Cop26 Glasgow – live: Boris Johnson admits ‘no chance’ to limit temperature rise to 1.5C at climate summit

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·62-min read
Cop26 Glasgow – live: Boris Johnson admits ‘no chance’ to limit temperature rise to 1.5C at climate summit
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that there is “no chance” of reaching an agreement to prevent runaway climate change at Cop26 , given countries’ current carbon-cutting pledges.

Speaking at the G20 summit in Rome, he said: “Where we stand today, there is no chance of us stopping climate change next week.

“There is no chance of us getting an agreement next week to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees.

“What we could conceivably do if everybody gets their act together, what we could do, is get an agreement that means that Cop26 in Glasgow is a way station that allows us to end climate change,” he added.

The prime minister’s gloomy comments follow a failed attempt to persuade Chinese premier Xi Jinping to reach peak CO2 emissions ahead of schedule – in 2025 – rather than in 2030, as is China’s current plan. As China is the world’s largest CO2 emitter, and Mr Jinping will not be attending the climate summit, it seems unlikely that a deal preventing global temperature from rising more than 1.5C since industrialisation levels will be possible.

The climate summit is set to begin on Sunday in Glasgow, where 196 world leaders and some 20,000 delegates will come together to commit to reducing carbon emissions in hopes of avoiding a climate catastrophe.

Read More

How Boris Johnson went from climate sceptic to eco-warrior

What needs to be achieved at Cop26, according to climate scientists

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

Key Points

  • Sign our petition calling for ‘meaningful action’ on climate change

  • Boris Johnson says he told China’s president to act quicker on climate...

  • ... while Xi Jinping insists that China’s cuts to carbon emissions will be ‘gradual'

  • Ship used as Cop26 accommodation to run on fossil fuels

  • Politicians must use Cop26 to give ‘concrete hope’ to future generations, says pope

  • ‘No chance’ of limiting temperature rise to 1.5C in Glasgow, Boris Johnson admits

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 07:00 , Stuti Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

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

What has changed since Cop25?

Thursday 28 October 2021 07:30 , Stuti Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

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

Floods hit Glasgow days before Cop26

Thursday 28 October 2021 08:37 , Stuti Mishra

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

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

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

How Cop26 summit will affect travel in Glasgow

Thursday 28 October 2021 09:12 , Stuti Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 09:45 , Stuti Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 10:01 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 10:19 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

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

Attenborough: Use Montreal protocol as template for success at Cop26

Thursday 28 October 2021 10:35 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 10:50 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 11:11 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

Ouch.

China to present ‘updated climate plans today'

Thursday 28 October 2021 11:25 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

Two Olympians among XR protesters blockading oil refinery

Thursday 28 October 2021 11:40 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

My colleague Alastair Jamieson reports:

Olympians join Extinction Rebellion oil refinery protest

Britain drafts Cop26 deal on global aviation emissions

Thursday 28 October 2021 11:55 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

What does Cop26 stand for and why does it matter?

Thursday 28 October 2021 12:05 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

What does Cop26 stand for and why does it matter?

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 12:20 , Matt Mathers

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

Here’s the full schedule of events:

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

Will presidents Xi and China attend Cop26?

Thursday 28 October 2021 12:40 , Matt Mathers

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

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

More below from my colleague Joe Sommerlad:

Will China’s Xi Jinping attend Cop26?

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:04 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

 (PA)
(PA)

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

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

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

UK Environment Bill won’t pass parliament before Cop26

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:20 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

A message for Cop26 – from deep within the Amazon rainforest

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:35 , Matt Mathers

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

Read Donnachadh’s full dispatch below:

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

EU launches project with South Africa to speed up ending coal

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:45 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 13:59 , Matt Mathers

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

Our environment correspondent Harry Cockburn reports:

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 14:04 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 14:15 , Matt Mathers

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

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

Sunak made wrong choice on slashing flight duty, Sturgeon says

Thursday 28 October 2021 14:55 , Matt Mathers

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

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

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

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

China offers little new with climate plan

Thursday 28 October 2021 15:20 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 15:40 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 16:05 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

Big Oil CEOs to testify before Congress

Thursday 28 October 2021 16:28 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

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

People expect decisive action against climate change, says Prince Charles

Thursday 28 October 2021 16:44 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 17:04 , Rory Sullivan

#icymi

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

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

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

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

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

China’s updated climate plan

Thursday 28 October 2021 17:25 , Rory Sullivan

China has just updated its climate policies ahead of Cop26.

