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Cop26 Glasgow protest – live: Greta Thunberg accuses global leaders of presiding over ‘greenwash festival’

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Greta Thunberg has given a thundering speech at the climate rally in Glasgow on Friday afternoon, saying that Cop 26 has turned into a “PR event” and lambasted global leaders for turning the urgent talks into a “greenwash festival”.

The 18-year-old took to the stage amid cheers from activists and said that “drastic cuts” were needed to halt climate change and that the conference is a celebration of “business as usual and blah blah blah”.

Her speech at the protest comes the day after the 18-year-old Swedish environmentalist suggested that summit talks were becoming a “greenwashing campaign” for politicians and business leaders. It would be more of a success if people understood what a “failure” Cop26 has been, she added.

On Friday morning, Ms Thunberg and thousands of climate activists made their way from Kelvingrove Park, located in the west of the city, towards the centre of Glasgow.

Read More

Cop26: Boris Johnson says there are ‘opportunities’ for UK from melting ice caps

Cop26: 190 countries and organisations agree to end coal-fired power

Cop26: What has been achieved and agreed by leaders at the climate summit?

Key Points

  • Greta Thunberg leads climate march in Glasgow

  • World reaches ‘long-awaited political tipping point’ on climate change, says Gore

  • Group of 190 countries and organisations agree to end coal-fired power

  • Action needed to stop billionaires ‘plundering the planet’

  • ‘Climate change will continue to cause severe hardships’ – Kerry

  • Cop26 pledges would limit warming to 1.8C, says IEA

  • ‘This is a global north greenwash festival’ - Thunberg

Cop26: What happens after world leaders leave the climate summit?

19:45 , Joe Middleton

It has been an eventful first week at the Cop26 climate summit. The first few days saw world leaders such as President Joe Biden, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and India’s Narendra Modi descend on Glasgow to make new promises on tackling the climate crisis. Mr Modi stole the show on Monday when he announced India would aim for net zero by 2070.

Major deals were secured for deforestation, coal and methane – a potent greenhouse. Cracks have started to appear in these agreements, but they nevertheless represent progress towards tackling some of the major drivers of the climate crisis.

But what happens now that all the world leaders have gone? This is the point where negotiations on the text of the official agreement that will come out of the talks take centre stage, explains Dr Stephen Corenelius, chief adviser on climate change for WWF and a former Cop negotiator for the UK.

The Independent’s climate correspondent Daisy Dunne reports.

Cop26: What happens after world leaders leave the climate summit?

Cop26: Child sings during Fridays for Future march

19:20 , Joe Middleton

Study suggests Australia’s Great Barrier Reef can still be saved – if global warming kept to 1.5C

18:50 , Joe Middleton

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has a chance of survival if global warming can be limited to 1.5C, a target that the Paris agreement also demands, according to a new study.

The study published on Friday by an Australian university showed that only two per cent of the reef has remained unaffected by bleaching since 1998.

Bleaching is a phenomenon where coral reefs begin to lose their colour and turn white as heat waves increase the temperature of sea water. Many coral reefs also struggle to survive due to the heat.

Stuti Mishra has the details.

Great Barrier Reef can be saved if global warming kept to 1.5C, study suggests

Indigenous peoples are the best stewards of our environment – the rest of us pale in comparison

18:19 , Joe Middleton

Commitments to support a hub for indigenous knowledge would provide a resource to help countries identify ways to conserve agricultural biodiversity and develop sustainable food production practices, writes Agnes Kalibata.

Opinion: Indigenous peoples are the best stewards of our environment

Thunberg: This is what people power looks like

17:56 , Joe Middleton

We know almost for a fact that Cop26 will fail – this is why

17:28 , Joe Middleton

Guterres, Carney and Sharma: there is a week left. Will you allow humanity to destroy itself or will you step up to this existential moment in history?, writes Donnachadh McCarthy.

Opinion: We know almost for a fact that Cop26 will fail – this is why

Thunberg brands Cop26 a ‘global greenwash festival’

17:11 , Joe Middleton

Greta Thunberg has described the Cop26 climate summit as a “global greenwash festival”.

Speaking at the Fridays for Future rally in Glasgow, the teenage activist also described the conference as a failure.

“This is now a global north greenwash festival. A two-week-long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah,” Thunberg said to raucous cheers.

“The most affected people in the most affected areas still remain unheard and the voices of future generations are drowning in the greenwash... and empty promises.”

Watch: Greta Thunberg brands Cop26 a ‘global greenwash festival’

‘People in power cannot ignore us’ - Thunberg

16:57 , Joe Middleton

People in power cannot ignore climate activists who marched in their thousands through the streets of Glasgow, Ms Thunberg has said.

“Out here, we speak the truth. The people of power are obviously scared of the truth. Yet no matter how hard they try, they cannot escape from it.

“They cannot ignore the scientific consensus and above all, they cannot ignore us, the people, including their own children.

“They cannot ignore our screams as we reclaim our power. We are tired of their blah blah blah. Our leaders are not leading. This is what leadership looks like.”

Thunberg calls for ‘drastic emission cuts’

16:41 , Joe Middleton

Ms Thunberg told the climate rally in George Square: “The voices of future generations are drowning in their greenwash and empty words and promises. But the facts do not lie. And we know that our emperors are naked.”

The Swedish activist said “immediate, drastic, annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen” are needed to deal with climate change.

She added: “And the question we must now ask ourselves is, what is it that we are fighting for? Are we fighting to save ourselves and the living planet? Or are we fighting to maintain business as usual? Only to say that we can have both.

“But the harsh truth is that that is not possible in practice.

“The people in power can continue to live in their bubble filled with their fantasies, like eternal growth on a finite planet and technological solutions that will suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere and will erase all of these crises just like that.

“All this while the world is literally burning, on fire, and while the people living on the front lines are still bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.”

Cop26 is a celebration of ‘business as usual’ - Thunberg

16:36 , Joe Middleton

Ms Thunberg said the Cop26 conference is a two-week celebration of “business as usual and blah blah blah”.

She told climate activists: “This is no longer a climate conference. This is now a global north greenwash festival.

“A two-week festival of business as usual and blah blah blah.”

‘This is a global north greenwash festival’ - Thunberg

16:20 , Joe Middleton

Ms Thunberg continues her attack on global leaders and accuses them of presiding over a “greenwash festival” at Cop26.

She told climate activists who marched from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow’s George Square: “This is no longer a climate conference. This is now a global north greenwash festival.

“A two-week festival of business as usual and blah blah blah.”

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

‘Cop26 has turned into a PR event’

16:18 , Joe Middleton

Environmentalist Greta Thunberg said that Cop26 has turned into a “PR event” where leaders are announcing “fancy commitments and targets”.

But she adds that countries in the global north are still refusing “to take any drastic climate action”.

She goes on to accuse global leaders of continuing to fight for the “status quo”

Greta Thunberg has taken the stage

16:14 , Joe Middleton

Cop26: Protesters dress up as world leaders for tea-party performance during Fridays for Future march

16:10 , Rory Sullivan

Watch: Protesters dress up as world leaders for tea-party performance at Cop26

Dire consequences if Cop26 pledges not kept, says Gore

16:00 , Rory Sullivan

Former US vice president Al Gore has warned of dire consequences if world leaders do not honour the climate pledges they have made at the Cop26 summit.

Gore, the co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his climate activism, said the world had the tools to “solve this crisis” and now had pledges moving in the right direction.

“We must ensure that these pledges are kept. We must not declare victory here, we know that we have made progress, but we are far from the goals that we need to reach,” he added.

Mr Gore also spoke about the world’s “hyper inequality” and how climate migration could lead to spikes in xenophobia and violence.

“We cannot allow this wave of authoritarian populism to spread around our world,” he said.

Video: Protesters carry tree felled during HS2 work

15:50 , Rory Sullivan

Some climate activists on the Fridays for Future march in Glasgow carried a tree felled during HS2 work, to illustrate the damage humans do to the nature

My colleague Louise Boyle took this video in the city centre:

Politicians ‘don’t actually care’ about climate crisis, says young protester

15:38 , Rory Sullivan

Many world leaders “don’t actually care” about tackling the climate crisis, a young protester has suggested.

