China’s plan to build more coal-fired plants deals blow to UK’s Cop26 ambitions

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The Guardian 13 October, 2021 - 02:12am 8 views

Who is attending cop26?

Sir David Attenborough has been named as the COP26 People's Advocate, which means he will address world leaders and other attendees during the summit. Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican City, and Greta Thunberg, will also be attending the summit. nationalworld.comWho is attending COP26? Country leaders and other attendees at 2021 Glasgow climate change summit

Your Guide to COP26, the World’s Most Important Climate Talks

Gizmodo 12 October, 2021 - 09:11pm

Almost every country in the world has signified support for the Paris Agreement, while 192 countries have formally approved the accords. Turkey was the latest country to ratify the Agreement, reaching a decision just last week. (The five remaining holdouts include bigger emitters like Iran and Iraq, as well as smaller countries Eritrea, Libya, and Yemen.) The U.S., the world’s largest historic emitter, is back in the agreement as of earlier this year. (It was out for a few months due to former President Donald Trump’s questionable decision making.)

But there’s more going on than just who is in and who is out. The Paris Agreement isn’t meant to be a static document, but more of a starting point for us to get to where we need to go. Countries’ original pledges were inadequate on their own to meet the agreement’s stated goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). (Nevermind the world set a stretch target of 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.) The agreement requires countries to submit nationally determined contributions, or NDCs, to make sure they’re constantly working to cut emissions.

Once every five years, the UN mandates that countries ratchet up their NDCs, making aggressively higher and higher cuts to get us closer to the targets set out in the Paris Agreement. In July, the first UN deadline to submit updated NDCs came and went, and a whole bunch of countries missed that deadline, including big emitters like China, India, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. As of last year, the updated pledges had the world on track to heat up by nearly 6 degrees Fahrenheit (3.3 degrees Celsius).

In Glasgow, negotiators will work on a lot of different mechanisms meant to help countries report climate targets and communicate with each other, including setting common timeframes for NDCs and a common transparency framework that helps countries see each other’s progress and build trust that everyone is doing their climate homework. Negotiators will also be discussing how to carry out promises made on climate finance, specifically how wealthier countries take on responsibility for helping poorer ones transition their economies and adapt to climate change.

Why yes, yes there are. It’s been two years since the last COP due to the pandemic. Those talks were held in Madrid, and there are a number of outstanding issues, including carbon credits. But there’s none bigger than what’s known as loss and damage, or protocols for countries suffering disproportionately from the impacts of climate change to get help.

Loss and damage negotiations are centered around justice: The countries bearing the brunt of climate change have done relatively little to cause the problem. Meanwhile, those that have caused the problem have seen dramatic growth by tethering their economies to fossil fuels. The issue of how much developed countries owe developing ones for climate damages has been kicking around since 2013 and will likely be among the hot button issues. Speaking of which...

There are a lot of potential disagreements around some pretty major issues that we’re likely to see come up in the negotiations. Where to even start?

In 2009, wealthier countries promised to start delivering $100 billion in aid to poorer countries each year by 2020 via what’s known as the Green Climate Fund. However, the pledges have not added up, and the goalposts keep moving on how that money can be used. The latest accounting shows rich countries have come up $20 billion short last year. President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would contribute $5.7 billion to the fund this year, which is a big step up from the Trump years but still far short of the U.S. fair share of nearly $44 billion. The fund itself has also come under fire for mismanagement, which could set up a struggle over money and accountability.

Coal is going to be a big point of contention: Alok Sharma, the president of COP26, said he wants to use the meeting to “consign coal to history.” That would be poetic given the UK is where coal got its start in powering the economy during the Industrial Revolution. But countries like China, Russia, and India recently opposed a G20 commitment to phase out coal. And although the UK has restricted the role of oil and gas interests at this COP, the country did give out a climate champion award to a tar sands executive. There’s no doubt oil and gas interests will try to find a way to weasel themselves into the negotiations as well. How much sway they have could go a long ways toward determining if this meeting delivers for real or offers another set of false promises.

Almost certainly. Some countries have already committed to net zero emissions this year, most recently being the United Arab Emirates. We could see more pledges like that in Glasgow. But it’s important to remember that net zero targets for countries aren’t as specific as NDCs, and can be prone to greenwashing. With so many businesses and local governments gathering on the sidelines of COP, they’ll likely get in on the net zero action, too.

It’s important to take these pledges with a degree of skepticism. They’re nonbinding and the UAE pledge didn’t come with a promise to wind down oil production. Some companies that have committed to go net zero are also planning on using carbon offsets rather than actual emissions reductions. That raises a lot of questions about the efficacy of these standalone pledges.

Definitely. The U.S. has jumped back in with both feet after rejoining the Paris Agreement, submitting an aggressive new NDC in April as well as doubling its previous climate finance commitment. John Kerry, currently serving as the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, has been particularly active on the international stage as he gets back into his familiar role as a key negotiating figure.

However, it remains to be seen just how much damage four years of Trump did to U.S. standing. The former president withdrew from talks and even staged a pro-fossil fuel event at the 2018 meeting in Poland. Even if the U.S. is back, Trump has made these conversations a lot more fragile.