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

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

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

Turkish lake dries up due to climate change and farming

Thursday 28 October 2021 17:45 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

Suzan Fraser and Mehmet Guzel report:

Vast lake in Turkey dries up due to climate change

Irish government seeks to dispel farmers’ fears over carbon cuts

Thursday 28 October 2021 18:03 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 28 October 2021 18:21 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

Sturgeon to address young climate activists

Thursday 28 October 2021 18:42 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

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

Manchin emerges as enemy of Biden’s climate change agenda

Thursday 28 October 2021 19:02 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

Eric Garcia reports:

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

No 10 doorway lit up green

Thursday 28 October 2021 19:31 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

Democrats counter ExxonMobil CEO’s comments at Congress hearing

Thursday 28 October 2021 20:00 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

Polar research ship named after David Attenborough docks in Greenwich

Thursday 28 October 2021 21:36 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

RSS Sir David Attenborough docks in London ahead of climate summit

AOC urges emergency funding for global south climate activists

Thursday 28 October 2021 22:43 , Rory Sullivan

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

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

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

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

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

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

PM commits £160m to building of new floating wind farms

Saturday 30 October 2021 00:18 , Lamiat Sabin

New floating wind farms will be built off the UK coast under Boris Johnson’s plans to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and tackle the climate crisis.

The Prime Minister is committing £160 million in funding to help build large-scale offshore wind ports and factories in Scotland and Wales.

Unlike typical wind turbines which are anchored to the floor, floating farms tend to be tethered to the seabed by mooring lines so they can be placed in deeper waters where gusts are stronger.

Mr Johnson announced the funding ahead of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, where he will urge world leaders to redouble their efforts to halt the environmental crisis.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the investnment would “help to attract further private sector backing to boost our industrial heartlands” and create thousands of “good quality jobs”.

What is Cop26?

Friday 29 October 2021 04:41 , Stuti Mishra

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

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

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

What does Cop26 stand for?

What do we need for Cop26 to be a success?

Friday 29 October 2021 05:15 , Stuti Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 29 October 2021 05:45 , Stuti Mishra

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

The message this time? Democracy works.

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

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

Biden is headed to Europe, having narrowly avoided embarrassment

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

Friday 29 October 2021 06:15 , Stuti Mishra

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

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

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

Xi Jinping to be at G20 via video link, says Chinese foriegn ministry

Friday 29 October 2021 06:45 , Stuti Mishra

Chinese president Xi Jinping will participate in the G20 leaders summit in Rome on Saturday and Sunday via a video link, Reuters news agency has reported quoting China’s foreign ministry.

There has been suspense over his presence at the crucial Cop26 as well, however, now it is clear that the Chinese president will not be attending it but sending officials instead.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Xi has been in China and has not attended any international summit physically.

Xi is also expected to address the gathering, the news agency reported. While the US president Joe Biden, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and other key leaders of G20 will be physically present at the summit taking place right before Cop26, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida will not attend in person.

Pacific island nations urge for ‘concrete action’

Friday 29 October 2021 07:15 , Stuti Mishra

Pacific islands have urged the G20 community to take “concrete action now” instead of long-term commitments, ahead of the crucial Cop26 summit starting this Sunday.

“We need concrete action now. We cannot wait until 2050, it is a matter of our survival,” Anote Tong, a former president of Kiribati and twice a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, told Reuters.The low lying islands are at an increased risk from climate change with the rising sea levels.

“G20 members are responsible for around 75 per cent of the global contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, so a strong commitment and outcome from the G20 Rome Summit will pave the way for an ambitious and successful Cop26,” Henry Puna, former Cook Islands prime minister and now secretary of the Pacific Islands Forum, said in a statement quoted by the news agency.

“We do not have the luxury of time and must join forces urgently and deliver the required ambition at COP26 to safeguard the future of all humankind, and our planet,” Puna said.Additional reporting by Reuters

Greta Thunberg to join London climate protest

Friday 29 October 2021 07:44 , Jon Sharman

Greta Thunberg is expected to join protesters in the City of London lobbying against investment in fossil fuels.

The Swedish activist will be one of thousands protesting across 26 countries and every continent on Friday to demand the global financial system stops profiting from polluting fuels.

The protest could be one of the largest climate finance protests in history and will take place at financial centres in London, New York, San Francisco and Nairobi.

Activists will campaign outside branches of Barclays, Standard Chartered, Lloyds of London and the Bank of England, with Ms Thunberg set to join them.

The protests come after campaigners revealed banks have paid £2.75 trillion into fossil fuel extraction since the 2015 Paris agreement where world leaders committed to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Greta Thunberg to join London protest against fossil fuels

A children’s handbook on climate action

Friday 29 October 2021 07:45 , Stuti Mishra

Children’s toy manufacturer LEGO has released a new climate change handbook with instructions from children on what world leaders can do to tackle the climate crisis.

Building Instructions for a Better World” lists ten building “instructions” based on research and workshops with over 6,000 eight to 18-year-olds globally.

These instructions include “reducing pollution and waste”, “protecting nature”, “changing laws”, “educating people” and “investing in the environment”.

The handbook has been released ahead of Cop26, the two-week United Nations Climate Change Conference which will see world leaders gather in Glasgow from Sunday, 31 October.

Laura Hampson reports.

LEGO issues handbook written by children on tackling climate crisis

Cop26 road closures: How climate change summit will affect travel in Glasgow

Friday 29 October 2021 08:04 , Jon Sharman

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

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

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

What roads are closed in Glasgow for Cop26?

