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A group of 190 countries and organisations will agree to commit to the end of coal power at the Cop26 climate summit, it has been announced, in a potentially major step towards limiting global temperature increases.
The UK government announced on Wednesday night that major coal countries such as Poland and Vietnam are among the nations committing to phasing out the use of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel for the first time.
It came as an analysis by climate researchers at the University of Melbourne found that the world was “heading for 1.9C of heating” due to some of the major climate pledges already secured at the UN summit.
India’s commitment to reach net zero by 2070 was initially described as “too little too late” but number crunching by a group of climate scientists, who go by the name Climate Resource, suggests it could be better than first thought.
Meanwhile, researchers have warned that the rebound in global CO2 emissions following the start of the Covid-19 pandemic is set to be “bigger than expected”, with emissions expected to rise by 4.9 per cent this year.
Group of 190 countries and organisations agree to end coal-fired power
Rebound in global CO2 emissions after Covid ‘bigger than expected’, scientists say
Cop26 pledges bring projected warming to ‘below 2C' for first time in history
Johnson claims there are ‘opportunities’ for UK from melting ice caps
Good progress at Cop26 – but more needs to be done, Johnson tells MPs
Sunak promises to make Britain ‘world’s first net-zero-aligned financial centre’
100 nations make commitment to ‘halt and reverse’ deforestation
Biden says China not showing up at Cop26 'big mistake’
Rebound in global CO2 emissions after Covid ‘bigger than expected’, scientists say
00:05 , Conrad Duncan
The rebound in global CO2 emissions following the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has been “bigger than expected”, scientists have warned.
An assessment by the Global Carbon Project found that a return to carbon-heavy industry and investment in 2021 meant that fossil fuel emissions were expected to rise by 4.9 per cent this year following 12 months of lockdowns and a decrease in economic activity.
Our climate correspondent, Daisy Dunne, has the full story below:
Wednesday 3 November 2021 23:47 , Conrad Duncan
ICYMI: Our reporter, Harry Cockburn, has rounded-up the key achievements and agreements from Cop26 so far - including pledges to end deforestation and India’s commitment to hit net-zero by 2070.
You can find the full piece below:
Wednesday 3 November 2021 23:27 , Conrad Duncan
Former Bank of England governor Mark Carney has admitted that companies which have aligned themselves to the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5C will not be prohibited from investing in fossil fuels.
When questioned on the continued investment in fossil fuel companies, Mr Carney told Sky News: “There is not a green switch that we can flip this afternoon and move from being economies where 4/5ths of global energy is supplied by fossil fuels today and overnight be 100 per cent supplied by renewables.”
You can find his comments in full below:
"There is not a green switch that we can flip this afternoon"
Former Bank of England governor Mark Carney says companies announced today to have aligned themselves to the Paris Agreement 1.5C warming limit will not be prohibited from investing in fossil fuel companies pic.twitter.com/ymsb83KEuA
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 3, 2021
Labour warns of ‘glaring gaps’ in government’s fossil fuel pledge
Wednesday 3 November 2021 22:57 , Conrad Duncan
Labour’s shadow business secretary Ed Miliband has warned of “glaring gaps” in the government’s coal-fired power pledge, such as a lack of commitment from China and other large emitters to stop increasing coal use at home.
“Whether it's flirting with a new coal mine or licensing a massive oil field here at home, too often the government has been looking both ways on climate,” Mr Miliband said.
“Rather than driving the ambition we need, as Cop president it has let others off the hook.”
Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Osornio, head of Greenpeace's delegation at Cop26, said that the commitment was “significant” but warned more needed to be done on phasing out fossil fuels.
“Overall this statement still falls well short of the ambition needed on fossil fuels in this critical decade,” he said.
“The small print seemingly gives countries enormous leeway to pick their own phaseout date, despite the shiny headline.”
Group of 190 countries and organisations agree to end coal-fired power
Wednesday 3 November 2021 22:33 , Conrad Duncan
A group of 190 countries and organisations will agree to commit to the end of coal power at the Cop26 climate summit, the UK government has announced.
Coal-fired power is the single largest driver of global temperature increases, meaning that ending its use will be crucial for limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Our climate correspondent, Daisy Dunne, has the full story below:
Wednesday 3 November 2021 23:09 , Conrad Duncan
ICYMI: Our reporter, Harry Cockburn, has rounded-up the key achievements and agreements at Cop26 so far - including pledges to end deforestation and India’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2070.
You can find the full piece below:
Sturgeon defends ‘ambitious’ target to cut emissions by 75 per cent by 2030
Wednesday 3 November 2021 22:10 , Conrad Duncan
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has defended her country’s ambitious targets to reduce emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 at an event during Cop26.
In an interview with BBC Scotland last week, chief executive of the committee of climate change Chris Stark said that the Scottish government may have “overcooked its emission reduction targets, particularly the 75 per cent number”.
However, Ms Sturgeon defended the proposal in an interview with the New York Times climate hub, while acknowledging that the plans were “among the toughest in the world”.
The SNP leader said: “In a context of too much under-ambition, if I am going to be criticised on the climate challenge, I'd rather be criticised on being over ambitious than under ambitious, because, even if our determination is to meet that 75 per cent target by 2030, but say we only get to 70 or 72 or 73, that's probably further than we would have got had we only set a target of a 60 per cent reduction let's say.
“I think the whole world needs to challenge itself to get to where we need to be much quicker and to go much further.”
She added: “The science is telling us we are running out of time and the planet is in serious trouble, and if we don't limit global warming to 1.5C the impact is catastrophic.
“We have an obligation to raise our ambition as much as we possibly can.”
Large corporations launch alliance to build market for low-carbon technologies
Wednesday 3 November 2021 21:51 , Conrad Duncan
A new alliance, including US climate envoy John Kerry and large corporations such as Apple and Amazon, has been launched today to build a market for technologies that generate low levels of carbon dioxide.
The World Economic Forum said on Wednesday that the First Movers Coalition will aim to help companies set their purchasing plans in a way that will “create new market demand for low-carbon technologies”.
“Technology has given us the tools to reduce our emissions and build a stronger and more inclusive economy of the future,” forum president Borge Brende said.
“For innovators and investors to play their part in tackling the climate crisis, they need clear market demand.”
Among the other companies involved in the coalition are aerospace company Boeing, cement company Holcim, and vehicle makers Volvo and Scania.
The first phase of the project will focus on emissions-heavy industries like aviation, shipping, steel and trucking.
ICYMI: Cop26 pledges could limit global heating to below 2C, snap analysis finds
Wednesday 3 November 2021 21:36 , Conrad Duncan
Pledges put forward at the Cop26 climate summit could put the world on track for under 2C of global heating for the first time, according to analysis by climate researchers.
The assessment found that, if kept, the new short and long-term climate promises announced in recent weeks and during the summit could keep temperature rises to 1.9C.
Our climate correspondent, Daisy Dunne, has the full story below:
‘Very tough’ negotiations needed for necessary climate action, David Miliband says
Wednesday 3 November 2021 21:19 , Conrad Duncan
Former foreign secretary David Miliband has said that there will need to be some “very tough” negotiations over the next 10 days in order to get the necessary action on the climate crisis from world leaders.
Mr Miliband, who is the CEO of the International Rescue Committee, warned that leaders would be “betraying future generations” by not taking tough action on climate change.
“I think the announcements today in respect of so-called climate finance, including from the private sector, are important and that’s what leads me to describe the current state of negotiations in Glasgow as a glass quarter full,” Mr Miliband said.
“It’s wrong to say nothing has been achieved but there needs to be some very tough talking over the next 10 days and then real action from those who are willing to lead.”
You can find his comments in full below:
David Miliband explains that the current state of negotiations at COP26 is “a glass quarter full” and says there needs to be “very tough talking” over the next 10 days of the summit.
Get the latest #COP26 news: https://t.co/gZWFgDXThA pic.twitter.com/QGpb9DxbJE
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 3, 2021
Put Africa’s carbon sinks at heart of climate fightback, Cop26 told
Wednesday 3 November 2021 20:58 , Conrad Duncan
The battle against climate change can only be won if Africa’s carbon-rich landscapes are protected for future generations, delegates at the Cop26 climate summit have been told.
At an event co-staged by The Independent, attendees were warned by leading African politicians that the continent must be at the heart of the global climate fight.
Our reporter, Louise Boyle, has the full story below:
UK’s Cop26 spokesperson says ministers would like China to ‘do more’ on climate
Wednesday 3 November 2021 20:45 , Conrad Duncan
The UK’s Cop26 spokesperson Allegra Stratton has said that the British government would like to see China “do more” on climate change following questions around the country’s use of fossil fuels.
When pushed on whether China was doing enough to keep global warming below 1.5C, Ms Stratton told Sky News: “We would like China to do more.
“The prime minister has said that, Alok Sharma has said that but what we are also seeing here in Glasgow is significant progress.”