Mia Williamson, 15, who attended the Fridays for Future protest in Glasgow today, said: “I believe there is some that maybe listen to us, that maybe want to help us, but I believe that many world leaders here are here for the show of being here.

“I don’t think they actually care. I don’t think it affects them enough for them to care.”

Indigenous speakers denounce Bolsonaro

15:24 , Rory Sullivan

Indigenous speakers have denounced Jair Bolsonaro and his government for their treatment of local populations and the environment.

Under his presidency, deforestation in the Amazon has reached its highest-levels in more than a decade, after he opened the rainforest up to commercial exploitation. He has also been accused of failing to protect indigenous communities.

“We come here with a message - we want our land. We’ve had enough,” one activist said a Cop26 rally in Glasgow.

Indigenous people call for climate action (Louise Boyle)
Indigenous people call for climate action (Louise Boyle)

US having ‘meaningful’ talks with Russia and China on climate action, says Kerry

15:11 , Rory Sullivan

The US is having meaningful talks with both Russia and China at the Cop26 summit, the country’s climate envoy has said.

John Kerry said he had spoken to Russian officials on Friday about reducing methane pollution. “We were talking about how we might deal with methane, possibly work together,” he said.

“And we’re meeting with China here, and we’ve been talking for several days trying to figure out, is there common ground, as a way to try to move forward,” Mr Kerry added. “There’s a sense of urgency.”

His comments come after US president Joe Biden blamed China and Russia’s no-show at last weekend’s G20 discussions for the lack of progress made on the eve of Cop26.

Sharma pledges to finish climate talks on time for first time in years

15:01 , Daisy Dunne

UK minister and Cop26 president Alok Sharma has written to countries promising to finish climate discussions on time next Friday.

UN climate summits are notorious for running over schedule. Cop25 in Madrid was the longest summit ever, lasting for an extra two days and two nights.

Life-size David Attenborough cake

14:46 , Rory Sullivan

A life-sized Sir David Attenborough cake has been unveiled at the Cake International show in Birmingham on Friday afternoon.

This comes days after the 95-year-old naturalist gave a rousing speech at Cop26, in which he called on world leaders to act against climate change before it is too late.

A life-sized Sir David Attenborough cake. (PA)
A life-sized Sir David Attenborough cake. (PA)

Watch 1.5C panel discussion live

14:30 , Rory Sullivan

Cop26 president Alok Sharma and former US vice president Al Gore are both on a panel discussing the goal of ensuring that average global temperature do not rise more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Addressing an event on Friday evening, Mr Gore said that the world had reached its “long-awaited political tipping point” in the fight against climate change.

However, he said that the crisis was getting worse “faster than we are yet implementing solutions”.

Protesters arrive in George Square

14:17 , Rory Sullivan

Thousands of protesters have reached George Square, after making their way across Glasgow from Kelvingrove Park in the west.

They marched past the Cop26 venue before arriving in the square.

Greta Thunberg, who joined the march, will later address the crowds gathered for the rally.

Young protesters give up school due to climate urgency

14:14 , Rory Sullivan

For those who missed my earlier post, a young activist has spoken about how many of her peers have left full-time education to devote their lives to tackling the climate crisis.

Here’s more on the story:

Young protesters give up school due to climate urgency, activist says

Photos from Glasgow strike

13:57 , Rory Sullivan

A band plays in George’s Square, Glasgow. (Louise Boyle)
A band plays in George’s Square, Glasgow. (Louise Boyle)
Old and young attend the strike (Louise Boyle)
Old and young attend the strike (Louise Boyle)
World leaders tuck into some climate change dishes (Louise Boyle)
World leaders tuck into some climate change dishes (Louise Boyle)
A dog with an important message. (Louise Boyle)
A dog with an important message. (Louise Boyle)

Party atmosphere in George’s Square

13:42 , Louise Boyle

The protest is well underway in George’s Square in Glasgow’s city centre. The crowd includes groups of primary school children from Glasgow waving handmade signs, a youth samba band and performance artists (along with more than a few curious onlookers.)

Ahead of the arrival of the Fridays For Future march led by Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate, there was a party atmosphere with The Proclaimers’ song 500 Miles (a Scottish favourite) blasting from loudspeakers by the stage.

Do not fail your grandchildren, politicians warned

13:23 , Rory Sullivan

A group of young activists have told British politicians to stop praising themselves and instead take concrete steps to tackle the climate crisis.

Clara von Glasow, a member of Youth NGOs (Youngo), warned Alok Sharma and Nicola Sturgeon that real commitments had to be made now.

“If you don’t take this seriously and step up your game, you’re not only failing us, you’re failing your children and your grandchildren,” she said.

Among other demands, Youngo has called on government to give $100bn (£74.4) to poorer countries each year to offset the effects of climate change and to end fossil fuel subsidies.

“The reason why we invited you here is because we still trust you - not because we necessarily want to, but because we need to,” Ms von Glasow added.

Ms Sturgeon called this position “generous”, acknowledging that her generation “have not done enough to earn that trust and I hope that starts to change over the course of Cop26”.

Government launches Duke of Edinburgh-style climate awards for schoolchildren

13:00 , Joe Middleton

The government have announced the introduction of a new climate award to recognise the work of young people’s actions to protect the environment, with a prestigious national awards ceremony held each year.

The Climate Leaders Award will help children and young people develop their skills and knowledge in biodiversity and sustainability, and celebrate and recognise their work in protecting the local environment.

For example, young people may choose to undertake a project that delivers change in their local community, such as increasing the biodiversity of a neighbourhood piece of land or helping to deliver experiences for younger children to explore nature and local woodland.

Emily Atkinson reports.

Government launches Duke of Edinburgh-style climate awards for schoolchildren

Missing school to attend climate protests is “extremely disruptive”, No10 says

12:49 , Joe Middleton

Downing Street said young people missing school to attend climate demonstrations was “extremely disruptive at a time when the pandemic has already had a huge impact on their learning”.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “We do understand why young people feel so strongly about climate change, and we want to see them use that passion and turn it into action.

“That’s exactly why we’re empowering them through our new virtual national education park, climate leaders awards, and giving teachers the tools to put climate change at the heart of the curriculum, and we’re backing this up with our continued pledge to cut the carbon footprint of school buildings as well.”

Climate activists bring moths to Glasgow protest

12:38 , Joe Middleton

Environmentalists Jenny Ayrton, Gemma Knowles and Naomi Wright have brought a giant moth made out of milk cartons to the climate strike protest in Glasgow.

They said more than 20,000 of the model moths have been made by people across the country as a “moth-to-a-flame” metaphor for the environmental crisis.

Ms Wright said: “Protect moths and and we protect ourselves. Now, there’s an awful lot of people who have been working really hard in cutting their carbon, wearing their jumpers to turning their thermostats down, walking, cycling.

“But they run out of things they can do themselves. They want governments to do more, we need the big decisions.”

Ms Ayrton said: “And I think another message would be for people to check their local community energy organisations because when we join together then we can make a difference.

“So as individuals, it’s really hard. But groups like community energy groups are really important in that transition.”

Study suggests Australia’s Great Barrier Reef can still be saved – if global warming kept to 1.5C

12:21 , Joe Middleton

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has a chance of survival if global warming can be limited to 1.5C, a target that the Paris agreement also demands, according to a new study.

The study published on Friday by an Australian university showed that only two per cent of the reef has remained unaffected by bleaching since 1998, writes The Independent’s Stuti Mishra.

Bleaching is a phenomenon where coral reefs begin to lose their colour and turn white as heat waves increase the temperature of sea water. Many coral reefs also struggle to survive due to the heat.

Great Barrier Reef can be saved if global warming kept to 1.5C, study suggests

Voices: Real force for change at Cop26 is on the streets

12:05 , Rory Sullivan

Young people will continue to take to the streets because politicians are making inadequate climate pledges, writes Scarlett Westbrook.

