Splashing the cash and stopping the gas – what happened on day two of Cop26?

·3-min read

The second day of the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow saw big announcements of action – and a Hollywood star act.

Here are some of the takeaways from day two.

– Great chainsaw massacre

Some big news on saving and restoring forests on day two of the world leaders’ summit at Cop26, as 110 nations – home to 85% of the world’s forests – signed a declaration to halt and reverse the destruction of forests and land.

Tackling climate change cannot be done without ending the loss of forests which are the lungs of the planet, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“Let’s end this great chainsaw massacre,” he urged leaders.

– Amazon delivers

Also stepping in to help the natural world was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who announced 2 billion US dollars (£1.47 billion) for restoring land in Africa.

The billionaire announced the funding as he told Cop26 his flight to space in July had made him realise how fragile the planet was.

The amount of cash appeared to have doubled overnight, after an event with the Prince of Wales on Monday where Mr Bezos indicated the investment would be a billion dollars – but that is the advantage of being one of the world’s richest men.

– Leaders pledge to cut the gas

The announcements of positive action continued with news that scores of countries – it was not entirely clear how many, but somewhere over 80 and close to 100 – had signed a pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

The announcement fronted by the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden was delayed as they turned up late.

That left special climate envoy John Kerry to fill the time with some off-the-cuff remarks to assembled dignitaries, including possible good news out of Japan that means the 100 billion dollar (£73 billion) climate finance goal may be met next year.

– Catch me if you can

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio spotted at the summit (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio turned up at Cop26, prompting a frenzy as the world’s media tracked him down.

He passed through Kew Science’s Carbon Garden, which features a display of plants and messages about solutions to the crisis that rely on nature, while delegates enjoyed a little Hollywood stardust added to the event.

– Political Squid Games

Contemporary culture met climate change as protesters dressed as Mr Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mr Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders played children’s games in a Squid Game-themed demo.

The “leaders” played climate hopscotch, tug-of-war, kicked around an inflatable world and rolled dice.

At one point “Vladimir Putin” and “Joe Biden” could be seen tussling with an inflatable Earth as boilersuit-clad protesters watched in front of a sign that urged them to “stop playing climate games”.

– An apology

Karine Elharrar, Israeli energy minister, has received a flurry of apologies after she criticised organisers when she could not access the campus on its opening day on Monday due to a lack of wheelchair accessibility.

Organisers of Cop26 apologised to her, as did Mr Johnson and Foreign Office minister James Cleverly, who met Ms Elharrar when she was able to get to the conference on Tuesday.

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