blade to raise awareness of climate change

Friday 22 October 2021 14:20 , Tom Batchelor

A man has cycled across the blade of a wind turbine in order to raise awareness of climate change.

Ahead of UN climate change conference Cop26, Scottish pro-cyclist Danny Macaskill cycled across the turbine, a stunt which has never been attempted before.

He also did a series of tricks at a renewable energy factory, to demonstrate how much of the world’s energy that currently originates from renewable sources.

“It’s so high up it doesn’t feel high, it’s unrealistically high up,” Mr Macaskill said.

“I will say that fibreglass and bike tyres don’t go that well together, it’s slippy stuff.

“I made this film for Cop26 and I didn’t realise how abundant renewable energy is ... It’s a good feeling knowing renewable energy is taking off and the balance is changing.

“Hopefully the planet can start healing.”

How summit will affect travel in Glasgow

Friday 22 October 2021 13:40 , Tom Batchelor

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.

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

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.

Here are the full details:

How Cop26 summit will affect travel in Glasgow next month

Cop26 will be an ‘embarrassment mechanism’ for world’s biggest polluters, says Ed Miliband

Friday 22 October 2021 13:03 , Tom Batchelor

The Cop26 summit should act as a “large embarrassment mechanism” for the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, according to Ed Miliband.

Speaking at an event hosted by The Independent on Tuesday, the shadow business secretary said that big polluters such as China, India and Australia must arrive at the UN climate summit starting at the end of this month with tougher emissions plans.

More concrete action from big emitters will be key to “closing the gap” between the world’s current climate pledges and what is needed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the aspiration set by countries under the Paris Agreement, he said.

Here is the story:

Cop26 an ‘embarrassment mechanism’ for world’s biggest polluters, says Ed Miliband

Scottish Green Party plans Cop26 events

Friday 22 October 2021 12:43 , Tom Batchelor

The Scottish Green Party will be taking part in the Global Day of Action mass mobilisation march in Glasgow on Saturday 6 November – mid-way through the climate summit.

Speeches and music are planned before a march through the city.

The party said: “We will meet at the GreenHub, Renfield St Stephen’s Centre on Bath Street at 11am for a 11.15am departure to Kelvingrove Park.

“Those familiar with Glasgow can join us at the Kelvin statue from 12pm for speeches and music before the main march.”

It is one of a number of side events being planned during the conference.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will hold an “alternative Cop26” aimed at pushing for radical action on the climate crisis.

The left-wing MP said a series of events would challenge the “weak politicians” who will be discussing targets to cut carbon emissions in Glasgow.

Will China’s Xi Jinping attend Cop26?

Friday 22 October 2021 12:23 , Tom Batchelor

As speculation continues over which world leaders will attend the climate summit, perhaps the greatest concern of all is whether Chinese premier Xi Jinping will fly into Glasgow.

If not, the superpower will be represented by veteran climate envoy Xie Zhenhua, who has already held preliminary talks with Mr Sharma and US president Joe Biden’s special envoy John Kerry, a gesture widely interpreted as a positive indication of Beijing’s commitment to the mission.

“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,” Mr Xie told Reuters on 19 October when asked whether Mr Xi would be attending.

Read more here:

Will China’s Xi Jinping attend Cop26?

Covid rules bar many Pacific island leaders from Cop26

Friday 22 October 2021 12:03 , Tom Batchelor

One in three of the smaller Pacific island nations will be unable to send delegates to Cop26 because of the UK’s strict Covid travel rules, leaving those who stand to lose the most from the heating planet effectively excluded from face-to-face discussions.

Thirteen states plan to send a officials to the summit but seven will not, The Guardian reported.

The paper quoted Ralph Regenvanu, opposition leader of Vanuatu, as saying: “It’s a big issue for the Pacific, the fact that we will not be able to be there in person as we would like.

“If we go back to Paris [Cop21], it was the personal presence of Pacific leaders that really made a change and brought us to the one point five degree figure that we have now in the agreement.”

Gordon Brown: Cop26 will fail unless rich nations keep their promises to the vulnerable

Friday 22 October 2021 11:43 , Tom Batchelor

Uniting all parts of the world around a shared mission is indeed, a pre-condition of further progress, writes Gordon Brown.

Prosperity has to be shared to be sustained and Cop26 must become Co-op26.

This much needed, but still far too elusive, cooperation will only happen if we start to honour our responsibilities to each other.

Read his full comment piece here:

Cop26 will fail unless nations act together, we cannot afford division | Gordon Brown

Glasgow to clean up streets before world descends on city

Friday 22 October 2021 11:23 , Tom Batchelor

Refuse workers in Glasgow are set to go on strike during the international conference if a pay dispute is not resolved.