She writes:

“We aren’t going to let ourselves be tokenised by politicians who couldn’t care less about sustainability, and we will make it clear that we won’t let our voices be sidelined.”

Opinion: Young people have made history at Cop26 – now it’s your turn

Doctors for XR stage ‘die-in’ outside JP Morgan offices

11:53 , Rory Sullivan

At an earlier protest today, Doctors for Extinction Rebellion staged a “die-in” outside JP Morgan’s offices in Glasgow.

The campaigners were demonstrating against the bank’s links to the fossil fuel industry.

Protester - ‘I’m here for my children and for the generations to come’

11:40 , Rory Sullivan

Cairsty O’Rourke is attending the climate strike with her son and daughter.

Explaining why she was at the event in Glasgow, she told PA: I’m basically here for my children and for the generations to come to just show that something has to happen and it has to happen very quickly in order to change the trajectory that we’re going on.

“Big words are are being spoken at Cop26 and governments around the world have to be made to follow through on the promises that they make during this Cop.

“It is absolutely pivotal to the future, to us as a human race. And we don’t have that much time. So it’s got to happen now.”

She added that the Scottish government had sat “on the fence for too long” about the controversial Cambo oil field in the North Sea.

Good morning from Glasgow

11:31 , Louise Boyle

Good morning from Glasgow.

The Independent’s climate team will be reporting from the ground at the Fridays For Future Cop26 strike as it winds its way from the city’s Kelvingrove Park to George’s Square in the city centre.

Attending the protest will be thousands of youth activists, Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate, and local trade unionists.

Three-quarters of British adults worried about climate crisis

11:20 , Rory Sullivan

More than 80 per cent of British adults are worried about climate change, an Office for National Statistics (ONS) poll has found.

“(I’m) concerned for what we are leaving our younger generation to cope with,” one respondent wrote.

Another said: “I think the future is pretty bleak as so much damage has already been done.”

Watch youth climate protest live

11:11 , Rory Sullivan

Youth climate protest starts in Glasgow

11:08 , Rory Sullivan

A youth climate protest has started at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow, with activists telling world leaders “to listen to the planet”.

One of the participants, Charlie O’Rourke, a 14-year-old student from Glasgow, had a message for politicians: “Listen, listen to the people.”

“Listen to what they want to say. Don’t just go for profit. Listen to what the planet needs,” he added.

Campaigners question Indonesia’s commitment to confronting climate change

10:51 , Rory Sullivan

Hundreds of climate activists protested in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, shortly after the country’s environment minister said a deforestation treaty her government had signed was “unfair”.

On Thursday, Siti Nurbaya Bakar implied the authorities could not stop deforestation by 2030, despite signing up to the pledge along with more than 100 world leaders this week.

She said the plan was at odds with Indonesia’s plans for development.

Activist Wahyu Perdana said the Indonesian government was only “paying lip-service” to fighting the climate crisis.

How to have an eco-friendly bonfire night

10:33 , Rory Sullivan

Bonfire night has long been criticised for its damaging effects on the environment.

Sabrina Barr and Sarah Young take a look at look at how the occasion can be celebrated in a eco-friendly way.

How to have an eco-friendly Bonfire Night

Mother of air pollution victim to protest at Cop26

10:16 , Rory Sullivan

The mother of the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as a cause of death will join climate protesters for rallies in Glasgow on Friday and Saturday.

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, 9, who lived near the South Circular in London, died from an extreme asthma attack in February 2013.

Her mother Rosamund told the SWNS news agency that the government urgently needed to stop the use of fossil fuels.

“Lots of words and no action - and toxic pollution on our streets - is fuelling a public health crisis that is making our kids sick and threatening their futures.”

“We are calling on world leaders at Cop26 to implement the new World Health Organization guidelines, clean up our air and stop our children dying,” she added.

Young people leaving school to become ‘full-time’ climate activists, says leading protester

09:49 , Rory Sullivan

The urgency of the climate crisis has led a number of young people leaving education to become “full-time activists”, a Ugandan protester has said.

Evelyn Acham, who is part of the Rise Up movement in Africa, told the BBC: “So many young people have given up school to become full-time activists, some have given up work, some have given up going for a masters degree, just because they’re seeing the urgency of this.”

American climate campaigner Sophia Kiannia said she was “hopeful” because people like Ms Acham were taking to the streets to make their voices heard. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 people will attend today’s march.

However, Ms Kiannia was not as positive about the Cop26 summit itself, saying “we shouldn’t be overly optimistic” about its success.

Youth and Public Empowerment Day

09:33 , Rory Sullivan

Today is Youth and Public Empowerment Day at the Cop26 climate summit.

Here’s a UN video on the “unstoppable force” that young climate leaders represent.

Photo: Greenland iceberg arrives in Glasgow

09:19 , Rory Sullivan

The melting of the Arctic’s ice caps has been brought closer to delegates’ attention in Glasgow.

An iceberg from Greenland is now on display in the Scottish city, having been transported there to highlight the issue.

“We felt that negotiators here had to actually come face to face with the Arctic, so we brought the iceberg,” Professor Gail Whiteman, founder of the Arctic Basecamp climate group, said.

An iceberg from Greenland is displayed near the Cop26 summit in Glasgow. (AP)
An iceberg from Greenland is displayed near the Cop26 summit in Glasgow. (AP)

Speed up climate talks, says Cop26 president

08:56 , Rory Sullivan

The next 24 hours is vital for a successful outcome in the second week of Cop26, the president of the climate summit has said.

Alok Sharma said an extra pushed needed to be made by leaders on the fifth day of the conference.

In a note published by the UN, the British minister said it would not be possible to solve “a large number of unresolved issues” in the second week.

“In this context, I urge the Chairs, Groups and all delegations to expedite discussions over the coming 24 hours, focusing efforts on the balanced set of issues which are critical to what needs to be achieved here in Glasgow,” he said.

Pupils should not miss school for climate protests, says Zahawi

08:37 , Rory Sullivan

Young people should not miss school to protest about the climate crisis, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said.

When asked about the issue by Sky News, he said pupils should protest on Saturday and Sunday instead.

“The summit is here for at least two weekends, so I would urge children not to miss school, not to miss class - we don’t want to get into a situation where teachers and headteachers are having to issue fines for missing education,” he said.

He added that young people “are part of the solution as well as part of the pressure on world leaders”.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi (Getty Images)
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi (Getty Images)

Climate crisis victims tell their story

08:17 , Rory Sullivan

From wildfires in Australia to fatal floods in Europe and China, almost all parts of the world have been affected by extreme weather events.

At the Cop26 summit, our climate correspondent Daisy Dunne spoke to people about their experiences of the climate crisis.

Author Raphael Thelen told her about the damage this summer’s flooding caused to his mother’s community near the river Erft in Germany.

“When I got there, the river had become a raging brown stream that had just ripped apart half of the town,” he said.

“The streets were filled with broken things. The streets were filled with furniture and piled up washing machines which people had dragged out of their basement.”

‘Everything I feared coming true’: The victims of the climate crisis

UK to launch climate action award for pupils

07:57 , Rory Sullivan

Students will be recognised for their action to protect the environment in a scheme similar to the Duke of Edinburgh awards, the government has said.

The education secretary Nadhim Zahawi will give more details about the Climate Leaders Award at the Cop26 climate summit.

Depending on the level of volunteering and learning they undertake, students will be given a bronze, silver or gold award.

Mr Zahawi said sustainability needed to be part of the education system, but should also go “beyond the classroom”.

“It goes beyond the classroom - our National Education Nature Park and Climate Leaders Awards will let pupils get hands-on experience of understanding, nurturing and protecting the biodiversity around them,” he said.

Youth activists and giant iceberg in the spotlight

07:32 , Rory Sullivan

A student march and the arrival of a giant iceberg from Greenland highlighting the plight of the Arctic will be two of the main events in Glasgow on Friday.

Speaking about the demonstration, Isabelle Axelsson, 20, an activist with Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement, said: “We’re expecting lots of people to come and join us in the streets and not only youth but also adults supporting youth, and adults that want climate action.”