You can find her comments in full below:
The UK’s COP26 Spokesperson, Allegra Stratton says the government “would like China to do more” to tackle climate change but believes there has been “significant progress”.
Get the latest #COP26 news: https://t.co/gZWFgDXThA pic.twitter.com/L2o8zsggdn
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 3, 2021
Arrests made as hundreds of climate protesters march through Glasgow
Wednesday 3 November 2021 20:22 , Conrad Duncan
Five people have been arrested during lively protests involving Extinction Rebellion in Glasgow today as the Cop26 summit continues.
Hundreds of climate activists were seen marching through the city in several separate protests, while world leaders discussed how the financial and banking system could be used to tackle the climate crisis.
Our reporter, Lamiat Sabin, has the full story below:
Government’s nuclear plans could leave ‘toxic legacy’, says MP
Wednesday 3 November 2021 20:02 , Lamiat Sabin
Moving away from Glasgow for a brief moment, MPs in Westminster are warning that the government’s proposal to establish new nuclear power plants would leave a “toxic legacy” for future generations.
The new nuclear power plants, bankrolled by pension funds, could reduce the UK’s “exposure to volatile global gas prices” – business minister Greg Hands said in the Commons to promote the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill.
The proposed legislation aims to allow pension funds and other institutional investors to provide cash for nuclear power stations through a regulated asset base funding (Rab) model.
Consumers would also pay towards the cost of new nuclear power stations during construction through their energy bills – which Mr Hands said would be around £1 a month on average.
Liberal Democrat business spokeswoman Sarah Olney urged ministers to think about the “considerable downsides of nuclear waste”.
She spoke about a visit to the former nuclear power station at Sellafield last year, saying: “I found it so eye-opening about the consequences of dealing with nuclear waste.
“What is still the considerable time and effort and money that is being spent now disposing of nuclear waste that was generated in the 1970s before I was born.
“That for me was just extraordinary and it really brought home to me the absolutely toxic legacy, literally toxic legacy, we are leaving for future generations when we create nuclear waste.”
Ms Olney said the Lib Dems’ position was that no new nuclear plants should be built as the UK decarbonises its energy supply.
DiCaprio and Prince Charles view sustainable fashion
Wednesday 3 November 2021 19:45 , Lamiat Sabin
Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince Charles met at Cop26 and learned about Stella McCartney’s sustainable fashion collection – including luxury handbags made from vegan lab-grown mushroom leather.
They were separately given a guided tour by the designer of her innovative garments and accessories dubbed the “Future of Fashion”.
In Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery, DiCaprio looked at McCartney’s seemingly normal luxury handbags made from the mushroom leather, and vegan football boots she created in collaboration with Manchester United star Paul Pogba and Adidas.
He left the main hall where the exhibition was in before Prince Charles arrived. After the prince viewed the items, he was introduced to him in a quiet area of the gallery.
DiCaprio was a guest of McCartney’s and the three spoke together for around 10 minutes before Prince Charles left and the designer joined a live discussion with industry experts about stopping the use of animal leather and fur.
McCartney said the Hollywood actor appeared “gobsmacked” more designers were not “joining forces” with her push for sustainability and ditching leather for eco-friendly materials.
DiCaprio has worked on a number of documentaries about animal poaching and the environment, and was appointed a United Nations representative on climate change in 2014.
No need to reduce cattle to cut methane emissions, farmers say
Wednesday 3 November 2021 19:25 , Lamiat Sabin
Farmers are pushing back against Cop26’s global agreement to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by the end of the decade.
The National Farmers’ Union said that there is no need to reduce the size of cattle herds to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas.
Changes to farming practices and new technology will deliver the cuts needed to meet the pledge at the summit this week, it argued.
The farmers said that moving away from keeping livestock for beef and dairy would see the UK offshoring its emissions to countries with lower environmental standards.
The NFU said supplements to cattle feed, as well as attempts to breed livestock that emit less of the gas, will solve the problem.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that more than 100 countries – including the UK – have signed up to the global methane pledge, which if delivered, could curb warming by 0.3C by the 2040s.
Livestock farming, mainly of cattle, accounted for just over half of the UK’s methane emissions in 2019, according to government data.
Methane remains in the atmosphere for only around a decade, but is more powerful than CO2 which stays around for hundreds of years.
Cop26 urges sports organisations to meet net-zero targets
Wednesday 3 November 2021 19:07 , Conrad Duncan
Cop26 has urged sports organisations and teams around the world to meet the environmental targets they have signed up to as part of efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, the NFL, the NBA and the New York Yankees are among nearly 300 signatories to the Sports for Climate Action Framework (S4CA) since the Paris climate agreement was reached in 2015.
“These organisations are now being challenged to reduce emissions 50 per cent by 2030 at the latest and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040,” Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said at the conference in Glasgow.
Members of S4CA also “commit to submitting plans to outline concrete actions that will be taken to implement 2030 targets” and publish annual updates, the UN said.
FIFA later confirmed its pledge to the goals, and has committed - together with tournament organisers in Qatar - to staging a carbon-neutral World Cup next year.
Poorer nations need funding for ‘alternatives’ to unsustainable industries, official says
Wednesday 3 November 2021 18:49 , Conrad Duncan
People in poorer countries must be offered alternative ways to make a living if they are to move towards more sustainable industries and practices, the executive director of the Green Climate Fund has said.
“It is very difficult to ask people to basically stop an activity that is a source of livelihood, if you don’t provide an alternative,” Yannick Glemarec told Sky News on Wednesday.
“So if you want to basically foster certain types of practices, you have to provide economic incentives.”
You can find his comments in full below:
“It is very difficult to ask people to basically stop an activity that is a source of livelihood, if you don’t provide an alternative.”
Yannick Glemarec explains the need to help people in poorer nations find greener ways of making money.#COP26: https://t.co/3cffo9MnYe pic.twitter.com/E9c4sqY5Y5
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 3, 2021
LA mayor tests positive for Covid at Cop26
Wednesday 3 November 2021 18:28 , Conrad Duncan
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who is on a trip to the UN’s Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, has tested positive for Covid-19 today, according to his office.
“He is feeling good and isolating in his hotel room. He is fully vaccinated,” the mayor's office said in a post on Mr Garcetti's Twitter account.
Mayor Garcetti tested positive for COVID-19 earlier today.
He is feeling good and isolating in his hotel room. He is fully vaccinated.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) November 3, 2021
ICYMI: US backs new effort to issue green bonds, treasury secretary says
Wednesday 3 November 2021 18:17 , Conrad Duncan
The US has announced that it is supporting a new capital market mechanism that will issue investment-grade bonds and raise significant new finance for scaling clean energy and sustainable infrastructure in emerging economies.
Treasury secretary Janet Yellen told Cop26 on Wednesday that the US would join the UK in backing the Climate Investment Funds' (CIF) new Capital Market Mechanism.
CIF was established in 2008 to mobilise resources and investments in low- and middle-income countries.
It has drawn some $10.5bn in pledges from 14 contributor countries and leveraged $61bn in funding from other sources for projects that have benefited 72 countries to date.
“The climate crisis is already here. This is not a challenge for future generations, but one we must confront today,” Ms Yellen told the conference.
“Rising to this challenge will require the wholesale transformation of our carbon-intensive economies.”
She added that getting to net-zero emissions was expected to cost between $100 trillion and $150 trillion over the next three decades, but doing so would also offer enormous opportunities for growth and investment.
Wednesday 3 November 2021 17:58 , Conrad Duncan
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has received a gift this afternoon from US president Joe Biden to commemorate the Cop26 conference - you can see it below:
First Minister @NicolaSturgeon is delighted to have received, on behalf of the people of Scotland, a gift from President Biden. She was also pleased to welcome @POTUS to Glasgow, and looks forward to him returning to Scotland in future. #COP26 pic.twitter.com/wY3wtq5rfg
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) November 3, 2021
Ireland’s PM accused of ‘cop out’ on commitments before ‘ink is dry’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 17:48 , Conrad Duncan
Ireland’s prime minister Micheal Martin has been accused of a “cop out” on climate commitments made at Cop26 before “the ink is dry on the agreement”.
At the climate conference in Glasgow this week, Ireland signed up to a global pledge to limit methane emissions by 30 per cent compared with 2020 levels but the country’s government has indicated that the pledge will not be included in its forthcoming carbon budgets.
Speaking during Leaders' Questions in the Dail on Wednesday, Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shorthall questioned if the government's actions on the climate crisis would meet its rhetoric.
“The omens are not good, it has to be said,” Ms Shorthall said.
“Yesterday you said Ireland would sign a pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent, before hastily adding that this was a global target and not a national one.
“We hear the climate action plan contains a target of just 10 per cent reduction and the Tanaiste also used this 10 per cent figure yesterday.
“Can you explain the purpose of publicly signing up to a 30 per cent reduction target, when it seems you have no intention of even attempting to achieve that?”