With the threat of rubbish-strewn streets hanging over officials, Glasgow City Council has said it will focus on dealing with fly-tipping ahead of the summit.

Leader Susan Aitken acknowledged there were “hotspots” where dumping is a particular problem with just days to go until the city hosts world leaders.

But Ms Aitken, who leads the council’s SNP administration, said she was still confident the city can be “spruced up” and looking great by the time of the summit.

She said: “There are still some spots, hotspots, where we have particular challenges that are largely down to issues like fly-tipping.

“Environmental crime, to be honest, is what we’re having to respond to.”

What if Cop26 doesn’t meet expectations?

Friday 22 October 2021 11:03 , Tom Batchelor

The absence of President Xi of China (the world’s most polluting nation) and of President Putin (Russia is still a superpower in hydrocarbon resources) would fatally damage the prospects of a binding agreement, writes Sean O’Grady.

Here is his take on whether Cop will be a flop:

What if Cop26 doesn’t meet expectations?

South Korean president will attend Cop26

Friday 22 October 2021 10:39 , Tom Batchelor

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will travel to Europe next week to attend the G20 summit in Rome followed by the UN climate conference in Glasgow, his office said.

South Korea is one of the world’s most fossil-fuel reliant economies, with coal making up over 41 per cent of the country’s electricity mix and renewable power just over 6 per cent.

Last year, Mr Moon pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050 and unveiled a Green New Deal to create jobs and boost economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

This month he vowed to raise its emissions-reduction goal to 40 per cent of 2018 levels by 2030 from the previous 26.3 per cent.

Truss will encourage India to take more climate action during two-day visit

Friday 22 October 2021 10:23 , Tom Batchelor

Liz Truss will use a two-day visit to India to announce a series of technology and infrastructure deals aimed at boosting trade links and combating climate change.

In the run-up to the Cop26 climate summit, the foreign secretary will also urge India’s environment minister Bhupender Yadav to commit to more ambitious goals on emission reduction.

Yesterday, the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, was confirmed as an attendee at the event.

But with India’s reliance on coal and other polluting industries, pressure will be on Delhi to commit to bold action.

Cycling a ‘planet-saving alternative yet receives a fraction of the investment of major roads projects'

Friday 22 October 2021 10:05 , Tom Batchelor

Campaigners are urging governments to properly invest in cycling as a simple, cheap and effective means of tackling the climate, pollution and health crises the world is facing.

Encouraging people to travel by bicycle will be crucial to making cities greener, more pleasant places to live, they say.

But currently cycle infrastructure attracts a “fraction” of the money spent on other, polluting forms of transport.

Cycling UK is among the groups hoping Cop26 will lead to an uptick in spending on infrastructure for bicycles.

Cop26 host Queen Elizabeth in good spirits after hospital stay

Friday 22 October 2021 09:43 , Tom Batchelor

Queen Elizabeth has spent a night in hospital for the first time in years for what Buckingham Palace termed “preliminary investigations”, but was said to be in good spirits and back at work at Windsor Castle on Thursday.

The world’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch cancelled an official trip to Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

But there was no suggestion future engagements would also be shelved.

Her next major engagement is at the end of the month when she is due to welcome world leaders at the opening of Cop26.

Don’t cut foreign aid, climate experts warn UK

Friday 22 October 2021 09:23 , Tom Batchelor

A group of respected climate change experts have written to Boris Johnson urging him not to cut overseas aid spending ahead of the Cop26 summit.

They argue that doing so would send the wrong signal at a time when poorer countries need the UK’s help to build defences against the worst effects of the warming planet.

The letter, seen by the BBC, states: “As ‘Friends of COP’ we are writing to you to express our deep concern at the prospect of further UK aid cuts in the final few days before COP26.

“The ability of the UK to act as a genuine, trusted partner for developing countries is of crucial importance to COP26’s success.

“Further implied cuts to overseas aid at the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) would send a signal that the UK is neither committed to, nor serious about, enabling a green global recovery from the pandemic, nor improving the resilience of the most vulnerable to climate change.”

Archbishop of Canterbury urges world leaders to ‘be bolder’ at Cop26

Friday 22 October 2021 09:03 , Tom Batchelor

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged world leaders meeting for crucial Cop26 talks in Glasgow to “be bolder” as they seek to tackle the climate crisis.

Ahead of the UN climate summit being hosted by the UK, Justin Welby warned that a failure to curb dangerous climate change risked driving severe conflict around the world.