Elsewhere, Professor Gail Whiteman, who founded the Arctic Basecamp climate activist group, explained why an iceberg will be used to show the urgency of the climate crisis.

“€œStudies are showing that if we lose the snow and ice in the Arctic we will amplify global warming by 25 to 40 per cent,”€ she said. “€œWe felt that negotiators here had to actually come face to face with the Arctic, so we brought the iceberg.”

The iceberg was brought to England from Green via Iceland, before being trucked to Glasgow.

India’s climate action targets marred by confusion

07:10 , Stuti Mishra

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s grand announcements of climate action plans at the Cop26 summit this week helped set the world on a path towards keeping global warming within the Paris Agreement’s goals for the first time.

With India, the world’s third-largest emitter joining the net-zero group and setting ambitious emission cut targets, hopes rekindled that the world may manage to keep warming below 2C.

However, Mr Modi also left room for a lot of confusion back home that the experts in the country are grappling to find answers to.

Is India’s 50 per cent renewable target for its total consumption of installed capacity? Is the emissions-reduction target referring to carbon or total greenhouse gases? Are these commitments conditional based on the availability of climate finance like its previous targets? There is no clarity on any of these aspects; there are only conflicting statements.

The Independent analyses how the Indian prime minister’s poorly drafted speech in Glasgow lacked crucial technical details and posed as many questions as answers about India’s climate plans.

Analysis: Why Modi’s Cop26 pledges have sparked confusion in India

The key moments from Cop26 summit so far

06:43 , Stuti Mishra

With world leaders from 200 countries, along with 20,000 delegates, and tens of thousands more protesters, campaigners and pressure groups, Glasgow has become a crucible for the world’s most fundamental concerns.

Alongside the key announcements being made by governments and organisations, there are innumerable notable goings-on which inform the debate over the climate and environment, and broader international relations, which may slip by unnoticed.

The Independent’s Harry Cockburn is keeping track of these moments to help provide a broader picture of the summit.

The key moments from the Cop26 climate summit so far

Teen activists allege leaders passing on responsibility to young activists

06:15 , Stuti Mishra

Young climate activists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate spoke at a surprise panel event chaired by Emma Watson on Thursday, calling the Cop26 climate summit a “failure”.

Ms Thunberg said: “Without massive pressure from the outside, they will continue to get away with not doing anything and continue going ‘blah blah blah’ and not being held accountable.

The panel event at The New York Times Climate Hub in Glasgow also featured poet Amanda Gorman as well as a number of young environmental campaigners.

Ms Nakate told the audience the 1.5C warming target “will not be safe for communities like mine”.

She said: “Almost every activist has been called inspiring and been told that they are going to change the world. But I think that when leaders do that they are giving us the responsibility to save the world.

“They are making us responsible if it doesn’t go well, we failed to do it.”

Holly Bancroft reports.

Political leaders ‘placing burden of saving world on young activists’

‘Tiny elite appear to have a free pass to pollute’ – Oxfam

03:15 , Lamiat Sabin

Carbon footprints of the richest 1 per cent of people will in 2030 be 30 times greater than the level compatible with the 1.5C Paris Agreement goal, researchers have predicted.

The world’s wealthiest would need to cut their emissions of the greenhouse gas by around 97 per cent compared with when the Paris deal was signed in 2015, the study that was commissioned by Oxfam concludes.

Oxfam said that a “tiny elite appear to have a free pass to pollute”, and called for governments to crack down on superyachts, private jets, space travel, and stockholdings in fossil fuels.

The briefing, based on research by the Institute for European Environmental Policy and the Stockholm Environment Institute, found that by 2030 the poorest half of the global population will still emit far below the 1.5C-aligned level in 2030, and the richest 1 per cent of people – about 80 million – are set to exceed it by 30 times.

The wealthiest 10 per cent are predicted to exceed it by nine times. The middle 40 per cent of people, about 3.4 billion, are on course for emissions cuts of 9 per cent.

On average, every person on Earth would need to halve their carbon footprint, according to the study.

What is going to happen next at Cop26?

01:45 , Lamiat Sabin

Friday will be focused on youth and public empowerment in the global campaign to save the planet from further destruction.

A youth protest linked to Fridays for Future Scotland will be starting at Kelvingrove Park to march to George Square.

Greta Thunberg is expected to speak in the square at about 2pm.

At the same time, Al Gore is scheduled to discuss with Cop26 president Alok Sharma how the world can meet the Paris Agreement to keep global warming limited to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Elsewhere, protesters and artists (who are often both at the same time) are expected continue their demonstrations and eye-catching displays to call on heads of state to fulfil their environmental promises.

Bolsonaro government ‘knows rehab of Amazon good for Brazil’ – EU official

01:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government has shown new commitment to ending illegal deforestation in the Amazon, EU vice president Josep Borrell said on Thursday.

Mr Borrell met briefly with Bolsonaro on the first visit to Brazil by a senior EU representative in nine years. He also held talks with the ministers of environment and foreign affairs.

“The will is there, because the ministers know that it will be good for Brazil to put an end to illegal exploitation of the Amazon rainforest,” he told Reuters by telephone.

At the UN Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow this week, Brazil joined more than 100 countries that committed to ending deforestation by 2030.

Brazil is home to 60 per cent of the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest, but its destruction has soared since Bolsonaro took office in 2019.

Mr Borrell said Brazil’s commitment to the global pledge to cut methane gas emissions, which Brazilian agriculture generates in large quantities, was another step in the right direction.

“We need Brazil in the global effort to fight climate change. The world needs Brazil,” he said.

The EU is the main destination for timber illegally cut down in the Amazon, which is often shipped with false documents for the origin of the wood.

Mr Borrell said the EU is prepared to tighten verification of papers for wood imported from Brazil to crack down on an illegal trade worth billions of dollars a year.

Biden’s aide tests positive for Covid

00:15 , Lamiat Sabin

An aide of US president Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid.

The person had been travelling with Mr Biden to Rome and then to Glasgow for the Cop26 conference, it has been confirmed by his administration.

The fully-vaccinated aide is asymptomatic and is remaining in Scotland to quarantine while undergoing additional tests.

They tested positive with a lateral flow test issued at the UN climate summit.

Mr Biden had tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, the White House said.

The White House said that a few staff members who were in close contact with the individual did not return to the US with Mr Biden aboard Air Force One, and instead flew home on a different government plane.

Prince Charles says it would be ‘difficult’ for him to join protest

Thursday 4 November 2021 23:45 , Lamiat Sabin

Greta Thunberg’s fellow climate protesters are understood to have invited the Prince of Wales to a protest – but he said that taking part would be “difficult”.

The Swedish climate activist has urged people to join the climate strike protest tomorrow as part of her Fridays for Future marches.

PA has reported that a Cop26 youth group is said to have asked the prince to join them.

Speaking from Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Prince Charles told negotiators: “There’s a lot of anger and a lot of frustration. There’s a big march tomorrow, which some people have said I should join – that’s more difficult – but the point is, please don’t forget these people out there. Don’t forget that it’s their future.”

‘Biden entourage in convoy of 23-plus cars and helicopter’ – video

Thursday 4 November 2021 23:00 , Lamiat Sabin

It appears the US President is unable or unwilling to travel light during Cop26 as he has been chauffeured around Scotland in a convoy of at least 23 cars plus a helicopter – according to a member of the public.

A Twitter user with the name Robbie Corbett said Joe Biden passed by Livingston on his way to the climate conference.

He pointed out the dissonance of the president attending a climate summit with many staff taxiied around in many cars.

Mr Biden’s convoy of cars has also been seen a number of times driving through Glasgow since the conference started.

New Zealand has increased climate aid to 1.3bn NZ dollars

Thursday 4 November 2021 22:50 , Lamiat Sabin

Jacinda Ardern reiterated New Zealand’s announcement last month that the country has increased its climate aid commitment to 1.3 billion NZ dollars (£683 million).

Appearing via video link at the CBI industry event this evening, the NZ PM said the revised sum “represents a quadrupling of the climate aid we provide to the countries most affected by the climate crisis”.

