7 months ago

Ecuador expands Galapagos marine reserve

A hammerhead shark swims close to Wolf Island at Galapagos Marine Reserve

A hammerhead shark swims close to Wolf Island at Galapagos Marine Reserve in 2013. Photo by REUTERS/Jorge Silva

GLASGOW, Scotland — Ecuador’s president has announced that his country is expanding the marine reserve around the Galapagos Islands by almost half.

President Guillermo Lasso told the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow on Tuesday that the government has agreed with the fishery, tourism and conservation sectors to establish a new marine reserve in the Galapagos Islands of 60,000 square kilometers (more than 23,000 square miles).

Lasso said this would be added to an existing marine reserve of about 130,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles).

Experts says oceans are particularly vulnerable to climate change and the Galapagos Islands are considered one of the world’s biodiversity jewels.

7 months ago

Biden administration launches plan to crack down on methane emissions

The plan was being announced Tuesday as President Joe Biden wraps up a two-day appearance at the United Nations climate summit. Biden pledged during the summit to work with the European Union and other nations to reduce overall methane emissions worldwide by 30 percent by 2030.

The centerpiece of U.S. actions is a long-awaited rule by the Environmental Protection Agency to tighten methane regulations for the oil and gas sector, as laid out in one of Biden’s first executive orders.

7 months ago

WATCH LIVE: Biden holds news conference at COP26

President Joe Biden will hold a news conference from the summit on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The Biden administration launched a wide-ranging plan to reduce methane emissions, targeting a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to global warming and packs a stronger short-term punch than even carbon dioxide.

The plan was announced as President Joe Biden wraps up a two-day appearance at a United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Biden pledged during the summit to work with the European Union and dozens of other nations to reduce overall methane emissions worldwide by 30% by 2030.

7 months ago

Funders promise investment into Indigenous communities, forests to fight climate change

GLASGOW, Scotland — A coalition of governments and private funders announced plans at COP26 Monday to invest $1.7 billion to aid Indigenous communities and protect biodiverse tropical forests in the next four years.

Governments from the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and 17 other private funders said the money will support “activities to secure, strengthen and protect Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ land and resource rights,” and provide other kinds of aid, including for group activities.

“We call on other donors to significantly increase their support to this important agenda,” the donors said in a statement. It did not specify which communities would get the funding.

A spokesperson for The Ford Foundation, one of the funders, told The Associated Press the governments are providing approximately $1 billion, while the rest will come from the philanthropies. In addition to the Ford Foundation, funders include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Earth Fund and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The Bezos Earth Fund pledged $2 billion to fight climate change through landscape restoration and the transformation of agricultural systems.

“Our commitment today supports a three-fold imperative — we must conserve what we have, restore what we’ve lost, and grow what we need in harmony with nature,” the fund’s founder, Jeff Bezos, said in a statement.

The $2 billion pledge at COP26 is part of $10 billion that the Amazon founder committed earlier this year to spend by 2030 in an effort to battle climate change.

7 months ago

Queen Elizabeth urges leaders to act quickly on climate

GLASGOW, Scotland — Queen Elizabeth II has welcomed world leaders to the U.N. climate summit in a pre-recorded video message, saying “the time for words has now moved to the time for action.”

The 95-year-old monarch had been expected to attend the Glasgow summit, but she had to cancel the trip after doctors said she should rest and not travel. The queen recently underwent medical checks and spent the night at a London hospital — her first hospital stay in years.

In the video message, played Monday during a welcoming reception for presidents and prime ministers, the queen said she hoped that the conference will be “one of those rare occasions where everyone will have the chance to rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship.”

“History has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope,” she said in the video, which was recorded on Friday at Windsor Castle.

In a tribute to her late husband, Prince Philip, the queen said she was happy to welcome the delegates because the environment was a subject close to Philip’s heart. In a rare public display of emotion, she said she “could not be more proud” that Philip’s environmental work lives on through the work of their eldest son, Prince Charles, and his son Prince William.

7 months ago

‘We are watching you,’ activists say outside of Glasgow summit

XR Hold 'Stop Climate Horror' Fancy Dress March

Extinction Rebellion activists are seen protesting outside the Scottish Parliament on Oct. 31 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images

GLASGOW, Scotland — Environmental activists expressed anger Monday at what they consider the slow pace of action to curb climate change.

Youth campaigners from several countries marched on the opposite bank of the River Clyde from where the U.N. climate summit was being held, holding banners with slogans such as “We are watching you.”

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg accused world leaders and government officials inside the conference of “pretending to take our future seriously.”

“Change is not going to come from inside,” she said, adding: “No more blah blah blah. No, whatever the (expletive) they’re doing inside there.”

Earlier Monday, Kenyan climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti made an impassioned appeal to world leaders to “open your hearts” to those already feeling the effects of global warming, saying that drought in her home country means many are going without food.

“As I sit comfortably here in this conference center in Glasgow, over 2 million of my fellow Kenyans are facing climate-related starvation,” she said.

7 months ago

Australia’s leader says technology will provide solutions to climate change

GLASGOW, Scotland — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted that curbing climate change must not come at a high cost to people and businesses, saying technology will provide solutions to the climate crisis.

Australia has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and at the COP26 climate conference on Monday, Morrison said by 2030 Australia’s emissions will be 35 percent below 2005 levels. That is more than Australia’s commitment, made in Paris six years ago, but still weaker than many other wealthy nations. The United States has committed to reductions of between 50 percent and 52 percent below 2005 levels.

Morrison said “technology will have the answers to a decarbonized economy, particularly over time — and achieve it in a way that does not deny our citizens, especially in developing economies, their livelihoods or the opportunity for a better quality of life.”

The Australian leader said “raising the cost of energy just impacts on those who can afford it least” and said “driving down the cost of technology” would be key to Australia hitting its net-zero target.

7 months ago

India pledges to get to ‘net zero’ by 2070, long after U.S. and China

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India announced a new target for his country — to cease adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by 2070.

That’s two decades after the deadline the United States has set for itself, and at least 10 years later than China’s self-proclaimed stopping point. Modi said the goal of reaching “net zero” by 2070 was one of five measures India planned to undertake to meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.

India ranks third in the world when it comes to carbon emissions. China and the U.S. rank first and second, respectively.