Responding, Mr Martin insisted that the Cop26 agreement on methane was a global target, towards which individual countries would have to contribute, as he claimed Ms Shorthall was being “somewhat disingenuous”.
“Read the pledge. Read what people have signed up to. It is a global pledge,” Mr Martin said.
“So globally, collectively, in different ways and through different mechanisms, countries who sign up will contribute to that overall 30 per cent global reduction in methane.”
Cop26 organisers criticised for menu mostly made up of meat, fish and dairy
Wednesday 3 November 2021 17:33 , Conrad Duncan
The organisers of Cop26 have been criticised for serving a menu that is comprised of mostly meat, dairy and fish at this year’s international summit on tackling the climate crisis.
UK ministers have previously said that 95 per cent of the food served at the 13-day event would be sourced from the UK, with 80 per cent coming from Scotland.
Our reporter, Saman Javed, has the full story below:
Wednesday 3 November 2021 17:19 , Conrad Duncan
Our reporter, Jon Sharman, has taken a look below at why Madagascar is facing the world’s first climate-induced famine and what the crisis means for the country:
Activists occupy Glasgow building to offer accommodation for Cop26 delegates
Wednesday 3 November 2021 17:04 , Conrad Duncan
A group of activists have occupied a building in Glasgow to offer accommodation for Cop26 delegates who have struggled to find somewhere to stay.
Part of the Hamish Allan Centre on the city's south side has been taken over and re-purposed to house people who organisers say have been forced to sleep in the city's parks during the climate summit following sky-rocketing accommodation prices.
“We have spent several days restoring the building to habitability, so we are now ready to offer support and solidarity to all those needing accommodation during the summit,” a statement on the group's Facebook page, attributed to one of the organisers known only as Betty, said.
“We are aware of activists, including indigenous elders, who have been sleeping outside due to a lack of available shelter.”
The activists said that the occupation would last for the duration of the summit, when the building would be cleaned and re-secured.
They have also called on first minister Nicola Sturgeon, in whose constituency the building is located, to offer support for the action.
“Given the current housing crisis in the UK, buildings should not be left empty while people in our communities are sleeping on the streets due to unaffordable, exploitative rent and opportunistic AirBnB hosts,” they said.
“We hope to provide a hearty Glaswegian welcome as the concerned people of the world present a sustainable alternative to the lip-service, half-measures and inevitable climate chaos proposed by the G20 nations.”
Greta Thunberg mocks greenwashing with pledge to go ‘net-zero on swear words’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 16:52 , Conrad Duncan
Greta Thunberg has pledged to go “net-zero on swear words” in a jibe about the use of carbon offsetting by companies and individuals.
The 18-year-old campaigner said that “in the event that I should say something inappropriate I pledge to compensate that by saying something nice” - a reference to those who say they are being environmentally-friendly because they offset the carbon they are emitting.
Our reporter, Holly Bancroft, has the full story below:
Sturgeon says Scotland and London should be ‘partners’ on climate action
Wednesday 3 November 2021 16:34 , Conrad Duncan
Scotland and London have more to gain from being partners rather than competitors on issues such as climate change, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Speaking at a Scottish government event in Glasgow alongside London mayor Sadiq Khan, Ms Sturgeon insisted that the skills in the capital and north of the border were “complementary”.
The event - a green investment showcase hosted by Scottish Enterprise chief executive Adrian Gillespie - was held as Cop26 delegates discussed how private finance can contribute to reaching net zero on the summit's “finance day”.
“There is often a perception that Scotland and London are rivals and competitors, and of course every now and again, like any two cities, that may well be the case, but in general and in particular on [climate change] we are far more likely to be partners,” Scotland’s first minister said.
“We stand to gain much more by working together as partners than by focusing on being competitors.
“That's because our strengths are, in many ways, complementary and we have both set very ambitious targets for reaching net zero.”
She added: “Scotland and London will benefit from working in partnership on this issue and on many other issues besides, and I look forward to discussing that with the mayor today but also in more detail in the weeks, months and years to come.”
Johnson claims there are ‘opportunities’ for UK from melting ice caps
Wednesday 3 November 2021 16:15 , Conrad Duncan
Boris Johnson has claimed that the melting of ice caps presents “opportunities” for the UK, shocking environmentalists as he hosts the Cop26 summit on climate change.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson said that “the retreat of the ice towards the North Pole” could open up new sea routes that would benefit Scottish ports.
Our reporter, Jon Stone, has the full story below:
‘Like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’: Campaigners highlight meat on Cop menus
Wednesday 3 November 2021 16:02 , Tom Batchelor
Campaigners have called out Cop organisers for the amount of meat and dairy on offer to delegates in the various food providers on site.
Restaurants at Cop26 had won praise for including a carbon count on their menu. But the number of meaty meals has drawn criticism.
Joel Scott-Halkes, a spokesperson for campaign group Animal Rebellion, told the Big Issue magazine: “The utterly reckless inclusion of meat, seafood and dairy on the Cop26 catering menu is a damning indictment of the UK government’s utter failure to grasp the root cause of the climate crisis.
“It’s like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference. As long as such illogical decisions are being made, the climate emergency will never be resolved.”
Bill Gates calls for ‘Green industrial revolution’ to beat climate crisis
Wednesday 3 November 2021 15:52 , Tom Batchelor
Ex-Microsoft CEO and philanthropist Bill Gates on Tuesday said the world needs a “green industrial revolution” to encourage development of technologies to halt climate change.
Speaking to attendees at the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, Mr Gates said his foundation will contribute $315m in grants to CGIAR, the research organisation formerly known as the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research.
Read the story in full here:
Financial Conduct Authority proposes shakeup for finance firms to tackle 'greenwashing’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 15:43 , Tom Batchelor
The UK’s markets watchdog has put forward a plan to improve the labelling of financial products that claim to be climate-friendly in a bid to help consumers go green.
Addressing claims of greenwashing or exaggerated green credentials by some businesses, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said common labelling standards should apply, or else there was a risk people would become confused by the array of choices.
Investors currently face interchangeable uses of key sustainable finance and ethical terms, and the lack of agreed definitions, the watchdog said.
“Certain investment products will be required to display a label reflecting their sustainability characteristics,” the FCA said in a discussion paper to coincide with the UN summit in Glasgow.
Firm proposals will be published for public consultation in the second quarter of next year.
Cop26 pledges could limit global heating to 1.9C, snap analysis finds
Wednesday 3 November 2021 15:36 , Tom Batchelor
More on the analysis which suggests Cop26 pledges could limit global heating to 1.9C.
A UN review published ahead of Cop26 found that countries’ climate commitments would cause around 2.7C of global heating, far above the Paris goals.
But the new assessment says that, if kept, new short and long-term climate promises put forward in recent weeks and during the summit itself could keep temperatures to 1.9C.
The climate scientist behind the report, Prof Malte Meinshausen from the University of Melbourne, said there was a “huge, huge ‘if’” which was whether the pledges were implemented with actual domestic policies.
Read the full story here:
What has been achieved and agreed by leaders at the climate summit?
Wednesday 3 November 2021 15:24 , Tom Batchelor
The announcements and agreements are coming thick and fast, so to help you stay on top of what’s going on and what matters, The Independent is keeping track of all the major developments at the conference.
The main goal of Cop26 – and it’s unofficial strapline – is to “keep 1.5 alive”, meaning countries must commit to reducing world fossil fuel emissions to net zero by 2050 – the date by which the UN has said further emissions will mean global average temperatures will rise at least 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Here is our guide to the commitments made up to this point:
What is Mark Carney’s Gfanz?
Wednesday 3 November 2021 15:10 , Tom Batchelor
Around 450 financial institutions, with around 40 per cent of the world’s assets on their books, have signed up to the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (Gfanz).
The institutions control around 130 trillion dollars, more than the 100 trillion dollars that is needed to meet the 2050 net zero target, according to former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.
But who is in the alliance, and what is it trying to do? Here is a brief guide compiled by the Press Association.
What is Gfanz?
Launched in April this year, Gfanz is led by former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.
Since its early days Gfanz has grown to more than 450 financial firms from 45 countries.
Bosses from NatWest, Aviva, the London Stock Exchange and HSBC are among the 20 members of the Gfanz Principals Group, which sets the alliance’s direction.
What is Gfanz trying to do?
The alliance will work towards helping the transition to net zero - that is to say, cutting emissions so much that what little is left can be absorbed again after being emitted.
Its first target is to get more members, and it will also put an early focus on three key sectors - aviation, steel, and oil and gas - and will work with companies in these areas.
Members of the alliance will make it clear to their customers what strings will be attached to the loans they give, the investments they make, and the insurance they provide.
Who can enter?
Financial firms that want to join the club must sign up to science-based guidelines to reach net zero emissions by 2050, have interim targets for the end of this decade for their fair share of a 50 per cent decarbonisation target, and report on their progress.
They must also publish a net-zero transition strategy and adhere to strict rules on what emissions they can offset.