She said this includes countries in the Pacific region, where the majority of the support will go.

 (PA)
(PA)

Ms Ardern said New Zealand is the first country in the world to pass a law that introduces mandatory climate-related reporting for the financial sector, and urged countries including the UK to follow suit.

Also, she added that New Zealand’s free trade agreement with the UK is her country’s first bilateral trade agreement to include specific articles on climate change and sustainable agriculture.

“The deal includes agreement to take steps to eliminate harmful fossil fuel subsidies where they exist, and to support the transition to clean energy,” Ms Ardern said.

“Beyond climate change, prohibitions have been agreed on subsidies that contribute to overfishing as well as on subsidies for those engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

“And over 260 environmentally beneficial products, such as solar power panels and bicycles, will have tariffs eliminated, the largest list of environment goods ever agreed in a bilateral free trade agreement.”

Minister: World will turn ‘into a hell’ if global warming continues

Thursday 4 November 2021 22:40 , Lamiat Sabin

Kwasi Kwarteng has said that “we will turn our world into a hell if we do not tackle climate change”.

The business secretary, speaking after John Kerry at the CBI dinner, said: “The net-zero agenda, critical as it is to our future, does not mean that we have to somehow regress into a pre-industrial poverty.

“We can grow our economy sensibly, just in the way that Secretary Kerry described, through innovation, through enterprise and through what I would call creative investment

“We understand in the marrow of our bones that going green is good for business and, as the Prime Minister said, green is good and it’s absolutely fundamental to our message.”

Mr Kerry, the US climate envoy, said that humanity will not be able to “fundamentally cope” with the effects of global warming.

Decarbonisation ‘big bet’ for post-Brexit business, says CBI boss

Thursday 4 November 2021 22:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Earlier, the boss of the Confederation of British Industry – where heads of state have taken it in turns to address business delegates from the UK – has said that decarbonisation is the “big bet” after Brexit.

Tony Danker said at the CBI-hosted dinner tonight: “Here in the UK, post-Brexit, post-Covid, decarbonisation is our big bet.

“It is bringing substance to the Prime Minister’s levelling-up agenda by bringing higher value industries and jobs to different corners of our country.

“It gives new definition to the idea of global Britain. We can and we will export to the world our new green products and services.”

‘Climate change will continue to cause severe hardships’ – Kerry

Thursday 4 November 2021 21:50 , Lamiat Sabin

The US’ climate envoy has warned that climate change is going to bring challenges that humanity does not know “how to fundamentally cope with”.

 (PA)
(PA)

Speaking at a CBI dinner in Glasgow, he said: “Already we have millions of people moving around looking for alternative places to live, but what would happen in 2C or 3C (of warming) is beyond comprehension.”

He continued: “The fact is we will see changes that we don’t even know how to fundamentally cope with – where disease spreads even more easily.

“When we see what happens now to nations – with the fires and the floods and mudslides, water drying up now in the western parts of the US and the Hoover Dam lower than it has been since 1937.”

Mr Kerry said: “We had people dying in their basement in a storm last month in New York, 150 people froze to death in Texas because of the implications of a lack of proper infrastructure development for adaptation and resilience purposes.”

Climate finance to be paid to poorer countries a year earlier than expected

Thursday 4 November 2021 21:40 , Lamiat Sabin

Developed nations will be able to deliver £70 billion ($100bn) of climate finance to developing countries by 2022, John Kerry has said.

Heads of state had promised to deliver the funding by 2020, but latest estimates suggested that targets would not be reached until 2023.

US climate envoy Mr Kerry said: “No Cop in history has had the feel of what I feel in Glasgow here today – new energy, new urgency, a new sense of possibility, and we have never had as much corporate presence and commitment as we have today.

“I believe that we are going to be able to raise the ambition beyond anything we imagined – already we have finance that is very significant.”

He cited commitments by Japan to put £7bn ($10bn) into efforts to lower global temperatures over the next five years, allowing a further £6bn ($8bn) in private finance to be leveraged.

Mr Kerry added: “That means for 2022 we now have the full 100 billion dollars we wanted to have, and 100 billion going forward, so we take that issue off the table.

“My friends, you have seen a revolution here before you in this community, you are now leading the largest economic transformation in the world.”

US climate envoy tells British firms to back renewable energy

Thursday 4 November 2021 21:30 , Lamiat Sabin

John Kerry told British businesses that “everybody is going to have to be part of this transition” to renewable energy.

Speaking at the CBI dinner, the US climate envoy said the nation was partnering with the UAE to help India deliver 450 gigawatts of renewable energy in the next eight years.

He said: “We are going to bring the finance and we are going to bring the technology – we have appointed a full-time person to be on the ground in India to hold hands and lock them into those deals and bring that money to the table.”

Mr Kerry added: “That’s how we’re going to do it folks, no automatic pilot here – everybody is going to have to be part of this transition.

“But businesses more than anybody is the one entity that we really need at the table this time to make the difference.”

US ‘not as bad as you think on climate even when Trump was at the helm’

Thursday 4 November 2021 21:19 , Lamiat Sabin

John Kerry, the US’ climate envoy, has claimed that America has “kept moving forward” in attempts to tackle climate change even during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Speaking at a dinner hosted by the Confederation of British Industry, he said: “I said this at the time but none of us who were leaving Paris could have guaranteed to our citizens to hold the earth’s temperature to 2C, let alone 1.5C.

“We knew we weren’t, but we weren’t faking – what we knew we were doing was bringing 195 countries together to galvanise action and to send a message to you, to the private sector that 195 countries are going to create a market, we’re going to do something different.”

Mr Kerry said Mr Trump’s presidency had “stopped the money from flowing” but added that the actions of individual mayors and governors “kept America moving forward”.

He continued: “We are not quite as bad as you think we are – in fact 75% of new electricity that has come on line in the last few years has come from renewable energy.”

Sunak says he hopes he’s showing his kids that he’s ‘trying to save the tigers’

Thursday 4 November 2021 20:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Rishi Sunak has said that the Cop26 climate change conference for him is about “reassuring my kids that I am doing what I can to save the tigers”.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Confederation of British Industry in Glasgow, the Chancellor said in a pre-recorded video: “[The conference] means something different for all of us but for me it’s about two things – preparing our economy and reassuring my kids that I’m doing what I can to save the tigers.”

 (PA)
(PA)

He continued: “It is clearer than ever that this will need a collective effort with governments, financial institutions, businesses and people working together.

“Already a massive transformation in our financial systems is under way, with trillions of pounds of finance being mobilised for a green industrial revolution.”

He added: “This is only possible because governments are working hand in hand with the private sector.”

UN ‘refuses to say how many Cop26 delegates have Covid'

Thursday 4 November 2021 19:39 , Lamiat Sabin

The UN has reportedly refused to state how many delegates have contracted Covid at the Cop26 conference.

Officials say case numbers at the conference are “not substantial” and are lower than in the general population – according to the i newspaper.

It comes after reports that a number of people – such as LA mayor Eric Garcetti – have tested positive for the virus this week.

More than 100 police officers have been forced to isolate with suspected Covid or are awaiting PCR results, the Daily Mail reports.

At least 30,000 people from 200 countries have attended the UN’s climate change conference in Glasgow.

Sturgeon checks out ‘revolutionary’ indoor tower farm

Thursday 4 November 2021 18:46 , Lamiat Sabin

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has gone to view a vertical farm showcased at Cop26.

Scottish company Intelligent Growth Solutions has developed a system of suspending the towers from the ceiling of any structure to “revolutionise” the indoor growing market.

 (PA)
(PA)

The company has just announced that is has received more than £42 million from equity-based funds.

The towers are nine-metres-high and consist of boxes stacked above the ones with gaps of 30cm.

The conditions of plant growth can be fully controlled with heat and light settings, the company – which sells the towers to farmers – says on its website.

Ed Miliband warns against ‘letting big emitters off the hook’

Thursday 4 November 2021 18:23 , Lamiat Sabin

Countries must not “shift the goalposts” at Cop26 by focusing on long-term targets instead of urgent national action, Ed Miliband has warned.