It may be, to put it bluntly, a total shitshow. The vaccine apartheid much of the developing world is facing has put a real question mark on those countries’ ability to show up and participate in the discussions. The UK has offered to vaccinate all attendees who are unable to access vaccines in their home countries, but the process has been murky and the timeline perilously close to the start of the conference. What’s more, the UK keeps a tally of “red list” countries where travelers need to undergo stricter quarantine protocols regardless of vaccination status; delegates from those countries may be delayed in participating in negotiations as they quarantine. The extra costs of quarantining and daily testing could further strain developing countries’ budgets.

No. Sad! But the Queen will be. Yay?

COP26: Full schedule for United Nations climate conference in Glasgow

Daily Record 12 October, 2021 - 09:11pm

Politicians, religious leaders, climate activists and journalists will swamp the SEC for the United Nations summit on how to tackle global warming.

The conference is set to last around 12 days with leaders from around the world flying in to have face-to-face discussions on some of the most important issues of our time.

US President Joe Biden and The Queen are two of the biggest names to confirm their attendance, however heads of state from smaller nations who will be hit hardest by rising temperatures will also be present.

From November 1 to 12 a number of issues will be discussed from how to hit net zero by a certain date to how much money will be spent to curb emissions.

It is going to be a busy 12 days in Glasgow, so here is the schedule:

Sunday, October 31 - Procedural opening of negotiations

Monday, November 1 and Tuesday, November 2 - World leaders summit: Welcoming world leaders to COP to put forward high level ambition and action towards securing global net zero and keeping 1.5 degrees in reach; adapting to protect communities and natural habitats; and mobilising finance.

Wednesday, November 3 - Finance: Mobilising public and private finance flows at scale for mitigation and adaptation.

Thursday, November 4 - Energy: Accelerating the global transition to clean energy.

Friday, November 5 - Youth and public empowerment: Elevating the voice of young people and demonstrating the critical role of public empowerment and education in climate action.

Saturday, November 6 - Nature: Ensuring the importance of nature and sustainable land use are part of global action on climate change and a clean, green recovery.

Monday, November 8 - Adaptation, loss and damage: Delivering the practical solutions needed to adapt to climate impacts and address loss and damage.

Tuesday, November 9 - Gender: Progressing gender equality and the full and meaningful participation of women and girls in climate action.

Science and innovation: Demonstrating that science and innovation can deliver climate solutions to meet, and accelerate, increased ambition.

Wednesday, November 10 - Transport: Driving the global transition to zero emission transport.

Thursday, November 11 - Cities, regions and built environments: Advancing action in the places we live, from communities, through to cities and regions.

Climate summit chief sets up fight over Paris Agreement’s goal

POLITICO Europe 12 October, 2021 - 10:52am

COP26 President Alok Sharma wants to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, but others are aiming for 2 degrees.

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PARIS — Returning to the place where the Paris Agreement was born, the U.K. minister who currently has custody over the climate accord on Tuesday set up a battle over its core aim that will play out during next month's COP26 climate talks.

In his last major speech ahead of the Glasgow meeting, Alok Sharma made it clear he'll be pushing hard for all countries in Scotland to cut their emissions during this decade by enough to give the world a chance to stop warming at 1.5 degrees. However, some big emitters, and even the French politician who helped negotiate the 2015 Paris climate deal, say that the original deal primarily aims for a 2-degree target.

It's a deep disagreement over just what was agreed in Paris six years ago. The text of the deal says that governments promise to hold "the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and [pursue] efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels."

Sharma, backed by the EU, as well as vulnerable countries, has called “keeping 1.5 alive” the primary objective of COP26. But many countries — including big emitters China, India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Australia — have ignored a call for new climate plans to be submitted this year. Without them, Sharma warned, “the 1.5-degree limit will slip out of reach.”

For vulnerable countries, "'1.5 to stay alive' is not a hollow slogan. It is a matter of survival,” he said. Scientists say the lower mark will be surpassed unless global greenhouse gas emissions are cut radically this decade. Current government pledges would set the world on track for around 2.7 degrees of warming by the end of the century.

Sharma said world leaders “must honor the promises made here in Paris six years ago ... Success or failure of COP26 is in their hands. And so is the fate of the Paris Agreement." 

China has said the effort to center the Paris Agreement on 1.5 degrees is an attempt to “rewrite” the deal. But that's not how Sharma sees it.

Immediately after his speech, he told POLITICO the push for 1.5 degrees was the letter of the deal, saying: “The Paris Agreement is really pretty clear.”

Laurent Fabius, the former French prime minister who was president of the 2015 conference that created the Paris deal, was in the audience for Sharma’s speech. As he left the building, he told POLITICO that the 1.5-degree goal was an aspiration and that the Paris Agreement would survive if it was not met.

“The Paris Agreement said that very explicitly: 2 [degrees] and, if possible, 1.5,” he said. Since that moment, he added, scientists had made clear that 1.5 “was the optimum, OK. But in fact, now, the key point is to act and to deliver and for the states to be faithful to what they have said.”