What has Gfanz done so far?
Over 90 institutions came together to set up the group earlier this year, and have since set short-term targets.
This is important because getting to net zero by 2050 will also require the world to make step changes along the way.
Gfanz said that 29 of its asset owners plan to reduce emissions from their investments by 25 per cent to 30 per cent by 2025. It added that 43 asset managers have published targets for 2030 or sooner.
‘Clean, green aviation’ likely to happen before Heathrow Airport expansion, says PM
Wednesday 3 November 2021 14:53 , Tom Batchelor
Boris Johnson has predicted “clean, green aviation” is likely to happen before a third runway is built at Heathrow Airport.
The PM’s remarks cast further doubt on the expansion of the west London hub.
Here is the story:
DiCaprio meets Prince Charles at Stella McCartney show
Wednesday 3 November 2021 14:43 , Tom Batchelor
Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has met with Prince Charles during the third full day of Cop26.
The two men were pictured speaking alongside designer Stella McCartney – all of whom were maskless – at a fashion installation by the designer hosted by the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
XR protesters march through Glasgow
Wednesday 3 November 2021 14:37 , Tom Batchelor
Hundreds of protesters are marching through Glasgow as part of an Extinction Rebellion demonstration around the Cop26 summit, reports PA.
The march set off from Buchanan Street steps just after midday.
After being held at a police cordon on Sauchiehall Street, the march turned back on itself and moved down West Nile Street, before moving down through other parts of the city centre.
Traffic was stopped in several streets as demonstrators made their way through.
Police Scotland given electric motorbikes for Cop
Wednesday 3 November 2021 14:27 , Tom Batchelor
Police Scotland have been given six all-electric motorbikes to use during the Cop26 summit.
Superintendent Darren Faulds, of the force’s roads policing unit, said: “Where possible we have taken measures to ensure that Cop26 is policed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.”
The vehicles are Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorbikes. Sup Int Faulds added: “Our work to improve our sustainability has been enhanced thanks to the support of Harley-Davidson, and we welcome these electric motorcycles as an addition to our existing road policing assets to help with the delivery of a safe and secure event.”
US Treasury secretary: ‘Addressing climate change is the greatest economic opportunity of our time'
Wednesday 3 November 2021 14:19 , Tom Batchelor
Janet Yellen, the US Treasury secretary, has said climate change is a huge opportunity for businesses.
“The old notions of why the private sector should decarbonise because the planet must be put before profit are no longer universally true,” she said.
“Green technologies have cost curves that continue to plunge, in many cases it is simply cost-effective to go green.
“Addressing climate change is the greatest economic opportunity of our time.”
She made the comment as finance ministers met in Glasgow on Wednesday following the meetings between world leaders on Monday and Tuesday.
Australian woman screams at Leonardo DiCaprio about fracking on indigenous land
Wednesday 3 November 2021 14:10 , Tom Batchelor
An Australian woman screamed at Leonardo DiCaprio about fracking on indigenous people’s lands as he arrived at the Cop26 conference in Glasgow this week.
The 46-year-old Hollywood star attended the second day of Cop26, the global United Nations summit on climate crisis.
Read the full story here:
Suank’s pledge ‘greenwashing if it’s not legally binding'
Wednesday 3 November 2021 13:59 , Tom Batchelor
Today’s announcement that global firms in control of $130 trillion of financial assets have committed to align themselves to the Paris Climate Agreement 1.5C warming limit are doomed to fail unless governments bring in strong laws to hold them to their word, international NGO Global Witness has warned.
“Banks and financiers are the lifeblood of the fossil fuel companies and destructive agribusinesses fuelling the climate crisis - so it’s right that focus should be on them at Cop26,” said Veronica Oakeshott, Head of Forests Policy and Advocacy at Global Witness.
“However, today’s announcement by banks risks amounting to more greenwashing if it’s not legally binding.”
She added: “To achieve a liveable planet and stay within 1.5 degrees, we need no new fossil fuels and an end to all deforestation.
“Any net zero approach by finance or governments that ignores the crucial role of forests is not fit for purpose.”
Johnson challenged over APD cut
Wednesday 3 November 2021 13:53 , Tom Batchelor
Boris Johnson has been challenged on plans to cut air passenger duty for short-haul domestic flights as Cop26 takes place.
Labour MP Janet Daby, who represents Lewisham East, asked: “Does the prime minister believe like I do that it is important to encourage more people to use rail instead of other carbon-intensive transport methods and if so why is he cutting duty on domestic flights? And will he now rethink this decision?”
The PM replied: “There is a very clear climate reason for putting up duty on long-haul because that accounts for 96 per cent of the emissions, and in the case of our own United Kingdom with its far flung islands represented by some distinguished members on the benches opposite, it is a useful thing to remove barriers to movement.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford could be heard shouting across the chamber in response that the Highlands and Islands are already exempt from air passenger duty.
Evgeny Lebedev: Africa’s natural landscapes hold the key to solving our climate crisis
Wednesday 3 November 2021 13:41 , Tom Batchelor
Lord Lebedev and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta discuss Africa's role in stopping climate change
Wednesday 3 November 2021 13:26 , Tom Batchelor
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Lord Lebedev are convening at Cop26 to discuss the global importance of protecting Africa’s carbon-rich natural landscapes.
The high-level event will discuss how private and public sector investment in these crucial carbon sinks is vital to combatting the climate crisis.
It is being staged by the Republic of Kenya and The Independent along with the international conservation NGO Space for Giants, which created the Giants Club forum, bringing together leadership to support nature conservation in Africa.
Watch the event live here:
Cop delegate ‘quarantining after Covid case’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 13:23 , Tom Batchelor
An unconfirmed report suggests a delegate at Cop has caught Covid, causing a team of attendees to have to self isolate.
A Cop26 spokesperson said they would not comment on individuals cases but said “rigorous Covid mitigation measures” were in place.
The spokesperson told The Independent: “Everyone’s safety and security at COP26 is of the utmost importance - we have worked closely with public health authorities to put rigorous Covid mitigation measures in place.
“Delegates are required to take daily lateral flow tests before gaining entrance to the venue. Anybody who develops symptoms, or receives a positive test, must self-isolate immediately and we have systems in place to support this.”
The EU finance negotiations team is quarantined? One member unfortunately has got Covid-19? #COP26 #climatechange. Damn its a tough ask of all those in attendance and tougher for diplomats doing this crazy amount of work online.
— Nitin Sethi (@nit_set) November 2, 2021
Blackford condemns govt for failing to make climate pledges ‘unconditional’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 13:10 , Sam Hancock
Back to the Commons now. Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, has asked Boris Johnson why the commitments from G20 nations always seem to “come with a catch”.
Blackford says the UK’s pledges announced on Monday come with the caveat that they will only be fulfilled “if the UK economy grows as projected”, and says the UK government should follow the lead of the Scottish government in making the pledges unconditional.
He cites the government’s “despicable” cut to foreign aid as reason for why this kind of strategy doesn’t work.
Johnson agrees more needs to be done on climate finance, and adds the UK is putting £11.6bn towards the $100bn annual target.
Madagascar on brink of world’s ‘first climate-induced famine’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 13:02 , Sam Hancock
The drought-stricken island nation of Madagascar is a “wake up call” to what the world can expect in coming years due to climate change, the head of the United Nations food aid agency said on Tuesday.
David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, told the AP news agency in an interview that what’s happening in the south of the Indian Ocean country is “the beginning of what we can expect” to see as the effects of global warming become more pronounced.
“Madagascar was heartbreaking,” Mr Beasley said, referring to his recent visit there. “It’s just desperate”, with people reduced to selling their household pots and pans to try to buy food, he said.
Read the full report here:
Good progress at Cop26 – but more needs to be done, says PM
Wednesday 3 November 2021 12:53 , Sam Hancock
The PM says “far more still needs to be done to spare humanity from catastrophic climate change”. He adds that for some island states, the negotiations are a matter of national survival.
Johnson says good progress has been made at Cop26 so far, and that nations making up 90 per cent of the world economy are now committed to net zero - “up from 30 per cent two years ago”.
But he ends with a warning: “Whether we can summon the collective wisdom and will to save ourselves from an avoidable disaster still hangs in the balance.”
Boris gives Cop26 update to Commons: ‘Time to turn words into actions’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 12:46 , Sam Hancock
Boris Johnson is now making a statement to Parliament about the progress at Cop26.
“This is the moment when we must turn words into action,” he says, echoing the Queen’s words on Monday.
“If we fail then Paris will have failed, and every summit going back to Rio in 1992 will have failed,” he told MPs in the Commons.
Climate crisis no longer a ‘politically controversial’ issue – Davie
Wednesday 3 November 2021 12:30 , Sam Hancock
BBC director-general Tim Davie said climate change was no longer a “politically controversial” issue and the pledge did not infringe its impartiality.