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

Friday 29 October 2021 08:23 , Jon Sharman

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

Here’s the full schedule of events:

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

Britain won’t reach net zero unless local councils help retrofit homes, MPs warn

Friday 29 October 2021 08:42 , Jon Sharman

Boris Johnson’s government will struggle to reach its net zero target unless local councils get involved in making homes more energy efficient, MPs have warned.

Ahead of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, UK ministers have set out proposals to encourage green home improvements as part of a wider plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

But MPs on the housing committee said the government’s strategy lacks proper funding for local authorities to help make Britain’s homes more energy efficient, writes Adam Forrest.

Britain won’t reach net zero unless councils retrofit homes, MPs warn

Insulate Britain storms M25 again after branding injunction form of 'bullying'

Friday 29 October 2021 09:01 , Jon Sharman

Protesters from Insulate Britain tried to block the M25 at rush hour after branding a court injunction put in place against them a form of “bullying”.

Police were called after around 14 protestors blocked the Essex road at 8am this morning but said the road had now reopened, writes Furvah Shah.

Insulate Britain storms M25 again after branding injunction form of 'bullying'

Biden to discuss climate in meeting with Pope Francis

Friday 29 October 2021 09:15 , Jon Sharman

Joe Biden is set to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, where the world's two most notable Roman Catholics plan to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and poverty.

However, the Vatican has cancelled a planned live broadcast of the event.

White House press secretary Jen Psak said: "There's a great deal of agreement and overlap with the president and Pope Francis on a range of issues: poverty, combating the climate crisis, ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These are all hugely important, impactful issues that will be the centrepiece of what their discussion is when they meet."

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the president and pontiff would meet privately, then hold talks with expanded delegations.

Mr Biden is visiting Rome and then Glasgow, Scotland, for back-to-back summits, first a gathering for leaders of Group of 20 leading and developing nations and then a global climate conference.

Additional reporting by agencies

Climate leader or hypocrite? Germany’s green record under the microscope as Cop26 approaches

Friday 29 October 2021 09:20 , Jon Sharman

Germany likes to fancy itself as a global leader in the fight against climate change, and seldom hesitates to wag a finger at other leading industrial countries – such as China and the United States – for being laggards when it comes to making meaningful cuts in CO2 emissions, writes Eric Kirschbaum.

But the reality is that Germany’s own efforts to stop the climate crisis fail to match the soaring rhetoric, and, more importantly, fall short of what scientists say is needed to avert the worst – even though some relatively easy changes, such as introducing a speed limit on its high-speed motorways, could have an immediate impact on reducing the country’s emissions.

Germany’s green record under the microscope as Cop26 approaches

Protesters gather in Paris

Friday 29 October 2021 09:29 , Jon Sharman

‘350.org’ activists hold a banner reading ‘Destruction of the climate - Total lies - complicit finance’ at the former Paris stock exchange Palais Brongniart in Paris on Friday, during a protest against French energy company Total. (AFP via Getty Images)
‘350.org’ activists hold a banner reading ‘Destruction of the climate - Total lies - complicit finance’ at the former Paris stock exchange Palais Brongniart in Paris on Friday, during a protest against French energy company Total. (AFP via Getty Images)

Big oil firms face congressional subpoena over alleged climate disinformation campaign

Friday 29 October 2021 09:39 , Jon Sharman

A congressional committee will subpoena Chevron, Exxon, Shell and other oil and gas companies for internal documents to determine whether they fund climate disinformation, writes Alex Woodward.

“I do not take this step lightly,” US Rep Carolyn Maloney told lawmakers during a hearing with some of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies to probe allegations of a decades-long campaign to spread disinformation on the science that their products are driving the climate crisis.

“We are at code red for climate and I am committed to doing everything I can to help rescue this planet and save it for our children,” she said.

AOC grills oil execs as lawmakers to subpoena companies for ‘disinformation’ papers

10 Unesco forests now emitting more carbon than they are absorbing

Friday 29 October 2021 09:58 , Jon Sharman

Sites containing some of the world's most treasured forests, including the Yosemite national park and Indonesia's Sumatra rainforest, have been emitting more carbon dioxide than they have absorbed in recent years, a UN-backed report says.

According to the report, factors like logging, wildfires and clearance of land for agriculture are to blame. The excess carbon turns up from just 10 of 257 forests classified among Uesco World Heritage sites.

The Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature and Unesco, the UN's cultural and educational agency, said their report provides the first-ever assessment of greenhouse gases produced and absorbed in Unesco-listed forests. The study was based on information collected through on-site monitoring and from satellites.

The study adds to growing signs that human activities and the fallout from the climate crisis – which scientists say has made weather extremes like drought and wildfires more likely – have transformed some natural carbon sinks that suck up CO2 from the air into net sources of it over the last two decades.

"All forests should be assets in the fight against climate change," said Tales Carvalho Resende, a co-author of the report who works at Paris-based Unesco. "Our report's finding that even some of the most iconic and best protected forests, such as those found in World Heritage sites, can actually contribute to climate change is alarming."

AP

London protests begin as planned

Friday 29 October 2021 10:11 , Jon Sharman

Protests have begun outside Lloyd’s of London as planned, against the worldwide investment in fossil fuels.