The shadow business secretary, who is at the summit in Glasgow, said the central issue should be closing the gap between the action countries were taking and the cuts needed to emissions to avoid global warming.

Focusing on other things risked letting the big greenhouse gas emitters “let off the hook”, the former Labour leader said.

It comes as heads of state have agreed pacts on forests, finance and coal.

Mr Miliband said there has been some “significant progress” on tackling climate change in recent years but that it is “still significantly inadequate.”

He told the PA news agency: “We can’t have shifting of the goalposts. Neither the net zero targets for the middle of the century nor the sectoral announcements can be allowed to let the big emitters off the hook.”

Insulate Britain putting police in sticky situations – continued

Thursday 4 November 2021 18:00 , Lamiat Sabin

A picture has emerged of an Insulate Britain protester having glued his hand to a police van today.

Earlier, we reported that about 40 demonstrators blocked traffic in Parliament Square this morning by gluing themselves to the road.

Met Police have arrested 34 people following the protest after specialist teams were dispatched to get them unstuck.

Read the full report here:

Insulate Britain protesters glue their hands and feet to road outside parliament

Summary of key events so far

Thursday 4 November 2021 17:40 , Lamiat Sabin

Cop26 so far has been a blend of crucial international climate change pacts, some eye-catching protest costumes, and accusations of hypocrisy levelled at heads of state.

Here’s Harry Cockburn with a quick recap

The key moments from the Cop26 climate summit so far

Sturgeon dismisses claims of strikebreaking during Cop26

Thursday 4 November 2021 17:20 , Lamiat Sabin

FM Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed claims that Glasgow City Council are attempting to break a strike during Cop26.

Waste collectors and street cleaners are taking industrial action during the conference over a dispute about pay.

GMB union is accusing the council of plotting to draft in agency workers to break the strike action.

During First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Labour MSP for the Glasgow region Paul Sweeney said that “bussing in blackleg private contractors to try to break the strike is disgraceful and a paltry short-term fix to this long-running dispute.”

Ms Sturgeon dismissed claims of anti-strike action, adding: “The council do have a concern about Bonfire Night posing an additional fire risk if rubbish is not collected.

“So what they are considering is cover to mitigate these risks. What they are not considering is using contractors to fulfil the regular duties of striking staff.”

‘Climate crisis effects gender equality,’ stress young activists

Thursday 4 November 2021 17:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Malala Yousafzai, Vanessa Nakate and Leah Thomas have urged world leaders to listen to marginalised women and people of colour who are on the front line of the climate crisis.

The young activists spoke at a New York Times fringe event near the Cop26 conference in Glasgow.

They said politicians and negotiators at the global gathering should stop using false praise as a way to pass on the responsibility of tackling global warming to the younger generations.

Full story here by my colleague Holly Bancroft

Political leaders ‘placing burden of saving world on young activists’

Pikachu protest against Japan’s backing of coal

Thursday 4 November 2021 16:40 , Lamiat Sabin

Protesters dressed as Pikachu have gathered opposite the Cop26 conference to demand that Japan ends it support for coal power.

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(PA)

A group called No Coal Japan say that the nation is continuing to finance coal plants in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

190 countries have agreed a new pact to phase out use of coal – but Japan, China, India and Australia did not sign.

Pikachu, based on the rabbit-like mammal pika, is a character in the Pokemon cartoon series that has become an international icon of Japanese pop culture since its inception in the late 90s.

LA mayor tests positive for Covid after meeting heads of state

Thursday 4 November 2021 16:20 , Lamiat Sabin

The mayor of Los Angeles has tested positive for coronavirus a day after attending a breakfast with Boris Johnson, leaders of the UK’s devolved nations, and other heads of state.

Mayor Eric Garcetti is now isolating in his hotel in Glasgow.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford hosted the event in the Cop26 blue zone on Tuesday along with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Paul Givan and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.

A message on the official mayor of Los Angeles Twitter account posted on Wednesday afternoon said: “Mayor Garcetti tested positive for COVID-19 earlier today.

“He is feeling good and isolating in his hotel room. He is fully vaccinated.”

Everyone attending the blue zone must take a lateral flow test each morning and increased hygiene procedures are in place at the venue.

Something fishy going on in ‘corrupt’ seafood industry

Thursday 4 November 2021 16:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Ocean Rebellion have taken to dressing as bleeding fish in suits to protest against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Images show the three protesters, each clutching a dead fish, standing in a pool of bloody muddy water while other members of the Extinction Rebellion-linked group hold placards saying “no more fish in the sea” and “as the sea dies we die”.

The campaign is against ocean degradation, and “corrupt and destructive industrial fishing”.

 (PA)
(PA)

On the group’s Facebook page, it says: “Protestors are demanding that the MSC stops selling lies to supermarket shoppers.

“Currently the [MSC] makes no distinction between industrial fishing methods and artisan fishing methods on its labelling.

“The Marine Stewardship Council allows its members to obtain their certification by paying to join.

“The campaigners contend this undermines the objectivity of the certification and makes it inherently corrupt.”

‘Just’ transition from coal ‘relies on workers, unions and firms’

Thursday 4 November 2021 15:40 , Lamiat Sabin

Cop26 president and Cabinet Office minister Alok Sharma said that approved plans for a fair transition away from fossil fuels will depend upon involvement of workers, trade unions and local businesses.

He spoke after announcing a declaration from a coalition of 190 countries, businesses and international lenders at the climate summit.

Mr Sharma said: “Specifically in terms of the declaration – the effort for a just transition – that’s been signed, it covers everything from the quality of new jobs created through to international projects.”

He continued: “It covers support for local social dialogue mechanisms that bring together all parties and I think, very importantly, local trade unions and businesses.

“It is about getting their help, also, to design a green, and what we describe as a fair, future.”

First days of negotiations show ‘reasonably good’ signs

Thursday 4 November 2021 15:21 , Lamiat Sabin

The European Union’s chief negotiator at Cop26 said that the first days of negotiations have resulted in some promising early signs.

Jacob Werksman said: “It’s a bit early to say whether we’re on track for a fully successful COP, but the early signs seem reasonably good.”

He added that envoys now had negotiating texts for each of the key issues they would attempt to finish the rules on – including talks on transparency and carbon markets.

PA

Coal deal sees 77 countries pledge to end dirty fuel – but not India or China

Thursday 4 November 2021 14:49 , Tom Batchelor

Alok Sharma has said 77 countries have pledged to phase out coal as hailed Cop26 as helping to end use of the world’s most widely used fuel.

Thos 77 countries have signed a pledge to phase out coal-fuelled power plants - which produce more than 35% of the world’s electricity - and stop building new ones.

“Today I think we can say that the end of coal is in sight,” Mr Sharma told the conference.

But the list published on Thursday have left out both India and China, which is home to almost half the over 2,600 coal-fired plants operating or under construction around the world.

It also contains no commitment to stop financing new plants.

Greta Thunberg calls Cop26 a ‘failure’

Thursday 4 November 2021 14:32 , Tom Batchelor

Climate activist Greta Thunberg is speaking at a panel event hosted by actress Emma Watson, reportedly calling Cop26 a “failure”.

Starmer says still ‘long, long way to go’

Thursday 4 November 2021 14:26 , Tom Batchelor

Sir Keir Starmer said the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow needed to reach a global agreement to set out how to reduce emissions by 2030 because if those targets were missed, he would fear that goals for 2050 would not be achieved either.

He told Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2: “Cop is very, very important. Obviously, the most important conference we’ve had in many, many years.

“We all want it to succeed. There’s a long, long way to go.

“I’m afraid we do have to put our foot down and say coal’s got to go. And the sooner we do that, the better and some of the advances on deforestation the other day and on coal are a step in right direction.

“I have to say, our ability to argue on the world stage that we should stop using coal is undermined by the Government not, or at least flirting with the idea of opening a coal mine in Cumbria which would be a completely wrong step.

“So we need to end coal but we do need obviously safe, secure forms of energy and the sooner we can get on to those safe, secure forms, the better.