Dr Welby, who worked in the oil industry before being ordained, said the fossil fuel era was, and must be, coming to an end.

But he warned the transition away from coal, oil and gas had to be fair to poorer people in the UK and to those in developing countries.

Asked what his message to world leaders meeting for the summit would be, Dr Welby told the PA news agency: “Be bolder, be more generous, be just to the poorest.

“Make it work, it’s in all our interests and the world is behind you making it work.

“Don’t lose your nerve.”

Greenpeace chief warns of 'greenwashing' at UN climate talks

Thursday 21 October 2021 16:12 , Tom Batchelor

The head of environmental group Greenpeace on Thursday warned against efforts by countries and corporations at the forthcoming UN climate talks in Glasgow to “greenwash” their ongoing pollution of the planet.

The summit has been described as “the world’s last best chance” to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels, and is expected to see a flurry of new commitments from governments and businesses to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

But climate campaigners say behind-the-scenes lobbying before the summit could hamper efforts to achieve an ambitious deal that would ensure the world stands a chance of capping global warming at 1.5C as agreed in Paris in 2015.

“This Glasgow meeting really is a vital moment where governments need to be courageous,” said Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International.

“They need to show they’ve understood the science, listen to their people and go much further than they’ve been stating thus far, and give that kind of hope and confidence to their people that they got this and that they’re willing to do things that their corporate interests don’t want them to do,” she told The Associated Press in an interview.

Cop26 summit poised to be ‘transformational’

Thursday 21 October 2021 15:45 , Tom Batchelor

US environmentalist Tom Steyer has likened the upcoming United Nations Cop26 summit as the moment “when every country’s term paper is due” on more ambitious commitments to cut planet-heating emissions driving the climate crisis.

Speaking at an event hosted by The Independent on Tuesday, the former Democratic presidential candidate and co-executive chair of financial fund, Galvanize Climate Solutions, recalled his experiences as a veteran attendee of Cops, the UN’s annual conference of parties to tackle global climate change.

Read the full story:

Tom Steyer says Cop26 is ‘when every country’s term paper is due’

Has Joe Biden lost his climate credibility?

Thursday 21 October 2021 15:10 , Tom Batchelor

In less than two weeks, Air Force One will take off for Scotland, ferrying Joe Biden and his entourage to the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

It is a major test for the US president, who won last November’s election partly on the back of his bold vision to chart a greener future for America amid ever worsening climate extremes.

In stark contrast to the inaction and outright denial of Donald Trump, the message has been that America is “back” on climate.

But how progressive has Mr Biden been when it comes to the climate? Our senior climate correspondent, Louise Boyle, reports:

Has Joe Biden lost his climate credibility?

Green MP warns of ‘dearth of actual actions’ to meet climate targets

Thursday 21 October 2021 14:40 , Tom Batchelor

Green MP Caroline Lucas has accused the government of doing very little to meet its climate targets as she opened a debate on Cop26 and limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C.

She told MPs: “I have no problem in praising the Government’s targets, what I have problems with is looking at the fact that there is a dearth of actual actions to meet those targets. That’s what we see, again, and again.

“The Committee on climate change has itself said that there are no real plans to deliver the targets that are set and, frankly, the climate cares very little for targets, what it wants to see are the concrete policies there to meet them.”

The MP for Brighton Pavilion said the difference between her side of the House and the Conservatives is that they are imagining the country can continue with business as usual, but with “some technology just changing the technologies that we’re using to deliver business as usual”.

She added: “What we recognise is that we don’t just need behavioural change, we need systems change we need to change the kind of economic system that we have, which is a far bigger change that we’ve been talking about so far.”

Why are activists calling for Cop26 to be cancelled?

Thursday 21 October 2021 14:10 , Tom Batchelor

In September, a number of environmental groups called for the conference’s cancellation on the grounds that it will not be inclusive, arguing that coronavirus vaccine inequality around the world and expensive quarantine hotels in Glasgow will prevent “huge numbers” of delegates from the Southern Hemisphere from being able to attend.

“Our concern is that those countries most deeply affected by the climate crisis and those countries suffering from the lack of support by rich nations in providing vaccines will be left out of the talks and conspicuous in their absence at Cop26,” said Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network (CAN), a collective representing more than 1,500 civil society groups from 130 countries.

“There has always been an inherent power imbalance within the UN climate talks and this is now compounded by the health crisis.”

Greenpeace has also raised similar objections.

Why are activists calling for Cop26 to be cancelled?