Thousands of people are expected to take part in demonstrations across 26 countries today before world leaders meet for Cop26 in Glasgow on Monday.

About 60 activists gathered at the first location, which they are calling a climate justice memorial, outside Lloyd’s.

A spokesperson from Coal Action Network said: “Through the memorial [are] brought to life the memories of every person harmed by the injustices of the climate crisis. We’ve laid wreaths naming climate-wrecking projects we want Lloyd’s of London to rule out underwriting today, and help to prevent billions of lives being destroyed by climate impacts.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger brands leaders who prioritise cash over climate ‘stupid or liars’

Friday 29 October 2021 10:17 , Jon Sharman

Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger has criticised leaders who claim fighting the climate crisis hurts the economy as "stupid or liars", writes Samuel Webb.

The former governor of California claimed the state’s wealth and job creation proves carbon dioxide reduction does not affect economic success – and can in fact help the global economy.

The Terminator actor told the BBC: "They are liars, they are stupid. Or they don’t know how to do it, because we figured how to do it and it’s all about having the balls to do it.”

Schwarzenegger brands leaders who prioritise cash over climate ‘stupid or liars’

UK to mandate companies disclose climate risks

Friday 29 October 2021 10:36 , Jon Sharman

Britain is to legislate to make it compulsory for its biggest firms and financial institutions to file reports on their climate-related risks and opportunities.

In a statement, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “From 6 April 2022, over 1,300 of the largest UK-registered companies and financial institutions will have to disclose climate-related financial information on a mandatory basis.

“This will include many of the UK’s largest traded companies, banks and insurers, as well as private companies with over 500 employees and £500m in turnover.”

The department said the change would make investors better able to understand the impacts on the climate of their holdings.

Images from London protest

Friday 29 October 2021 10:46 , Jon Sharman

Protesters outside Lloyds of London to demand the global financial system stops putting money into the use of fossil fuels (PA)
Protesters outside Lloyds of London to demand the global financial system stops putting money into the use of fossil fuels (PA)
Flowers form a slogan reading “Rise, remember, resist
Flowers form a slogan reading “Rise, remember, resist

Protesters explain floral installation

Friday 29 October 2021 10:56 , Jon Sharman

Speaking about the laying of the flowers in the City of London, protester Brianna Fruean said: "Flowers play a huge part in the work that we do. There's a belief flowers hold a representation of light and love and it's this idea of how do we fight something so big and ugly with something like that.

"We're here today to call on Lloyd's to protect Pacific islands, for example, where the coal mine Adani is, to stop funding it."

Fellow activist Joseph Sikuli added: "A big focus at Cop26 this year is about how private finance can build a teamwork of support and that's why we decided to come today because we know the people funding the climate crisis need to be the first ones to take action to stop global warming."

‘Urgent, sustained action’ needed to keep temperature rises below 1.5C, top scientists warn

Friday 29 October 2021 11:05 , Jon Sharman

#icymi

Preventing global temperatures rising more than 1.5C above what they were in the pre-industrial era is possible, and will raise levels of health and prosperity, but requires “rapid, urgent and sustained action”, a collection of the world’s most senior scientists have warned.

On the eve of Cop26, a statement signed by senior scientific advisors to governments around the world, urges a “transformation” of attitudes and expectations, not just by administrations, but among people everywhere, in order to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis, writes Harry Cockburn.

‘Urgent, sustained action’ needed to keep temperature rises below 1.5C

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

Friday 29 October 2021 11:24 , Jon Sharman

#icymi

The Queen may no longer be attending, but Glasgow is set to become the focus of the world’s attention this weekend, as the long-awaited climate summit Cop26 finally opens, writes Harry Cockburn.

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

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

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

Silvertown tunnel protesters warn of traffic burden

Friday 29 October 2021 11:43 , Jon Sharman

Protesters are outside Macquarie Capital’s offices in London and number about 70. They are chanting: “No Silvertown tunnel”.

Kevin Wright, a teacher from Greenwich, said of the Silvertown Tunnel: "We cannot afford it environmentally or financially. There are no grounds that makes it good. It will draw large traffic into the most densely populated parts of the UK."

He said his children used to "cough themselves to sleep" from pollution in the area.

Mr Wright added: "All I see is self-interest in this tunnel, all I see is harm, but to some it's big money.”

Sadiq Khan, the mayor, has been urged to halt construction of the new tunnel. Read more below:

Sadiq Khan’s party tells him to halt ‘polluting’ Silvertown Tunnel

Politicians must use Cop26 to give ‘concrete hope’ to future generations, says pope

Friday 29 October 2021 12:04 , Jon Sharman

Pope Francis says politicians must use Cop26 to give “concrete hope” to future generations.

The pontiff said leaders must work together to combat the climate crisis.

He said: “It is essential that each of us be committed to this urgent change of direction.

“The political decision makers who will meet at Cop26 in Glasgow are urgently summoned to provide effective responses to the present ecological crisis and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations.

“These crises present us with the need to take decisions, radical decisions that are not always easy," he said.

“At the same time, moments of difficulty like these also present opportunities, opportunities that we must not waste.