During a panel attended by media leaders as part of Cop26, he said:
“The overwhelming consensus is that we as humanity are causing global warming. There are voices on the fringes but in my view when it comes to due impartiality for the BBC we are now at a point where we have consensus around that.
“But then you do get into political debate around policy, speed of change, the social consequences - there is tough stuff to debate and we will do that as the BBC.”
Police seize giant inflatable Loch Ness at Cop26
Wednesday 3 November 2021 12:16 , Sam Hancock
Police have “seized” an inflatable Loch Ness monster that anti-poverty campaigners had hoped to float on the River Clyde as finance ministers meet at Cop26.
Jubilee Debt Campaign had planned to launch the inflatable on the water to highlight that there is “no climate justice without debt justice”, which it said means cancelling lower income countries’ debt and providing climate finance without creating new debt.
However the group said police arrived at Govan Graving Docks in Glasgow at around 7am and prevented them from moving it.
The inflatable Nessie, dubbed the Loch Ness Debt Monster, is around four metres tall, eight metres long and three metres wide, and the group said it represents the growing threat of climate debt burdens for lower income countries.
Pictures taken by the group show police officers surrounding the monster, while campaigners held signs saying “drop the debt monster” and “climate justice now”.
Finance ministers are meeting in Glasgow on Wednesday at the SEC, which is located beside the River Clyde, following the meetings between world leaders earlier in the week.
At 7:00AM this morning Glasgow police seized an inflatable Loch Ness Monster under section 20 of the police and fire reform act. The stunt being organised by anti-poverty group, Jubilee Debt Campaign, aimed to highlight that there is no climate justice without debt justice pic.twitter.com/z4czr2XtMC
— huck (@HUCKmagazine) November 3, 2021
Protesters challenge Sunak over ‘tax breaks for fossil fuel companies'
Wednesday 3 November 2021 12:06 , Tom Batchelor
We just challenged Rishi on why he is subsidising fossil fuel companies. Not only did he refuse to answer us, he then banned us - the only young people in the room - from his talk.
Is he that scared of young people asking him questions?
PS watch until the end 🔥 @IYCM #COP26 pic.twitter.com/cApvaOScYH
— Fatima-Zahra Ibrahim (@fortuashla) November 3, 2021
Insulate Britain activists to appear in court over M25 protest
Wednesday 3 November 2021 12:03 , Tom Batchelor
Nine Insulate Britain supporters have been summoned to appear at the High Court in London on 16 November accused of breaching the National Highways injunction by blocking traffic on the M25.
They face a charge of contempt of court and if found guilty could be subject to unlimited fines, seizure of assets and prison sentences of up to two years.
A further 23 Insulate Britain supporters are expected to be summoned to court in the coming days, bringing the total to at least 32 people who are due to face contempt of court proceedings.
Theresa Norton, 62, a local councillor from Scarborough, who disrupted traffic on the M56 motorway on Tuesday, said: “I don’t do this lightly. But, like the nine who face court and a potential prison sentence, I have to stand up to government bullying; to overcome the fear they instill through threats and intimidating legal bureaucracy. They would rather silence us, than protect the public from climate collapse.
“If we are ever to achieve our climate commitments we need to start insulating homes now. I will continue being a part of this campaign and risk being imprisoned or losing my home until our government accepts that it must get on with the job.”
Paul, 46 from Warrington who also took part in yesterday’s M56 disruption, said: “I am knowingly breaking a high court injunction by sitting in a road, as the courts in this country are no longer about justice, but are about preserving injustice. Our government will lock us up and leave thousands of people dying of cold this winter.
“I ask everyone to examine their conscience and consider whether they want to be complicit in genocide. If the answer is no, then join us on the motorway. Nonviolent civil resistance is the best chance we have of achieving the changes we need to ensure the survival of our children.”
Cop26 pledges bring projected warming to below 2C for first time in history, says climate group
Wednesday 3 November 2021 11:46 , Tom Batchelor
The climate pledges secured at Cop26 would bring the world’s projected temperature rise to below 2C for the first time ever, an environmental group has said.
Climate Resource said that if all nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and long-term pledges were fulfilled and adequately supported, the best-estimate peak warming for this century would be 1.9C.
“This is still a far stretch from halting warming around 1.5C, but substantially improved over projections from just a fewweeks ago,” the organisation said.
The major changes that bring projected warming below 2C are China’s new NDC and India’s new announcementat Cop26, both featuring net-zero emission targets by 2060 and 2070, respectively, Climate Resource said.
ClientEarth warns UK risks ‘undermining its green finance leadership'
Wednesday 3 November 2021 11:36 , Tom Batchelor
Following the chancellor’s announcement that the UK will become the first net-zero financial capital, James Thornton, founding CEO of environmental law charity ClientEarth said: “The Treasury should require all companies to set out how they will adapt to a low carbon future. Limiting these plans to UK-listed firms misses a key opportunity. Every company, regardless of size, will need to play its part in this transition.
“The UK market is still hooked on fossil fuels. It remains easy for carbon-intensive companies to list on the London Stock Exchange. If this is not urgently addressed, the UK risks undermining its green finance leadership and acting in a manner detrimental to investors’ interests.
“Establishing a Taskforce to guard against greenwashing could be the stick needed to ensure net zero plans by companies actually hold up in practice. Far too often, net zero commitments and Paris-aligned plans lack detail about how companies will actually reduce their emissions and address climate risk.”
Greta Thunberg goes ‘net-zero on swear words and bad language'
Wednesday 3 November 2021 11:19 , Tom Batchelor
Cimate activist Greta Thunberg has pledged to go “net-zero on swear words and bad language” after her use of the word “arse” was seized upon by right-leaning newspapers.
In an apparently mocking reference to the coverage, she wrote:
I am pleased to announce that I’ve decided to go net-zero on swear words and bad language. In the event that I should say something inappropriate I pledge to compensate that by saying something nice. #COP26
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 3, 2021
WWF welcomes net zero finance plan
Wednesday 3 November 2021 11:14 , Tom Batchelor
Katie White, executive director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF, welcomed the chancellor’s announcement that the UK will be the first net zero financial centre.
She said: “This is a big step – the chancellor has shown real leadership by mandating the UK’s financial institutions and listed companies to publish science-based transition plans.
“A thriving economy relies on a healthy planet, and this should be a wake-up call for the 80 per cent of FTSE 100 firms yet to publish credible climate plans.
“The UK can’t keep its climate promises without swift action from companies, as they are responsible for two thirds of the UK’s climate emissions.
“Only science-based transition plans will keep us below 1.5C of warming and these must have short-term targets to spur action now.”
Firms can still invest in coal under Rishi Sunak’s ‘green finance’ plan, minister admits
Wednesday 3 November 2021 10:50 , Tom Batchelor
Banks and pension funds will still be able to invest in coal power under Rishi Sunak’s plans to force them to go green, a Treasury minister has admitted.
John Glen said the chancellor’s initiative – one of the key announcements at the Cop26 summit – would give people “confidence” that finance is behind the shift to net zero carbon emissions.
But, asked if firms could be given “the new green gold standard” and still invest in new coal production, he replied: “Yes, that will be possible.”
More on the story here:
‘We don’t allow them to keep spewing out more nonsense and let it go unchallenged'
Wednesday 3 November 2021 10:41 , Tom Batchelor
A coalition of groups, including the Corporate Europe Observatory, Green New Deal Rising and the UK Youth Climate Coalition have staged a protest near the entrance to the Glasgow conference centre.
They are demonstrating against what they say was “greenwashing” in parliament last week and at Cop. They argue that climate was absent from the chancellor’s Budget.
Philip Wheeler, of Food and Water Watch, said: “Voice of dissent is important and we don’t allow them to keep spewing out more nonsense and let it go unchallenged. The problem is the evidence doesn’t match the rhetoric.”
Sunak’s net zero pledge is ‘huge’, says finance expert
Wednesday 3 November 2021 10:24 , Tom Batchelor
Responding to the chancellor’s pledge to make the UK a centre for net zero finance, Dr Ben Caldecott, Director of the Oxford-based UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) said: “This is huge. The world’s largest international financial centre will become the world’s first net zero-aligned financial centre.
“This is underpinned by world-leading regulation and the economy-wide adoption of net zero transition plans. This will spur demand for green finance and accelerate decarbonisation, not just in the UK but wherever UK firms do business.
“This will make a real difference and means the UK financial services sector will play an even larger role in providing the capital and financial services required to deliver net zero globally.
“The UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment is excited to act as the secretariat, together with E3G, for the new Transition Plan Taskforce to develop a ‘gold standard’ for transition plans and associated cutting edge metrics.
“We are the UK’s national centre established to accelerate the adoption and use of climate and environmental data and analytics by financial institutions internationally.”
Opinion | Britain to Boris: Please just wear a mask around David Attenborough
Wednesday 3 November 2021 10:13 , Tom Batchelor
I don’t know exactly what company Johnson keeps on a daily basis but I think it’s reasonable to assume that he hasn’t formed a bubble with David Attenborough and UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, sat to Johnson’s right and also wearing a mask, writes Rupert Hawksley.