“There is on hydrogen, on wind farms etc, we have the potential, we should be moving ahead as quickly as we can in that direction.

“What we need out of Cop, it obviously ends towards the end of next week, is a clear set of plans across the globe that set out in terms ‘how do we reduce emissions by 2030?’.

“Because if we miss that date, in this crucial decade, I fear we won’t get to where we need to in 2050.”

First cracks appear in Cop26 forests deal, says Greenpeace

Thursday 4 November 2021 14:17 , Tom Batchelor

More than 100 world leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade.

However Indonesia, home to huge tropical rainforests, said Monday’s agreement was at odds with its own development plans.

Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, released a statement on social media in which she said “forcing Indonesia to zero deforestation in 2030 is clearly inappropriate and unfair”.

Responding, Kiki Taufik, global head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Indonesian forests campaign said: “The minister’s statement - that comes just one day after President Jokowi signed the COP26 Forests Deal - is profoundly disappointing. It’s clear where her loyalties lie.

“She should be at the vanguard of ensuring all Indonesian citizens can enjoy their right to an intact and healthy environment as mandated in the Indonesian Constitution.

“For Indonesia to have a minister for environment who supports large scale developments with clear potential for environmental destruction is deplorable. Rather than ensuring we protect the planet for future generations, this is doing the opposite.

“Do we need to remind the minister that we are in the midst of a climate crisis? If we do not take immediate action to stop deforestation and the emissions occurring daily from peat drainage for industrial plantations, we will not achieve our emissions reductions goals, let alone fulfil President Jokowi’s stated goal of becoming a net carbon sink by 2030.”

What have climate activists been saying about the Cop26 summit so far?

Thursday 4 November 2021 13:52 , Tom Batchelor

Vanessa Nakate, climate justice activist, Uganda:

“So far this week, we have heard a lot of words from world leaders. They have signed some deals, but we know this is not enough. Protests like this are putting huge pressure on the people in power, and we know that we must grow this movement so the change we need to keep current and future generations safe is inevitable”.

Elizabeth Wathuti, climate and nature activist, Kenya:

“On Monday, I stood in front of world leaders in Glasgow and asked them to open their hearts to the people on the frontlines of the climate crisis. I asked them to take their historic responsibility seriously and to take serious action here. So far they haven’t, but the thousands of voices on the streets this weekend will make sure they are listening”.

Nicki Becker, co-founder of Jovenes por El Clima, Argentina:The debt is with us. The debt is with the young people who are and will suffer the consequences. The debt is with countries from the global south who are already suffering because of this crisis. But no matter what happened at this COP, we will make history. Because the solution to the climate crisis is not there. Hope is not the COP, hope is in us, it is in the movement. And it is not a hope empty of content, it is a hope full of action.”

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, climate justice activist, Philippines

“This UN Climate Summit we’re once again seeing world leaders saying big words and big promises. We need drastic carbon dioxide emission cuts, reparations from the Global North to the Global South to use for adaptation and to manage loss and damages, and we need to put an end to the fossil fuel industry, creative accounting of emissions and the excessive reliance on carbon offsetting. This is why the youth will strike once again because we refuse to compromise on our lives.”

Kevin Mtai, climate justice activist and environmentalist, Kenya:

“I will participate in the climate strike on Friday with my Friday For Future colleagues to pressure world leaders and COP26 organisers to act now by including indigenous voices, youths and people from the most affected areas. We are tired of fighting against the current ‘normal’ - the ‘normal’ we have is unviable, unsustainable and not enough. We need to change. Change the system and the mindset. We need to put people over profit.”

Sharma reveals Cop Covid cases

Thursday 4 November 2021 13:48 , Tom Batchelor

Cop organisers have acknowledged Covid cases at Cop26 after the mayor of LA tested positive, our climate correspondent Daisy Dunne reports from the UK Cop press conference.

Alok Sharma, the Cop26 president, said: “I think the way I put it is that we will reflect on what further information will be put out on this in future days.

“And there’s a very important issue. I can say to you that certainly based on the numbers that I’ve seen, the Covid case rates in the blue zone is significantly lower than in the general public in Scotland.

“I hope we will have a think about how we present this but I hope when you see the numbers come forward, you will be encouraged positively.”

Carbon offsetting ‘a new form of colonialism,’ says Indigenous leader

Thursday 4 November 2021 13:39 , Tom Batchelor

The leader of an Indigenous grassroots movement has denounced carbon offsetting, dubbing it “part of a system that privatizes the air that we breathe”.

“It allows polluters to buy and sell permits to pollute instead of cutting emissions at the source,” Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, told The Independent at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

“It lets governments and corporations pretend they are doing something about climate change, when they are not.”

Read the full interview with our senior climate correspondent, Louise Boyle, here:

Carbon offsetting ‘a new form of colonialism,’ says Indigenous leader at Cop26

Fridays For Future climate strike tomorrow

Thursday 4 November 2021 13:27 , Tom Batchelor

On Friday, Fridays For Future will hold a march and rally in Glasgow, with prominent youth activists including Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate set to speak.

The demonstration will culminate in George Square at around 2pm where the climate campaigners will address the crowd.

Organisers expect tens of thousands to attend, including members of the GMB Union, who represent striking bin workers in Glasgow and accepted an invitation from Greta Thunberg to attend the march.

The event will start at 11am in Kelvingrove Park and finish by 5pm in George Square.

Johnson flew from Cop26 to dine with climate sceptic at members’ club

Thursday 4 November 2021 13:16 , Tom Batchelor

Boris Johnson has been accused of “staggering hypocrisy” after he took a private jet back from the Cop26 climate summit to attend a private members’ club dinner in London.

The Tuesday night dinner at The Garrick Club in the West End was for a reunion of Daily Telegraph journalists. The PM, a former Telegraph columnist, was pictured leaving the club at around 10pm, escorted to the door by Lord Charles Moore, his former editor at the paper.

Here is the story:

Boris Johnson took private jet from Cop26 to dine at members’ club

Why Modi’s climate pledges have sparked confusion in India

Thursday 4 November 2021 13:05 , Tom Batchelor

Narendra Modi’s promise of a net-zero future and increased renewable energy came as a welcome surprise at the Cop26 summit and helped set the world on a path towards global warming within the Paris agreement’s goals for the first time, writes Stuti Mishra.

However, the Indian prime minister’s speech also left room for a lot of confusion and lacked crucial technical details.

Since the announcement earlier this week, conflicting statements from Mr Modi and the country’s ministry have triggered widespread confusion around the promises, especially related to energy consumption since Indiafulfils 70 per cent of its requirements from coal, which the PM said his country could be looking at phasing out within years.

Here is Stuti’s analysis:

Analysis: Why Modi’s Cop26 pledges have sparked confusion in India

IEA says climate pledges ‘extremely encouraging’ with world on course for 1.8C rise

Thursday 4 November 2021 12:51 , Tom Batchelor

More on the IEA analysis which has suggested the world could limit temperature rises to 1.8C following pledges made at Cop26.

Fatih Birol, the boss of the International Energy Agency, said progress at the talks had been “extremely encouraging”.

He told an audience at Cop26 on Thursday: “In the last few days we have heard several pledges and commitments from countries, in terms of their net-zero emissions by 2050 - some of them are a bit longer term.

“We also heard that more than 100 countries have pledged to reduce their methane emissions.

“Yesterday night I asked my colleagues... to run our models once again. What would it mean if all the pledges announced as of yesterday night were to be implemented, where are we in terms of temperature increases?

“The result is extremely encouraging. If all the pledges on carbon neutrality and methane pledges were to be fully implemented we would have a temperature increase trajectory which is 1.8C. This is excellent.”

Dr Birol said a new global energy economy is emerging where countries are competing with each other.

“They are not only driven by the climate concerns, they are driven by the economics, technological advancements, and they are going very strong,” he said.

LA mayor tests positive for Covid at Cop

Thursday 4 November 2021 12:30 , Tom Batchelor

The mayor of Los Angeles has tested positive for coronavirus a day after attending a breakfast with the PM, the leaders of the UK’s devolved nations and a host of other heads of government, reports the PA news agency.