“We can confront these crises by retreating into isolationism, protectionism and exploitation. Or we can see in them a real chance for change, a genuine moment of conversion, and not simply in a spiritual sense,” he said.

“This last approach alone can guide us towards a brighter horizon.”

The Vatican is sending a delegation to the summit, but the 84-year-old pontiff will not attend, following surgery earlier this year.

‘Prioritise people and planet over profit': Patagonia calls on firms to join Facebook boycott

Friday 29 October 2021 12:23 , Jon Sharman

Patagonia has renewed calls for firms to boycott Facebook, which it said must “prioritise people and planet over profit” before it returned to the site.

In a statement, Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert said he believed Facebook “has a responsibility to make sure its products do no harm, and until they do, Patagonia will continue to withhold our advertising”.

“We encourage other businesses to join us in pushing Facebook to prioritise people and planet over profit”, added Mr Gellert.

Patagonia calls on firms to join Facebook boycott

London to Glasgow trains cancelled by flooding just days ahead of Cop26

Friday 29 October 2021 12:42 , Jon Sharman

Trains from London to Glasgow have been cancelled after floods sparked by heavy rain in north west England and Scotland, writes Samuel Webb.

Network Rail Scotland said two road bridges across the River Annan were "washed away" amid torrential rain.

London to Glasgow trains cancelled by flooding days ahead of Cop26

Climate campaigners from around the world protest in London

Friday 29 October 2021 12:56 , Rory Sullivan

Climate campaigners from around the world have stopped off in London on their way to Glasgow to protest against businesses linked to damaging fossil fuel projects.

They gathered outside the insurer Lloyd’s of London, calling on it to end its insurance of businesses which contribute to climate change.

Joseph Sikulu, of the Pacific Climate Warriors said: “Our communities grapple with climate impacts everyday. As sea levels rise we risk losing everything. The insurance industry should also understand the business risks of climate change.”

“Lloyd’s of London must show leadership now and act on the climate crisis by refusing insurance for climate wrecking coal projects like Adani’s Carmichael mine in Australia.”

Patience Nabakalu, a youth climate justice activist from Uganda, also attended the protest.

Standing next to the climate justice memorial, she said: “We live a life of floods every day, and I am traumatised by it. I couldn’t go to school because of flooding. I learned that this all happens because of climate change. I had no option but to wake up and act.”

Demonstrators protest next to a climate justice memorial outside Lloyd’s of London on Friday (Guy Bell)
Demonstrators protest next to a climate justice memorial outside Lloyd’s of London on Friday (Guy Bell)

Cop Ness Monster unveiled in London

Friday 29 October 2021 13:11 , Rory Sullivan

A sculpture nicknamed the “Cop Ness Monster” has gone on display in London to raise awareness about the climate crisis.

Made from recycled jeans, the 15ft artwork intends to draw people’s attention to the polluting effects of denim.

Mess the Cop Ness Monster is made out of recycled jeans (EPA)
Mess the Cop Ness Monster is made out of recycled jeans (EPA)

Pope calls for ‘radical’ solutions on climate crisis

Friday 29 October 2021 13:24 , Rory Sullivan

On the eve of the Cop26 summit, Pope Francis has called for “radical decisions” to be made in tackling the climate crisis.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the head of the Catholic Church said: “These crises present us with the need to take decisions, radical decisions that are not always easy. At the same time, moments of difficulty like these also present opportunities. Opportunities that we must not waste.”

My colleague Furvah Shah reports:

Pope calls for ‘radical’ climate solutions to give ‘hope’ to future generations

Watch London climate protests live

Friday 29 October 2021 13:27 , Rory Sullivan

‘Change is possible,’ says Greta Thunberg

Friday 29 October 2021 13:38 , Rory Sullivan

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has said “change is possible” at the upcoming Cop26 summit, as long as pressure continues to be exerted on politicians.

Speaking to the BBC, the 18-year-old stated that it was “not fair” how the Global South would be “under-represented” in Glasgow.

In an interview to be aired on Sunday, she added that the talks would fail if the “historical responsibility” of industrialised nations to slash their greenhouse gas emissions is ignored.

Protest begins outside Standard Chartered

Friday 29 October 2021 13:50 , Jon Sharman

Climate protesters have begun their demonstration outside Standard Chartered in London, at which Greta Thunberg is expected to appear this afternoon.

Climate activists hold placards and shout slogans during a demonstration demanding that ‘big finance’ defunds fossil fuels, outside the headquarters of Standard Chartered bank in the City of London (AFP via Getty Images)
Climate activists hold placards and shout slogans during a demonstration demanding that ‘big finance’ defunds fossil fuels, outside the headquarters of Standard Chartered bank in the City of London (AFP via Getty Images)

Climate change: Xi Jinping warns Boris Johnson China’s cuts to carbon emissions will be ‘gradual’

Friday 29 October 2021 14:09 , Jon Sharman

China’s president Xi Jinping has warned Boris Johnson in a phone call ahead of next week’s climate change summit that cuts to greenhouse gases produced by the world’s biggest carbon emitter will be only “gradual”, writes Andrew Woodcock.

