1 year ago

Papua New Guinea may ‘rethink’ its climate efforts if rich nations don’t pay aid, official says

GLASGOW, Scotland — Papua New Guinea’s environment minister has said that given the lack of financial aid, his country may “rethink” efforts to cut logging, coal mining and even coming to these meetings.

“If they keep stalling (…) there’s no point in returning to any future COP meetings,” said Minister Wera Mori.

Mori said rich and developed nations like the United States, the UK, China, Japan, and the EU must pay up and that without a meaningful agreement in Glasgow, Papua New Guinea may roll back measures they have taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“We will have to decide as a country to rethink what position we have taken (…) in terms of logging, in terms of extracting coal and other measures,” Mori warned.

The minister said his country has cut back on logging, plans to ban round log exports by 2025, and hasn’t issued new coal mining permits. But if financing is not forthcoming then “we cannot be swimming around in the wilderness.”

“Logging is a $1 billion industry. We’ve got thousands of square kilometers of coal seam which we want to mine, extract and produce cheap power, cheap energy for our industries,” he said. “Why should Papua New Guinea make the sacrifice?”

1 year ago

U.S. and China agree to framework to tackle climate issues

COP26 - Day Eleven Transport

U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry speaks during a joint China and U.S. statement on a declaration enhancing climate action in the 2020s at the COP26 climate change conference on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The world’s top two carbon polluters, China and the United States, pledged Wednesday to increase their cooperation on climate action in a joint declaration issued at U.N. climate talks in Glasgow.

In separate news conferences, Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and U.S. counterpart John Kerry said the two countries would work together to accelerate the emissions reductions required to meet the temperature goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The whole point of this is that the steps we’re taking we believe can answer questions people have about the pace at which China is going and help China and us to be able to accelerate our efforts,” Kerry said.

Governments agreed in Paris to jointly reduce emissions enough to keep the global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, with a more stringent target of trying to keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) preferred.

Both sides recognize that there is a gap between efforts taken globally to reduce emissions and the goals of the Paris deal, Xie said.

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1 year ago

Climate talks draft agreement expresses ‘alarm and concern’

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Governments are poised to express “alarm and concern” about how much Earth has already warmed and encourage one another to end their use of coal, according to a draft released Wednesday of the final document expected at U.N. climate talks.

The early version of the document circulating at the negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland, also impresses on countries the need to cut carbon dioxide emissions by about half by 2030 — even though pledges so far from governments don’t add up to that frequently stated goal.

In a significant move, countries would urge one another to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels” in the draft, though it has no explicit reference to ending the use of oil and gas. There has been a big push among developed nations to shut down coal-fired power plants, which are a major source of heat-trapping gases, but the fuel remains a critical and cheap source of electricity for countries like China and India.

While the language about moving away from coal is a first and important, the lack of a date when countries will do so limits the pledge’s effectiveness, said Greenpeace International Director Jennifer Morgan, a long-time climate talks observer.

“This isn’t the plan to solve the climate emergency. This won’t give the kids on the streets the confidence that they’ll need,” Morgan said.

The draft doesn’t yet include full agreements on the three major goals that the U.N. set going into the negotiations — and may disappoint poorer nations because of a lack of solid financial commitments from richer ones. The goals are: for rich nations to give poorer ones $100 billion a year in climate aid, to ensure that half of that money goes to adapting to worsening global warming, and the pledge to slash emissions that is mentioned.

CONTINUE READING: Climate talks draft agreement expresses ‘alarm and concern’

1 year ago

Saudi Arabia says allegation that they are trying to slow negotiations is false

COP26 in Glasgow

Saudi Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is surrounded by media during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble

GLASGOW, Scotland – Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has denied allegations that his country’s negotiators were working to slow down negotiations and water down commitments at the U.N. climate talks.

It is a “a false allegation, a cheat and a lie,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al Saud told reporters on Wednesday at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Delegations of about 200 countries face a Friday deadline to negotiate consensus on next steps to cut fossil fuel emissions and otherwise combat climate change. Saudi Arabia’s team in Glasgow has introduced proposals ranging from a call to quit negotiations at 6 p.m. every day to what climate negotiation veterans allege are more complex efforts to block agreement on tough measures.

READ MORE: COP26 draft agreement conveys ‘alarm and concern’

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, and a handful of other countries long have been accused of seeking to block measures that would crack down on fossil fuels. This year’s U.N. talks have seen a chorus of daily complaints from climate advocates at the conference.

“Other governments now need to isolate the Saudi delegation if they want this” conference “to succeed for everyone, not just fossil fuel interests,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of the Greenpeace environmental group.

1 year ago

Nations, automakers vow to phase out emissions-producing cars by 2040


An electric car is seen at a charging point in London on Oct. 26, 2021. Photo by Ray Tang/Xinhua via Getty Images

GLASGOW, Scotland — A group of nations and companies has announced plans to make the switch to emissions-free cars by 2040 and by no later than 2035 in leading auto markets.