Minister fails to rule out trade deals with countries that destroy rainforests

Thursday 21 October 2021 13:31 , Tom Batchelor

Britain has failed to rule out making trade deals with countries that destroy their rainforests, amid concerns it is prioritising economic growth over climate protection.

Labour pressed International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan to make the commitment in the Commons after highlighting the actions of Brazil and Malaysia.

Ms Trevelyan argued that economic growth and tackling climate challenges go “hand in hand”, although she stopped short of responding directly to Labour’s request.

Full schedule for the climate conference

Thursday 21 October 2021 13:10 , Tom Batchelor

Cop26 begins with a two-day world leaders summit followed by daily meetings on subjects from finance to nature.

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

Russia confirms Putin won’t attend summit

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:55 , Tom Batchelor

On Wednesday, Russia confirmed that President Vladimir Putin would not fly to Scotland for climate talks.

Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he would take part remotely instead.

“We need to work out in what format it will be possible (for Putin) to speak via video conference, at what moment,” Mr Peskov said. “The issues that will be discussed in Glasgow right now form one of the priorities of our foreign policy.”

Russia is warming 2.8 times faster than the global average, with the melting of Siberia’s permafrost, which covers 65 per cent of Russian landmass, releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases.

Sharma confident countries will pledge climate action before Cop26

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:40 , Tom Batchelor

Alok Sharma, the Cop26 president, has said he thinks more countries will bring forward national action plans for tackling climate change ahead of the UN talks.

Quizzed by MPs on Parliament’s Transport and Science and Technology committees on Wednesday, Mr Sharma said all of the G7 group of leading industrialised nations now had ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030.

And there had been moves by G7 countries, along with South Korea and China to end international coal financing.

“Progress has been made, but clearly there’s still more to do. We are still waiting for some of the largest emitters to come forward with their 2030 emission reduction plans,” he said.

Asked how confident he was that the ball would be returned and Cop26 would be able to land a deal that limits warming to 1.5C, he said: “I think we will see more NDCs [nationally determined contributions] coming forward.”

He also defended the gathering of around 25,000 people, many of whom will be flying in from other countries, saying it was important to have a “physical Cop” for negotiations to take place.

“Particularly for developing countries and climate vulnerable countries being able to sit at the same table face-to-face with the big emitters is really very important,” he said.

When is the UN climate conference taking place?

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:25 , Tom Batchelor

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.

When is Cop26 conference in Glasgow taking place?

G20 split over coal and 1.5C target - sources

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:10 , Tom Batchelor

G20 countries are divided over phasing out coal and committing to limit global warming to 1.5C ahead of a crucial summit in Rome next week, sources have told the Reuters news agency.

The G20 gathering on 30 and 31 October is seen as a key stepping stone ahead of Cop 26.

But big polluters such as China and India have dug in their heels and little progress has been made since G20 energy and environment ministers met in Naples in July, three sources told Reuters. They asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks.

“Countries are not moving, at the moment they are still just making sure their positions are heard loud and clear,” said one of the sources.

“Where I see the problem is in the commitment to 1.5 degrees and in the phase out of coal and fossil fuels by China, India and Russia,” said another source, a G20 minister.

Leaked document reveals countries lobbying UN to water down climate crisis response

Thursday 21 October 2021 11:55 , Tom Batchelor

Some of the world’s most-polluting countries are attempting to water down a landmark UN climate report, according to a massive leak of documents.

More than 30,000 files, obtained by Greenpeace, reveal Australia, China, Saudi Arabia and India are among the nations to have made submissions to a panel of scientists urging them to remove key phrases or downplay the need to switch away from fossil fuels.

In one instance, major beef producers Brazil and Argentina are said to have disputed assertions that the world needs to reduce its meat consumption in order to tackle climate change.

India and several eastern European countries said the draft report should be more positive about nuclear power, while Australian officials challenged the idea that coal fired power stations would need to close.

Leaked documents reveal countries lobbying UN to water down climate crisis response

India’s Modi to attend Cop26 summit

Thursday 21 October 2021 11:43 , Tom Batchelor

Narendra Modi will attend the UN climate summit in Glasgow, India’s environment minister has said, in a boost for efforts to agree steeper emissions cuts in the fight on global warming.

India is the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and Mr Modi’s participation in the event was seen as critical.

“The prime minister is going to Glasgow,” Indian Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said in an interview, adding that his country was “doing more than our fair share”.

Energy-hungry India has not yet committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, considered a vital goal in limiting global warming to 1.5C.

But India has installed more than 100 GW of renewable energy, which accounts for more than 25 per cent of overall capacity.

Thursday 21 October 2021 11:38 , Tom Batchelor

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the build-up to the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

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