Speaking just two days before the start of the United Nations Cop26 summit hosted by Mr Johnson in Glasgow, Mr Xi said that China’s commitment to climate action was “unwavering” but that bringing down carbon emissions would require “extensive and profound economic and social changes” which would have to be undertaken in a “gradual and orderly” way.

Xi Jinping warns Boris Johnson China’s cuts to carbon emissions will be ‘gradual’

Thunberg joins climate protesters in London

Friday 29 October 2021 14:28 , Jon Sharman

Environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg has joined activists outside Standard Chartered in London to chant “we are unstoppable, another world is possible”.

Activists are lobbying against the global finance system investing money in the use of fossil fuels.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Opinion: It’s a tragedy this government is falling so short when it comes to climate leadership

Friday 29 October 2021 14:28 , Jon Sharman

All eyes were on Britain this year, writes Lisa Nandy.

In the middle of a global pandemic, it fell to us to host the G7 summit. We needed a plan. Instead, we got a pledge. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, said we would vaccinate the world by 2022. Months later, less than half the world has had a single dose of the vaccine and close to half a million new Covid-19 cases are being recorded daily globally.

Now, in a few days’ time, the UK will host the most important summit in a generation that must breathe life into the ambitious plans agreed in Paris six years ago and set us on a path to climate safety. Failure is not an option.

It’s a tragedy this government is falling so short over climate action | Lisa Nandy

Opinion: Stand by for the ‘blame game’ if Cop26 doesn’t go as hoped for Boris Johnson

Friday 29 October 2021 14:47 , Jon Sharman

What a difference four weeks makes, writes Andrew Grice.

When Boris Johnson addressed the UN general assembly in New York last month, he described the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow as “the turning point for humanity” when the world must limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees.

As 25,000 people from 197 countries, including 120 presidents and prime ministers, start the two-week conference, Johnson’s trademark optimism seems to have a supply chain problem.

Stand by for the ‘blame game’ if Cop26 doesn’t go as hoped for Johnson | Andrew Grice

Thunberg calls for ‘climate justice'

Friday 29 October 2021 14:56 , Jon Sharman

Greta Thunberg is demanding “climate justice” with activists outside the Standard Chartered headquarters.

They sang: “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now.”

Ms Thunberg has left the area as activists continue chanting.

‘Stop funding our destruction,’ says Thunberg

Friday 29 October 2021 15:12 , Jon Sharman

Greta Thunberg has called on banks to “stop funding our destruction” during a fossil fuel protest in the City of London.

How Boris Johnson went from climate sceptic to eco-warrior

Friday 29 October 2021 15:31 , Jon Sharman

“Is all this real? I’ve never really believed it,” Boris Johnson often quipped to his inner circle of advisers when they discussed measures to tackle climate change. As usual, he was half-joking, but also half-serious, writes Andrew Grice.

The prime minister admits his own journey on this issue has been a long one. “I remember how some people used to sneer at wind power, 20 years ago, and say that it wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding,” he told the Conservative Party’s virtual conference a year ago, when he announced that wind farms could power every home in the UK within a decade.

How Boris Johnson went from climate sceptic to eco-warrior

Rioters can expect ‘robust’ response from police at Cop26

Friday 29 October 2021 15:41 , Jon Sharman

Rioters during the Cop26 summit will be responded to "swiftly and robustly", Police Scotland's chief constable has said.

Iain Livingstone said policing the international conference was one of the largest operations to have taken place anywhere in the UK.

Speaking alongside Nicola Sturgeon during a briefing in Glasgow, he said: "We will protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest at Cop26, balanced against the rights of the wider community.

"But to those intent on violent disorder and damage, to those who seek to disrupt the climate conference actually taking place, I have a clear message.

"We will respond swiftly and we will respond robustly."

Half of Syria has been displaced by war. Now record drought threatens millions more

Friday 29 October 2021 16:00 , Jon Sharman

There is a cruel irony to the village’s Arabic name Um Gharqan or “Mother of the drowned”, as it sits perched along the dusty ribcage of a dry river in northeast Syria, writes Bel Trew.

Nestled in the breadbasket of the county, it was named this because of the punishing floods endured over the years thanks to the Khabour River that is an important tributary to the Euphrates and runs like an artery through the area. The river has broken its banks twice since 1950, leaving a landscape littered with shipwrecked remains of homes.

Half of Syria has been displaced by war. Now record drought threatens millions more

‘Inevitable’ risk of Covid spreading because of Cop26 – Sturgeon

Friday 29 October 2021 16:22 , Lamiat Sabin

The Cop26 conference poses an inevitable risk of increased Covid-19 transmission, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

She urged delegates and environmental activists visiting Glasgow to follow measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

Speaking during a media briefing ahead of the start of the UN conference on Sunday, she said the event “in the midst of a pandemic inevitably poses a risk of increased Covid transmission. And I understand why that makes some people weary.

“However I want to give an assurance again today that we are doing everything possible to mitigate these risks as far as is possible.”