We look to our leaders for guidance – for leadership – and what we see is Boris Johnson not bothering, not complying, not giving a damn. That’s why it matters and why you should care – even if Johnson doesn’t.
Read his full piece here:
Indigenous Environmental Network leads protests outside Cop
Wednesday 3 November 2021 10:00 , Tom Batchelor
Protesters have gathered outside the Cop summit to demonstrate against carbon offsetting.
Carbon offsets are a controversial method used to compensate for a company’s own emissions, which involve organisations in continuing to pollute but seeking to abate their emissions by investing in measures such as tree planting or avoidance of deforestation.
— Louise Boyle (@LouiseB_NY) November 3, 2021
Swapping car for a bike could saves 4 tons of CO2
Wednesday 3 November 2021 09:33 , Tom Batchelor
Swapping a car for a bike could up to four metric tons of CO2 a year.
Experts at Merlin Cycles said if the average commuter spent the same time travelling on bike as they did in a car, they would burn an extra 560 calories a day.
And after one year of swapping out a car, between two and four metric tons of C02 emissions could be saved, the weight of at least two cars, the retailer said.
It comes as Cop delegates have been criticised for a lack of focus on cycling and other forms of active travel as a means for reducing emissions.
Rishi Sunak announces UK to become net zero financial zero
Wednesday 3 November 2021 09:25 , Tom Batchelor
Rishi Sunak has said the world must come together to finance climate pledges as he gave more details about his plan to make the UK a net zero financial centre.
The chancellor, speaking at the summit, renewed the pledge to hit the $100bn global financing package, which has so far been missed.
He said the financial system would need to be “rewired” for net zero and that London would also support a new capital markets mechanism to issue billions of new green bonds.
“Six years ago Paris set the ambition, today in Glasgow we are provided the investment we need to deliver that ambition,” he told the audience.
Bill Gates ‘doubts’ world will meet 1.5C target
Wednesday 3 November 2021 09:06 , Tom Batchelor
The world will miss the target of limiting temperature increases to 1.5C, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates warned as he stressed the need to drive down the cost of green technology.
The Microsoft co-founder said he doubted that the 1.5C goal could be met as “there’s no comparable feat that mankind has ever achieved” to the task of tackling climate change.
Mr Gates said the cost of subsidising middle-income countries including China and India to develop in an environmentally-friendly way would be too great, so instead wealthy nations had to drive down the “green premium” for cleaner technology to make it affordable to all.
In an interview with former foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, for the Policy Exchange think tank, Mr Gates said: “What happened with solar panels where they were very expensive, and now they’re cheap, or lithium ion batteries - we need to do that for about six other technologies.”
He added that the 1.5C goal “will be very difficult” and “I doubt that we’ll be able to achieve that”.
Cop queues ‘concerning’, says public health expert
Wednesday 3 November 2021 08:45 , Tom Batchelor
Seeing huge queues of people waiting to get into Cop26 is “really concerning”, a public health expert has said.
The UN climate change conference was hit by long queues for a second day on Tuesday, with crowds waiting for more than an hour to get inside.
Professor Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, said seeing pictures of hundreds of people in close proximity has left her anxious knowing how “fragile” the situation has been.
Asked about the queues, Professor Sridhar told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “It is really concerning, this week I have been quite anxious seeing all that and knowing how fragile the situation has been.
“We’ve controlled the situation for quite a long time. Can we control it even after this big gathering, that’s the question.
“Will it lead to a spike, will it lead to a wave, will actually the mitigation measures have been enough?
“I know they thought a lot about making sure people were fully vaccinated, people were testing, it’s a really tricky one because obviously this is the worst timing ever during a pandemic but at the same time I listened to those people who work in climate and they are saying now is the time, if not now we have an existential threat to humanity.”
Indigenous Peoples plan protest against ‘false solution of carbon offsets’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 08:29 , Tom Batchelor
Indigenous Peoples will hold a carbon offset protest outside a key Cop26 event on voluntary carbon markets where Mark Carney, the former Bank of England governor, will be speaking today.
The protesters, many in traditional dress, will hand out newspapers featuring full-page adverts emblazoned with the words “carbon offsets are tearing us apart” to delegates attending the event.
The adverts will highlight carbon offsets which the protesters say are a “false climate solution which destroy indigenous communities and give polluters an excuse to carry on polluting.”
Carbon tax would 'cut emissions by 12% - and hit global GDP by only 1%’
Wednesday 3 November 2021 08:13 , Tom Batchelor
A $75 (£56) tax per tonne of carbon emitted in rich countries could help push down global emissions by more than 12 per cent - and would pay for itself, a new report has found.
The size of the global economy measured in gross domestic product (GDP) would fall by just 1 per cent if carbon was taxed, according to proposals from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The report, from the World Economic Forum and consultancy PwC, found that over the long term, much, if not all, of that drop in GDP would be made up for by avoiding the economic hit from global warming.
The IMF scenario includes a $75 tax for each tonne of carbon emitted by 2030 in high-income countries, $50 (£36.50) in middle-income countries, and $25 (£18) in low-income countries.
Such a tax would put a price on every tonne of carbon that is emitted when a product is made and shipped.
Government won’t arbitrate on businesses’ net zero plans
Wednesday 3 November 2021 07:58 , Tom Batchelor
As finance ministers meet in Glasgow, Rishi Sunak hopes plans to make large companies publish net-zero plans will be a greenwashing-proof new “gold standard” which will not allow businesses to boast about their eco ambitions without backing them up with action.
Mr Sunak will say on Wednesday that around 40 per cent of global financial assets have aligned themselves to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
But the government will leave it up to the market to determine if transition plans put forward by firms are adequate or credible.
Companies will be expected to start publishing their transition plans in 2023.
Europe to see near-50C heatwaves every year by end of century without urgent emissions cuts
Wednesday 3 November 2021 07:49 , Tom Batchelor
Europe could see near 50C heat every year by the end of the century if urgent action is not taken to slash greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Met Office analysis.
This summer’s deadly European heatwave – named Lucifer – which saw a new temperature record of 48.8C set in Sicily, would have been impossible without the climate crisis, the analysis found.
Read the story here:
Companies to be forced to publish net zero plans
Wednesday 3 November 2021 07:28 , Tom Batchelor
Financial institutions and listed companies will be forced to publish their plans on how they will transition to net zero, in sweeping reforms the Chancellor hopes will halt so-called greenwashing.
Rishi Sunak is set to reveal in a speech on Wednesday plans to make the UK a net-zero financial centre.
Speaking at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, Mr Sunak is expected to outline how new rules will be drawn up by a task force with members from universities, civil society groups, industry and regulators.
The plans will need to include high-level targets to reduce greenhouse emissions, the steps companies plan to take to get there and milestones ahead of 2050.
But although the plans will need to be published, the aim is simply to increase transparency.
Activists say oceans pledge isn’t enough
Wednesday 3 November 2021 07:04 , Stuti Mishra
The US on Tuesday joined the oceans pledge supported by over a dozen countries to increase investment for protection of the national waters. However, activists have demanded a more ambitious plan to rein in the impact of climate change.
Greenpeace, an environmental NGO, called the declaration “weak”, Reuters news agency reported.
“We need to see action to create a network of ocean sanctuaries that cover at least 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030,” Louisa Cason, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK was quoted by news agency.
The news agency also pointed the statement makes no mention of ending massive annual government subsidies that prop up activities such as industrial fishing, a major driver of over-exploitation of the seas.
“We need areas with zero commercial extraction, where nature and fish populations that fisheries depend on can recover and thrive,” Ms Cason said.
Over 70 per cent of the earth is covered with ocean and absorbs both heat and carbon dioxide. Scientists and activists have pointed out how critical it is for curbing climate change and more focus needs to be put on protecting it.
Dawn Wright, chief scientist and oceanographer at ESRI, a US mapping data company, told Reuters that understanding the relationship between oceans and climate change is crucial for delegates at Cop26 to be able to table a plan to sustainably manage oceans.
“We are currently severely undercounting carbon emissions that result from human activities in the ocean. Things like trawling by fishing fleets, activities that disturb the seabed. We must include oceans in how we account for emissions and pollution, and I hope Cop26 will recognise this problem.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
Teenage inventor who received standing ovation at Cop26
Wednesday 3 November 2021 05:50 , Stuti Mishra
Vinisha Umashankar is the youngest finalist in The Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize for her ironing cart that aims to replace charcoal-heated irons street vendors use in India, that create pollution when being used.
At the gathering of world leaders including PM Boris Johnson, his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden, she received a standing ovation after her speech.
During her speech, Vinisha – who is from Tamil Nadu state in southern India – said: “I’m not just a girl from India, I’m a girl from Earth.”
Lamiat Sabin writes.