Mayor Eric Garcetti is now isolating in his hotel.

Boris Johnson made a brief appearance at the event on Tuesday in the blue zone at Cop26 in Glasgow.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford hosted the event along with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Paul Givan and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.

A message on the official mayor of Los Angeles Twitter account posted on Wednesday afternoon said: “Mayor Garcetti tested positive for Covid-19 earlier today.

“He is feeling good and isolating in his hotel room. He is fully vaccinated.”

Among those in attendance at the breakfast were the prime ministers of Norway, Sweden, Barbados and Vietnam, as well as UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

The presidents of Armenia, Costa Rica and Zambia also took part, as well as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken.

Opinion | Cathy Newman: I’ve bumped into DiCaprio, Bezos and Modi – Cop26 is politics at its strangest

Thursday 4 November 2021 12:22 , Tom Batchelor

I thought the Cop26 summit had reached peak weirdness when the Beast - the American presidential limo - swept past a Greggs on the back streets of Glasgow. Then I saw a picture tweeted by a Zimbabwean government spokesman showing his fellow country folk cramming Scottish whisky into trolleys at a local branch of Costco, writes Cathy Newman.

And in between - take your pick here - I bumped into the heir to the throne, his son, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, Hollywood A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio or billionaires Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates as they strolled just a couple of feet from my microphone. Not that they deigned to speak to me of course.

Read her piece here:

I’ve bumped into DiCaprio and Bezos, Cop26 is politics at its oddest | Cathy Newman

Cost of adapting to climate change up to 10x higher than money being spent, finds report

Thursday 4 November 2021 12:12 , Tom Batchelor

The cost of adapting to climate change is between five and 10 times higher than the money currently being spent, research has found, despite funding hitting $79.6bn (£58bn) in 2019.

The UN Environment Programme (Unep) warned that on the current trajectory, the cost of adapting to extreme weather could be between $140bn and $300bn for developed countries by 2030.

This figure rises to between $280bn and $500bn for developing countries by the middle of the century.

In the Adaptation Gap Report: The Gathering Storm, Unep warned that even if warming is limited to 1.5C the impacts of climate change, such as wildfires and floods, will last for decades.

Read our story on it here:

Cost of climate crisis in developing world to far exceed aid, says UN report

Met Police make 38 arrests during Insulate Britain protest

Thursday 4 November 2021 11:59 , Tom Batchelor

The Met Police have arrested dozens of people following a protest in Parliament Square.

In a statement, the force said: “We are continuing to respond to a protest in Parliament Square this morning where a number of activists have sat on the road, blocking traffic. Officers are on scene and are working as quickly as possible to get traffic flowing again.

“Around 40 activists have used superglue to stick to the ground, frustrating and delaying our response. Specialist teams are on scene and train for this scenario. They are working to remove any glue and make arrests. This process can take time.

“Insulate Britain have the right to assemble and protest, however they do not have the right to cause serious disruption to London and prevent others from going about their business. We will provide further updates in due course.

“At this time, officers have made 34 arrests in response to this protest. Units were immediately on scene following the initial protest. Bridge Street will be cleared shortly and officers remain on scene working to remove further obstructions.”

Time for Cop parties to get ‘serious’ about tackling climate change, says expert

Thursday 4 November 2021 11:50 , Tom Batchelor

Oxford University’s Dr Sarah Darby, deputy leader of lower carbon futures group at the Environmental Change Institute, has called for Cop delegates to get “serious” about funding regions and cities to enact change at a local level.

She said: “From now on, we need to see more serious moves among the Cop parties to activate and fund regions and cities to make change happen on the ground, with public support.

“Learning how to live sustainably is a long process, time is precious, and there’s surely a limit to how much the Cop [delegates] need to spend arguing about targets.”

‘Historic’ step in turning off funding taps for fossil fuel projects

Thursday 4 November 2021 11:40 , Tom Batchelor

Twenty countries have committed at Cop26 to stop public financing for fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of next year, and steer their spending into clean energy instead.

Campaigners called the commitment a “historic” step in turning off the funding taps for fossil fuel projects. But it did not include major Asian countries responsible for the bulk of such financing abroad.

By covering all fossil fuels, including oil and gas, the deal goes further than a pledge made by G20 countries this year to halt overseas financing for just coal.

The 20 countries that signed the pledge include the US, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Finland, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gambia, New Zealand and the Marshall Islands, plus five development institutions including the European Investment Bank and the East African Development Bank.

“We will end new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022,” they said in a declaration.

Cop26 pledges would limit warming to 1.8C, says IEA

Thursday 4 November 2021 11:30 , Tom Batchelor

The International Energy Agency has produced analysis which suggests the world would see a temperature rise of 1.8C following Cop26 pledges, down from the 2.7C mooted before the summit and the 1.9C put forward by University of Melbourne researchers on Wednesday.

More on this as we get it.

Southwest England the ‘Costa Del Solar' of the UK

Thursday 4 November 2021 11:22 , Tom Batchelor

Southwest England is the “Costa Del Solar” of the UK, generating the most solar power per sq km and is host to three of the nation’s most productive solar farms, according to a new report.

The Weather Energy Report reveals that Plymouth is Britain’s sunniest city with the potential to generate more solar power than any other city across the country.

Scotland is home to the nation’s biggest onshore windfarms and top source of tidal power

Wales delivers the most hydro power from a single location – the Llyn Brianne Dam

Hornsea off the North Yorkshire coast takes the crown as producing the most off-shore wind energy in Britain’s - generating three times as much energy as any other location.

The Weather Energy Report, commissioned by Smart Energy GB to raise awareness of the hidden power in the great British weather, is fronted by climate change activist Chris Packham, who is currently attending Cop26.

Packham said: “Britain is blessed with four distinct seasons with clear changes in the weather, which is full of energy, notably the wind and - although it feels rare – the sunshine.

“But our outdated energy system needs upgrading if it’s going to be able to convert more of this clean, renewable energy into electricity we can all use.

“That modern, flexible system will have smart meters at its heart. So, if you want to help reduce our country’s reliance on fossil fuels and hit our carbon emission targets then getting a smart meter is an easy place to start!”

Smart Energy GB is the government-backed campaign encouraging people to use smart meters to save money and help the environment.

Dozens of Insulate Britain protesters glue hands and feet to floor outside parliament

Thursday 4 November 2021 11:12 , Tom Batchelor

Around 50 Insulate Britain protesters have glued their hands and feet to the floor outside parliament on Thursday.

Demonstrators blocked two roads Parliament Square, with police working to remove protesters who had stuck themselves to the ground.

Activists wearing orange high-vis jackets sat cross-legged in the road, while one man lay flat on the pavement.

Read the full report here:

Insulate Britain protesters glue their hands and feet to road outside parliament

XR protests planned for Home Office building in Glasgow

Thursday 4 November 2021 10:59 , Tom Batchelor

Another Extinction Rebellion protest is expected outside the Home Office building in Cessnock, Glasgow, on Thursday, while there will be other large marches through the city on Friday and Saturday.

On Wednesday evening, Police Scotland said five arrests had been made at the demonstration, including two after officers were sprayed with paint.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “We will provide a proportionate policing response to any protest and it is therefore extremely disappointing that officers were assaulted by having paint sprayed in their faces.

“These officers were simply doing their job and trying to protect people and keep them safe.”

Mr Ritchie said a group of protesters were “contained” around St Vincent Street in order to protect public safety, before being allowed to move towards the Cop26 site within a police cordon.

 (PA)
(PA)

Global gas crisis no excuse to fall back on coal, says EU energy commissioner

Thursday 4 November 2021 10:47 , Tom Batchelor

EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson has said pressures being felt in the global gas supply chain should not deter nations from phasing out coal use.

Instead, she said, it should spur countries to press for clean energy solutions.

“The current situation on the energy markets is no reason to pause the coal exit,” Ms Simson told the United Nations Cop26 climate summit.

“On the contrary it shows the urgency to accelerate the roll out of clean energy solutions and dramatically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”

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