She said measures in place will ensure delegates have been vaccinated, tested, and required to wear masks and keep one metre apart.

Activists mop up spilled ‘oil’ in ‘greenwashing’ stunt

Friday 29 October 2021 16:45 , Lamiat Sabin

Activists from Ocean Rebellion spilling and cleaning fake ‘oil’ in front of the Hydro in Glasgow (PA)
Activists from Ocean Rebellion spilling and cleaning fake ‘oil’ in front of the Hydro in Glasgow (PA)

Sign our petition calling for ‘meaningful action’ on climate change

Friday 29 October 2021 17:13 , Lamiat Sabin

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

We want global leaders to make the decisions necessary at the Cop26 UN climate summit to agree on securing global net zero by mid-century and keeping the 1.5C target from Paris within reach.

Editorial condemns global ‘dither and delay’ on climate

Friday 29 October 2021 17:44 , Lamiat Sabin

Today’s editorial points out that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has shown what the world is capable of organising if there is the will.

The Independent argues that money and motivation would have been found for a range of environmental measures if world leaders were “as serious about greenhouse gas emissions as it was about coronavirus”.

This includes the resources to get rid of gas boilers and the internal combustion engine, to deliver technologies for environmentally friendlier steel and concrete at large scale, and measures to encourage reduction of air travel and consumption of meat and dairy.

Editorial: The world cannot wait a moment longer to prevent climate catastrophe

Ship used as Cop26 accommodation to run on fossil fuels

Friday 29 October 2021 18:00 , Lamiat Sabin

A cruise ship hosting 3,000 Cop26 climate conference attendees and workers in Glasgow will have to run on fossil fuels despite being equipped to use clean onshore energy.

The MS Silja Europa is one of two ships procured by the government to make up for the lack of accommodation in the city during the event that about 25,000 people are expected to attend.

Vessels can receive electricity while docked at ports, enabling them to switch off their auxiliary engines, but the port hosting the two ships does not have onshore power capabilities for medium or large vessels.

William Proud reports in his exclusive story:

CopP26 cruise ship to run on fossil fuels despite ability to use clean onshore energy

‘It’s not certain Cop26 will limit global temperature rise’ – FM

Friday 29 October 2021 18:30 , Lamiat Sabin

The success of the Cop26 summit in limiting the rise in global temperatures cannot be taken for granted, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister acknowledged there is still a “significant gap” between ambitions to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees and the current commitments from world leaders.

During a media briefing, Ms Sturgeon said current commitments were not sufficient to keep global warming below two degrees.

She continued: “If that gap can’t all be closed in Glasgow, then at the very least we need to come out of Glasgow with a clear process and timescale around the way in which it will be closed.”

Reporting by PA

Johnson says he told China’s president to act quicker on climate

Friday 29 October 2021 19:00 , Lamiat Sabin

The PM has said that he urged China’s President Xi Jinping to move faster on reducing his country’s carbon emissions.

Boris Johnson said he had a long telephone call with Mr Xi ahead of the Cop26 summit – which the Chinese leader is not attending.

Speaking to reporters on the flight to the G20 in Rome, Mr Johnson said he had raised the issue of when China’s emissions would peak.

“They said before 2030, obviously I pushed a bit on that – ’25 would be better than 2030. But I wouldn’t say he committed on that,” he said.

Mr Johnson also said that Mr Xi told him that China’s efforts to cut carbon emissions would be “gradual” even though Beijing remained committed to the goal.

Mr Xi, whose nation is the world’s biggest emitter of carbon, had already confirmed he would not attend Cop26 and that he will communicate by video link instead.

World losing 5-1 to climate change – Prime Minister says

Friday 29 October 2021 19:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Boris Johnson said he thinks the world is losing 5-1 to the perils of climate change.

The PM warned that civilisation could collapse in the same way that the Roman Empire fell if world leaders do not take action to reduce carbon emissions to limit rises in global temperatures.

He urged G20 leaders to go faster on tackling climate change when they gather for the Cop26 summit.

Mr Johnson said: “If this was half-time I’d say we were about 5-1 down. We’ve got a long way to go – but we can do it.

“We have the ability to equalise, to save the position and to come back, but it’s going to take a huge amount of effort by the British Government and by all our friends and partners around the world.”

Harry and Meghan say poorest people still deprived of Covid jabs

Friday 29 October 2021 19:50 , Lamiat Sabin

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have written an open letter to G20 leaders claiming promises of vaccine donations from nations are not reaching the globe’s most vulnerable.

On the eve of the G20 summit, Harry and Meghan said access to the Covid-19 vaccine was a “fundamental human right” in the letter also written with WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Leaders from the world’s richest nations are meeting in Rome this weekend.

Environmental issues expected to be high on the G20 agenda, with the UN climate change Cop26 summit opening on Sunday, but the recovery from the pandemic is also likely to be discussed.

In May, the duke and duchess wrote an open letter to the chief executives of pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca urging them to redouble their support for the UN-sponsored Covax programme.