The different interpretations of what countries committed to in Paris will define the talks in Glasgow. The poorest and most vulnerable countries want big polluters to commit to 1.5 degrees. Italy will ask leaders of the G20 biggest economies grouping to do the same when they meet in Rome on the last weekend in October, the day before COP26 begins.

Sharma told POLITICO the climate talks must be able to explain with “credibility” how to get countries to do more. That means putting in place some kind of deal that will commit them to raising their goals for this decade in the coming years. Sharma has asked ministers from Denmark and Grenada to take the lead on that effort.

It sets up a fractious finale for COP26. While Sharma claimed in his speech to be working as a “neutral broker,” his support for the 1.5 target and the pressure to get countries to publicly take a position on how they understand the Paris Agreement potentially puts him at odds with some of the world’s biggest polluters.

Fabius and Laurence Tubiana, the former diplomat who was France’s lead negotiator in Paris, warned Sharma over breakfast on Tuesday not to turn his COP26 presidency into a battle.

“Their advice was that you've got to continue to build trust and take people with you. And ... ultimately, remember that this is a consensus-based system. And that's why it's very important that people continue to have confidence in the presidency,” Sharma said.

Alok Sharma had a message for those in his party who oppose the UK’s push for net zero.

Following the release of the 2021 Global Food Security Index (GFSI), Igor Teslenko is calling for a regulatory environment that embraces innovation as a key driver of agricultural resilience

Long-time climate science critics pivot to attack government over cost of net zero.

Germany, France, UK and two development banks involved in deal with Ankara.

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Climate change is "single biggest health threat facing humanity," WHO says

CBS News 11 October, 2021 - 05:56pm

The report points out that climate change is already impacting the lives and health of millions of people in various ways, and that while "no one is safe from these risks," people in low-income communities are most vulnerable.

The threats include harm or death from increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, storms and floods, as well as the disruption of food systems, the spread of diseases from animal populations, food- and water-borne illnesses, related mental health issues and more.

#ClimateCrisis harms our health!#ClimateCrisis harms our health!#ClimateCrisis harms our health!

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C isn't only the right thing to do but also a shared responsibility for health.

🆕 WHO #COP26 Special Report explains why 👉https://t.co/WXMdMgPSWv pic.twitter.com/r8NFs1oI37

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the intimate and delicate links between humans, animals and our environment," WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news release. "The same unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people."

Over 150 organizations and 400 experts and health professionals were consulted on the report's list of 10 recommendations for governments to help address the climate crisis and its impact on health. These include reimagining urban environments and transit systems; promoting "healthy, sustainable, and resilient" food supply systems; and committing to a "healthy, green, and just recovery" from COVID-19 that includes global access to vaccines and steps to help prevent future pandemics.

The unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people. @WHO calls on all countries to commit to decisive action at #COP26 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. #ClimateAction is not just the right thing to do, it’s in our own interest. https://t.co/z5y7dFjN9r pic.twitter.com/ozRS3eJUK5

In September, WHO tightened its global air quality guidelines in its first revision since 2005. The organization said air pollution is one of the "biggest environmental threats to human health."

The findings come ahead of the U.N.'s major international conference on climate change, known as COP26, which gets underway October 31 in Glasgow, Scotland.

For Breaking News & Analysis Download the Free CBS News app

Copyright © 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.

Climate change is "single biggest health threat facing humanity," WHO says

The Guardian 11 October, 2021 - 05:56pm

The report points out that climate change is already impacting the lives and health of millions of people in various ways, and that while "no one is safe from these risks," people in low-income communities are most vulnerable.

The threats include harm or death from increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, storms and floods, as well as the disruption of food systems, the spread of diseases from animal populations, food- and water-borne illnesses, related mental health issues and more.

#ClimateCrisis harms our health!#ClimateCrisis harms our health!#ClimateCrisis harms our health!

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C isn't only the right thing to do but also a shared responsibility for health.

🆕 WHO #COP26 Special Report explains why 👉https://t.co/WXMdMgPSWv pic.twitter.com/r8NFs1oI37

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the intimate and delicate links between humans, animals and our environment," WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news release. "The same unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people."

Over 150 organizations and 400 experts and health professionals were consulted on the report's list of 10 recommendations for governments to help address the climate crisis and its impact on health. These include reimagining urban environments and transit systems; promoting "healthy, sustainable, and resilient" food supply systems; and committing to a "healthy, green, and just recovery" from COVID-19 that includes global access to vaccines and steps to help prevent future pandemics.

The unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people. @WHO calls on all countries to commit to decisive action at #COP26 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. #ClimateAction is not just the right thing to do, it’s in our own interest. https://t.co/z5y7dFjN9r pic.twitter.com/ozRS3eJUK5

In September, WHO tightened its global air quality guidelines in its first revision since 2005. The organization said air pollution is one of the "biggest environmental threats to human health."

The findings come ahead of the U.N.'s major international conference on climate change, known as COP26, which gets underway October 31 in Glasgow, Scotland.

For Breaking News & Analysis Download the Free CBS News app

Copyright © 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.

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