The announcement was made Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow. It was backed by countries including Canada, Chile, Denmark, India, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Volvo, as well as several states and cities in the United States and elsewhere, signed the plan. Some companies, such as Volvo, already have even earlier targets to phase out combustion engines.

Separately, a number of countries are pledging to phase out the use of trucks and buses with internal combustion engines.

Companies involved in road haulage are signing up, including delivery giant DHL, truck-maker Scania and Dutch brewer Heineken.

1 year ago

EU pledges $116M to climate adaptation fund

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm has pledged 100 million euros ($116 million) to the United Nations’ fund for helping developing countries adapt to climate change.

The European Commission said the additional contribution from the EU budget is by far the biggest pledge to the fund made by donors at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow.

Frans Timmermans, the EU Commission vice-president in charge of the European Green Deal, said in Glasgow: “Financing adaptation is critical. We all repeated that mantra endlessly. But the rhetoric, sadly, is not followed by action. We all need to get cracking, and we all need to do it now.”
According to the 27-nation EU, the adaptation fund has committed nearly $868 million for climate change adaptation and resilience projects and programs since 2010.

Wealthy nations have received criticism from poorer countries for not honoring their financial commitments for help in the fight against climate change. Activists outside the climate talks in Glasgow and around the world have also criticized what some call “empty promises” by governments when it comes to protecting the climate.

1 year ago

‘Stay in the streets,’ Ocasio-Cortez tells activists in Glasgow

COP26 in Glasgow

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looks on during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 9, 2021. Phil Noble/Reuters

GLASGOW, Scotland — U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought her climate-celebrity star power to the U.N. climate talks, saying she hopes to see the United States reestablish itself as a world leader in the fight against global warming.

Asked if she had a message to young activists who have pressed governments to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel pollution, Ocasio-Cortez told reporters inside the conference site: “Well, I would say, ‘Stay in the streets. Keep pushing.’”

READ MORE: Young climate activists raising voices but fear going unheard at COP26

Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat elected to Congress in 2018 on a platform of greatly ramping up U.S. efforts to cut emissions and otherwise deal with Earth’s warming, was accompanying a delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Members had their first morning at the Glasgow, Scotland talks on Tuesday.

WATCH: Pelosi holds news conference at COP26 climate summit

“One of the things we want to achieve is ensuring that the United States really reestablishes itself as a leader, and drives down our emissions,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “And to encourage our partners to do the same.”

1 year ago

Need a refresher on what’s happening in the final days of COP26? Watch this

Pressure has been building on the streets of Glasgow, and Tuesday there was a call for meaningful change from activists to go beyond the rhetoric of these gatherings. William Brangham is at the climate summit all week and shared this dispatch last night about former President Barack Obama’s address, a new Washington Post investigation about the erroneous reporting of emissions reductions and the young protesters demanding that wealthy nations do more now.

1 year ago

Little Amal puppet appears at COP26 equality event

COP26 in Glasgow

"Little Amal", a 3.5 metre tall puppet of a young Syrian refugee girl, is displayed at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 9, 2021. Yves Herman/Reuters

“Little Amal,” a 3.5-meter tall puppet, took to the stage at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow on Tuesday to raise awareness on gender equality regarding the impact of climate change.

Her advocate was Samoan climate activist Brianna Fruean, who reminded the audience that women and girls are often the people facing the “brunt” of the impact of the crisis.

“That’s why we’re here today,” Fruean said on what is the summit’s Gender Day, “To work and to fight so that all little girls inherit the world that they deserve to lay the foundation for change to grow.”

The Little Amal puppet, representing a young Syrian girl, has been walked 8,000km across Europe in order to raise awareness about the plight of refugee girls.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said “gender and climate are profoundly intertwined” adding women and girls are affected “disproportionately”.

Ensuring their education will be crucial to empowering girls and equipping “them to deal with climate”, he said, as at least four million girls this year won’t finish their education to climate-related crises, according to the Malala Fund.

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, called the climate crisis “a threat multiplier, amplifying and accelerating existing inequities in our economies and society”.

“Addressing the rapidly changing climate is a matter of justice and equality,” as 80% of those displaced by climate change are women, Pelosi said.

1 year ago

COP26 agreements far cry from 1.5 goal, analysis finds

COP26 in Glasgow

A person walks at the venue of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 9, 2021. Yves Herman/Reuters

GLASGOW, Scotland — Efforts leading up to and in climate talks have trimmed a couple tenths of a degree off future warming, but still not near enough to reach any of the international goals, according to an analysis by an authoritative independent group of scientists.

Climate Action Tracker, which for years has monitored nations’ emission cutting pledges, said based on those submitted targets the world is now on track to warm 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times by the end of this century. That’s a far cry from the 2015 Paris climate deal overarching limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees) or even its fall-back limit of 2 degrees Celsius.

The world has already warmed 1.1 to 1.2 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.