What will happen to the promise of climate finance
Wednesday 3 November 2021 05:28 , Stuti Mishra
When the rich nations’ negotiators pledged at the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen to provide $100bn a year of climate finance to developing countries by 2020, this must have been seen as achievable.
Even after the shock of the global financial crisis, the annual output of the G7 group of rich nations was $31.9 trillion, or more than 300 times the pot of money needed to help poor countries.
But to precisely no one’s surprise, the UK presidency of the Cop26 climate summit, that began in earnest on Monday, admitted last week that new analysis showed the $100bn goal was unlikely to have been met in 2020 and is likely to also fall short in 2021 and 2022.
Phil Thornton writes how a key challenge for Cop26 remains climate finance.
As Cop26 summit continues, Delhi is on path to choke
Wednesday 3 November 2021 04:40 , Stuti Mishra
While India’s prime minister Narendra Modi spoke about the country’s efforts in reining in climate change, the Indian capital is Delhi is once again close to smog-filled November with toxic gases set to engulf the countries northern areas.
Satellite images show farm fires in two north Indian states burning away, turning the air poisonous. Fields spread out hundreds of miles, running from Delhi to Haryana and then Punjab - the country’s rice bowls - will keep burning for a little over the next ten days. Acre by acre spanning over 300 miles, almost every land will be torched, to make space for the next batch of crops.
The fire and the smoke emanating from these farm fields, carried by winds, will now travel to Delhi and mix with the city-state’s own ever-rising pollution.
Delhi’s air quality levels are already worsening and experts say it needs to be treated as a public health emergency.
The Independent’s India reporter Arpan Rai reports from the northern farm fields.
Analysis: India’s net zero of target of 2070 ‘much more ambitious than that of China or the European Union'
Wednesday 3 November 2021 04:17 , Stuti Mishra
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s surprise announcement of a 2070 target for net-zero carbon emissions is one of the most ambitious targets in the world, experts say, despite coming a decade or two later.
The announcement came with several strong pledges of reducing emissions by 2030 and increading renewable energy capacity to half in a country still largely dependent on coal.
But experts say these committments have the potential to transform the world’s third largest emitter and can prove to be a major factor in helping the world reach the targets of Paris accord.
Read The Independent’s analysis of Modi’s main climate pledges,
How long does Cop26 last?
Wednesday 3 November 2021 03:40 , Stuti Mishra
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 brings together the biggest gathering of world leaders ever assembled on British soil.
The 197 signatories, or “parties”, to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are all represented in Glasgow in some capacity, along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government officials, businesses and activists, all hoping to make their voices heard and see a comprehensive plan agreed on how to accelerate action towards the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and avert the climate catastrophe our planet faces.
Read more about how long the summit will last and what is expected to be achieved at the end of it.
Wednesday 3 November 2021 02:15 , Andy Gregory
Here are some highlights from the BBC’s Debate Night programme in Scotland, which aired a Cop26 special this week.
Journalist and author George Monbiot suggested “the most positive thing” currently on display in Glasgow is “the citizens’ movements gathering outside the conference centre demanding far more action from governments than they’re giving”.
“Those movements need to rise tenfold, one hundredfold. We need to create the biggest mass movements in history to face down the greatest challenge that humanity has ever confronted,” Mr Monbiot said.
“The most positive thing I’m seeing around Glasgow at the moment is the people’s movements, the citizen’s movements, gathering outside the conference centre, demanding far more action…”@GeorgeMonbiot says only people power can face down the climate crisis. #bbcdn pic.twitter.com/zK8NVMkYSf
— BBC Debate Night (@bbcdebatenight) November 2, 2021
Following a comment from an audience member that “we have to be honest that the richest one per cent of the population produce over 50 per cent of the carbon emissions”, Holyrood’s finance secretary Kate Forbes suggested that climate breakdown is an “elite problem” and called for increased wealth taxes, adding that the £100bn target of finance for the developing world is “not nearly enough”.
However, another audience member said that while the SNP was “very good at rhetoric on the environment”, he asked the Scottish Government when this would be matched by reality.
“When’s the reality going to match the rhetoric?”
This #bbcdn audience member points out that the Scottish Government owns Prestwick Airport, which is being used by private jets for free during #Cop26. pic.twitter.com/lkkMgnKOSx
— BBC Debate Night (@bbcdebatenight) November 2, 2021
Scotland to restore and extend Celtic rainforest
Wednesday 3 November 2021 01:52 , Andy Gregory
As world leaders signed up to a pledge to end deforestation in their countries by 2030, the conference’s host nation announced that its rare Celtic rainforests are to be restored and expanded.
“Scotland is home to its own Atlantic rainforest boasting a variety of rare species and habitats,” environment minister Mairi McAllan said at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens on Tuesday. “We want to protect and expand this precious environment and we have committed to do so in the life of this parliament.”
She added: “Our forests and woodlands are an important net carbon sink, absorbing around 6.2 million tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to almost 10 per cent of Scotland’s gross greenhouse gas emissions.”
PM defends not wearing face mask next to David Attenborough
Wednesday 3 November 2021 01:25 , Andy Gregory
Boris Johnson has been forced to defend images that showed him sitting next to 95-year-old “national treasure” David Attenborough while not wearing a face mask.
Looking slightly alarmed, the prime minister told CNN: “I’ve been wearing a mask when in confined spaces with people that I don’t normally meet, and I think it’s up to people to take a judgement about whether they’re at a reasonable distance from someone.”
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) November 2, 2021
Green finance groups hail Rishi Sunak’s ‘huge’ new plan
Wednesday 3 November 2021 00:50 , Andy Gregory
Tomorrow morning, the chancellor will unveil a new initiative seeking to encourage the financial sector to strive for net-zero – which has been praised by some green finance groups.
The director of the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment, Dr Ben Caldecott, described Mr Sunak’s announcement as “huge” and said it would “spur demand for green finance and accelerate decarbonisation, not just in the UK but wherever UK firms do business”.
And the chief executive of the Green Finance Institute, Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas, said it marked “the day that green finance has reached a point of critical momentum”, with “unprecedented” sums now committed to the transition away from a fossil fuel economy.
“The task before us now is to come together in radical collaboration to unlock investment opportunities at speed and scale so we can channel this wall of capital into real economy outcomes that not only positions the UK as the world’s first net-zero financial centre but also delivers a just and resilient net-zero global economy,” said Dr Thomas.
Greta Thunberg urges people to join climate marches this weekend
Wednesday 3 November 2021 00:19 , Andy Gregory
Campaigner Greta Thunberg, who has been soaking up the Glasgow atmosphere this week, has urged people to join a climate strike at Kelvingrove Park on Friday, and another march organised for Saturday.
Time is running out. Change won’t come from these conferences like #COP26 unless there is big public pressure from the outside.
Join the climate strike this Friday (Kelvingrove Park 11am), and the climate march Saturday (11.30am) to make your voice heard. Together we are strong. pic.twitter.com/BYoVHukkyM
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 2, 2021
Upbeat climate experts echo Boris Johnson and hail ‘momentum’ towards deal
Tuesday 2 November 2021 23:52 , Andy Gregory
My colleagues Rob Merrick and Louise Boyle have this extensive piece from Glasgow, detailing the day’s main events:
Upbeat climate experts are hailing “momentum” towards a deal to halt runaway climate change, after a series of carbon-cutting announcements at the Cop26 summit.
The mood has shifted after India’s breakthrough pledge to take 1 billion tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere by 2030 and the agreement to halt deforestation across most of the globe.
Those moves were bolstered by almost 100 countries committing to slash methane emissions by 30 per cent – and a deal to hand $8.5bn to South Africa to help it ditch coal as a fuel source. Read their full report here:
Sunak’s new plan ‘falling short’, Greenpeace says
Tuesday 2 November 2021 23:29 , Andy Gregory
Here’s Greenpeace’s less-than-glowing reaction to Rishi Sunak’s claim that he can turn UK into “the world’s first net zero-aligned financial centre”.
The chancellor is set to announce that some 450 institutions – controlling around 40 per cent of global financial assets – have aligned themselves to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Greenpeace’s head of politics Rebecca Newsom said: “The world’s first net zero-aligned financial centre would be one in which financial institutions and companies are required by law at the outset to bring their lending and investments in line with the global goal to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
“Instead, these new rules seem to allow plenty of wriggle room for financial institutions to continue with business as usual, rather than ‘rewiring’ the system as the chancellor claims. The chancellor is once again falling short of what the climate emergency requires.”
Biden accused of ‘whiplash’ rhetoric on climate
Tuesday 2 November 2021 23:05 , Andy Gregory
An energy expert and climate lawyer has suggested that the “whiplash” of Joe Biden’s rhetoric on climate was on full display in his speech earlier, urging him to halt crude oil exports upon his return to Washington.
“First, he asks Opec to pump more oil, then describes his worry about the horrors of climate change,” said Jean Su, of the Centre for Biological Diversity and the Climate Law Institute.