Waste collection strikes planned for Cop26 called off

Friday 29 October 2021 20:21 , Lamiat Sabin

Strikes planned by waste collectors and street cleaners planned for Glasgow from Monday during the Cop26 climate summit have been called off by a trade union.

GMB union decided to suspend the action to launch a two-week consultation after local authority umbrella body Cosla made a new pay offer days before the start of the UN climate conference.

Cosla proposes a one-year 5.89 per cent increase for the lowest paid council staff, as part of a £1,062 rise for all staff earning below £25,000. The Scottish Government gave £30 million to support the offer.

GMB members had called for a £2,000 pay rise, and previously turned down an offer of an £850 a year increase for staff earning up to £25,000.

The union’s Drew Duffy said: “While we are pleased that more money for key workers has been found at the 11th hour, the fact it’s taken to the brink of the Cop to get this offer speaks volumes to our members.

“For months, Cosla said they couldn’t pay, and Ministers said they wouldn’t pay, while staff have been attacked by political leaders for standing up for their services and value.”

Gail Macgregor, Cosla’s resources spokeswoman, said: “We are pleased that as a result of this improved offer our trade union colleagues have notified us this afternoon that they will suspend strike action.”

PM warns Cop26 is ‘last chance’ to meet 1.5C commitment

Friday 29 October 2021 21:07 , Lamiat Sabin

Cop26 is the “last opportunity” for humanity to prevent global temperature rises passing 1.5C, the Prime Minister has said.

Boris Johnson said the human race had entered the last chance saloon on the environment.

He said the focus needed to be on securing agreements for countries to cut their carbon output and stop global warming exceeding the target amount to prevent the worst impacts.

Speaking to the i newspaper, Mr Johnson said: “Cop is really the last opportunity for the planet, humanity, to come together and keep alive the hope of restricting growth in temperatures to 1.5 degrees.

“We are not going to stop climate change any time soon, and we are certainly not going to stop it at Cop26.

“The most we can hope to do, and it is going to be incredibly difficult, is to restrict the growth by the end of the century to 1.5 degrees.”

Cop26 a failure if world does not commit to halving emissions by 2030, Boris Johnson says

Saturday 30 October 2021 00:17 , Chris Baynes

Boris Johnson says Cop26 will have failed unless the world has committed to “halve emissions by the end of this decade”, toughening his aims for the crucial climate summit.

Ahead of leaders gathering in Glasgow in Sunday, a Downing Street spokesman said: “This is the decade action needs to be taken – it’s no longer something that can be talked about in broad terms.”

In recent days, Mr Johnson has spoken about net zero targets for 2050 – rather than to slash carbon emissions by 2030 – prompting suggestions he was laying the ground for effective failure.

But the spokesman, asked what “success” would look like, said it must be 2030 commitments to “keep alive” the aim of preventing global temperature rises of more than 1.5C since industrialisation.

Rob Merrick reports:

Cop26 a failure if world does not commit to halving emissions by 2030, Johnson says

Prince Charles: Sustainable urban development is key in climate fight

Saturday 30 October 2021 09:23 , Celine Wadhera

The Prince of Wales has said that sustainable urban development is key in fighting climate change.

Speaking to the Daily Express from Italy, ahead of the G20 Summit, Prince Charles said: “Sustainable urban development is clearly critical in responding to the climate emergency.

“We all know it’s so utterly and vitally important for the future of our planet and of course central, indeed absolutely fundamental I would have said, to any prospect of actually achieving the crucial Cop25 targets.”

He added that he felt that fixing cities would play a vital role in cutting greenhouse gases.

Saturday 30 October 2021 09:42 , Celine Wadhera

Climate activist and author Ella Robertson McKay has called on the government to provide the correct framework to facilitate the transition to a green economy at Cop26.

Speaking on LBC, the One Young World managing director said that change would be driven by technology, which ultimately would come from businesses, but added that the government would have to create an enabling environment.

“Realistically this is going to depend on technology, we need the technology to decarbonise, and the technology is not coming from government, its not coming from charities, it’s certainly not coming from people sitting on the motorways, its coming from business,” she said.

“The only carbon neutral solution is a business-led solution.

“Crossing this decarbonisation bridge is complicated and it does involve business, it does involve civil society and people, but the government have got to provide the correct framework at Cop otherwise it won’t happen.”

UN Secretary General calls for ambition and action to ensure success at Cop26

Saturday 30 October 2021 10:01 , Celine Wadhera

The UN Secretary General has called for ambition and action to ensure success at Cop26 in Glasgow.

On Twitter, he warned that there was a risk that the climate summit would not manage to prevent a climate catastrophe.

“Even if recent pledges were clear & credible – and there are major questions about some of them – we are still careening towards climate catastrophe.

“For real success, we need ambition and action to overcome the risk and make #COP26 a success.”

UN President arrives in Glasgow

Saturday 30 October 2021 10:20 , Celine Wadhera

Abdulla Shahid, president of the United Nations General Assembly has arrived in Glasgow, Scotland for Cop26.

“I look forward to championing the needs of the most vulnerable, advocating to keep 1.5 alive, and calling for clarity and reliability on climate finance,” he said on Twitter.

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