“To set his climate ambition straight, it would be profound and game-changing for him to return to Washington and declare a national climate emergency to halt crude oil exports. That’s just one of the tools Biden has to take transformative action on climate without Congress.”
She added: “Biden sounds just as worried as the rest of us, but he has power unlike anyone else’s. For the sake of us and the planet, he has to use it.”
Breaking: Rishi Sunak promises to make Britain ‘world’s first net-zero-aligned financial centre’
Tuesday 2 November 2021 22:45 , Andy Gregory
Ambitious plans to create a huge pool of money to invest in a green future will turn the UK into “the world’s first net zero-aligned financial centre”, Rishi Sunak has said.
Companies managing $130 trillion of assets have committed to the goal of holding global warming below 1.5C, the chancellor announced ahead of an event he is leading at Cop26 tomorrow morning.
But campaigners warned that the chancellor’s landmark plan falls short of what is needed to halt the climate crisis and risks amounting to no more than “greenwash” for a sector which has profited massively from decades of pollution.
Andrew Woodcock and Ben Chapman have the full story here:
Tuesday 2 November 2021 22:01 , Andy Gregory
In case you missed it earlier, here’s the footage of Joe Biden’s claim that China has made a “big mistake” by not attending the summit.
Beijing has “lost an ability to influence people around the world”, the US president said.
‘Eyes of the world’ on Glasgow, Boris Johnson says
Tuesday 2 November 2021 21:41 , Andy Gregory
The prime minister has urged world leaders “to keep 1.5 alive” as he warned “the eyes of the world will be on” Glasgow for the next 10 days.
The eyes of the world will be on @COP26 for the next ten days.
Let’s keep moving forward, keep 1.5 alive and make this the moment we irrefutably turn the tide against climate change. pic.twitter.com/fF7Mh5ED1f
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 2, 2021
US politician issues subpoenas to oil executives amid probe into ‘climate disinformation campaign’
Tuesday 2 November 2021 21:29 , Andy Gregory
The chair of the US House Oversight Committee has issued subpoenas to top executives of ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and other oil giants, for “key documents they have failed to produce in the Committee’s investigation into the fossil fuel industry’s climate disinformation campaign”.
Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, said she had “tried very hard” to obtain the information voluntarily, but “the oil companies employed the same tactics they used for decades on climate policy — delay and obstruction.”
Leaders of all six subpoenaed groups appeared at a high-profile hearing in front of the committee last week, and had missed an extended deadline set by the committee to hand over key documents requested by the politicians, Ms Maloney said.
I have officially signed subpoenas to @exxonmobil, @bp_America, @Chevron, @Shell, @APIenergy, and the @USChamber.
For far too long, Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe. That ends today.
— Carolyn B. Maloney (@RepMaloney) November 2, 2021
Prince William recoils after Kate Middleton offers him jar of dead bugs
Tuesday 2 November 2021 21:10 , Andy Gregory
An exchange between Kate Middleton and Prince William is going viral after the Duchess of Cambridge was photographed offering her husband a jar of dead bugs during a climate event the pair were hosting.
My colleague Chelsea Ritschel has more details:
Young protesters tell Cop26 leaders to ‘end climate betrayal'
Tuesday 2 November 2021 20:46 , Andy Gregory
In a protest on the opposite bank of the River Clyde, a group of young climate activists from around the world held up illuminated letters urging leaders at Cop26 to “end climate betrayal”.
Amazonian indigenous activist Txai Surui, who took part in the conference’s opening day, gave a speech at the demonstration on Tuesday evening organised by Avaaz, whose open letter calling for climate action has amassed more than a million signatures.
The 24-year-old told the PA news agency: “We're having people invading our lands - such as loggers - and destroying our forests. My friend was murdered because he protected our home. Leaders need to speak about people, we are not going to have climate justice while we don't have social justice.”
She said she felt this Cop meeting was more open to the voices of indigenous people than previous conferences, but there were still more to be heard.
Glasgow to London — how do train and plane compare?
Tuesday 2 November 2021 20:20 , Tom Batchelor
As leaders from around the globe gather in Glasgow to commit to tackling the climate crisis at Cop26, political leaders’ travel choices are under the spotlight.
While flying may be the only option for leaders arriving from afar, train routes are available to those travelling to and from locations within the UK and continental Europe - but not all world leaders have chosen to make use of them. With sustainability at the top of everyone’s mind this week, some - including Boris Johnson - have been criticised for their failure to lead by example.
Here we assess how the two transport options compare:
IMF backs climate action: ‘The more you mitigate, the less dramatic the circumstances will be'
Tuesday 2 November 2021 20:01 , Tom Batchelor
Adapting to climate change will require not just more money for hardier infrastructure, crops and other systems but also far more rapid cuts to planet-heating emissions, said the head of the International Monetary Fund.
“The more you mitigate, the less dramatic the circumstances will be,” Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview at the COP26 U.N. climate summit.
Surging losses of land and income will drive growing migration, she warned, with “people trying to get to places where they can have more security”.
“Climate refugees are already part of the flow of people moving outside of Africa - and the numbers are going up,” she said.
Biden says China not showing up at Cop26 'big mistake’
Tuesday 2 November 2021 19:53 , Tom Batchelor
Joe Biden has criticised both China and Russia for being absent from the Glasgow climate confab, saying the lack of attendance by Chinese premier Xi Jinping (as well as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Momammad bin Salman) was “a problem”.
“I think it’s been a big mistake, quite frankly, China not showing up. The rest of the world will look to China and say what value added are they providing? And they’ve lost in the ability to influence people around the world and all the people here at Cop, the same way I would argue with regard to Russia,” Mr Biden said.
Read the story here:
Cop organisers apologise for problems accessing summit
Tuesday 2 November 2021 19:40 , Tom Batchelor
Cop organisers have apologised for problems delegates have experienced accessing events in Glasgow, “both physically and virtually”, after a disabled minister was turned away and delegates reported problems attending online meetings.
UN officials said Covid social distancing and “unprecedented interest” had combined to cause “many logistical pressures”.
In a letter to attendees, the organisers said: “The first few days of the Cop26 have been a learning process, with participants and staff getting used to the pandemic-related logistical measures and circumstances, and we are doing our utmost to continuously learn and adapt.”
Harry and Meghan’s charity commits to net zero
Tuesday 2 November 2021 19:21 , Tom Batchelor
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Foundation has pledged to be net zero by 2030.
Inspired by Harry and Meghan’s “long-standing commitment to the planet, both together and prior to their union”, the company has committed to cut its carbon emissions over the next few years.
In a statement on its website, the foundation said: “Achieving net zero carbon emissions means making a series of choices over time to make that footprint as small as possible, while compensating for any remaining emissions through high-quality carbon removal projects.
“As an organisation, we will work with an independent consultant to track all Archewell-related activities from our inception (internet use, commutes, and electricity in home offices, for example) to understand our collective footprint.
“Using 2022 as our baseline year, they will develop a plan for Archewell that aligns with the latest guidance from leading organisations, like the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), while offsetting remaining emissions until we achieve net zero in 2030 and beyond.”
Hundreds of protesters converge on Glasgow on second day of Cop26
Tuesday 2 November 2021 19:13 , Tom Batchelor
Hundreds of protesters converged on Glasgow on the second day of the world leaders summit at Cop26.
Extinction Rebellion activists held a number of protests in the city, including outside the global UN climate conference venue.
Around a hundred protesters gathered in the area and were temporarily prevented from crossing the Clyde Arc bridge before being escorted on by dozens of police - where some staged a sit-down.
They then began to cross, as officers guarded the buses which had been forced to wait for the group to move on.
With police surrounding the protesters on one side of the road, activists then paused in the middle of the bridge where they chanted and demanded tougher action from world leaders, before they continued along the bridge where the protest ended.
Trudeau ‘confident’ on climate pledges
Tuesday 2 November 2021 19:00 , Tom Batchelor
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said he was confident the world could limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“I am confident we are going to continue to keep pushing ourselves and each other to be more and more ambitious,” he told reporters at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Police apologise after Cop26 diversions force women to walk through park at night
Tuesday 2 November 2021 18:40 , Tom Batchelor
Police have apologised after women were forced to walk through a park in Glasgow at night while roads were cordoned off during a VIP reception for heads of state attending Cop26.
Diversions were in place around Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Monday evening as world leaders and members of the Royal Familygathered for the welcoming reception on the first day of the climate change summit.
A number of local residents said on social media that they were forced to take long detours through the dark Kelvingrove Park to get home.
Read more here:
Opinion | Vince Cable: The west has to work with China to ‘end coal’ – purely hectoring will achieve little
Tuesday 2 November 2021 18:20 , Tom Batchelor
If Cop26 is going to chart a real course toward ‘ending coal’, it will need to acknowledge the reality of the situation, writes former Lib Dem leader Vince Cable.
Just shouting “STOP” is ridiculous and will serve only to unite developing Asia (including China) even further against the west.
Read his full piece here:
Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website