Monday’s rhetorical flurry by world leaders was an attempt to revive the collapsed international climate negotiations.
The COP26 conference was opened in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday. It opened just one day after the conclusion of the G20 economies failed to commit to a 2050 target to halt net-carbon emissions – a deadline widely cited as necessary to prevent the most extreme global warming.
Instead, their talks in Rome only recognised “the key relevance” of halting net emissions “by or around mid-century”, set no timetable for phasing out coal at home and watered-down promises to cut emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
The opening ceremony was opened by Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, and Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General. Other speakers included David Attenborough, British natural historian, and the prince of Wales.
Guterres told world leaders they needed need “maximum ambition” to make the summit a success.
“Enough of brutalising biodiversity. Enough with the carbon bombing. Enough of treating the natural world as a public toilet. We must stop burning, drilling, and mining our way further. We are digging our own graves,” he said.
Meanwhile, India’s economy will become carbon neutral by the year 2070, the country’s prime minister announced Monday at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
This live blog is now closed. These were Monday’s updates:
China’s Xi’s absence seen as ‘not good enough’: AJ correspondent
China was notably absent from this year’s Summit, with President Xi Jingping releasing a written statement instead.
“Xi Jinping has not left China since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak and did not attend the G20 and is not at COP 26 – which has frustrated many. Because as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases many are simply saying that is not good enough,” Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu reported from Beijing.
Moreover Yu reported: “China last week submitted its climate targets to the UN, and we didn’t really see anything new. China claimed it will achieve carbon neutrality in 2060. It also stated that it will reduce carbon emissions to the maximum level by 2030. And what China did in its submission last week was really just elaborate on the steps he wants to take to achieve those goals.”
There are no concrete plans for domestic action to reach climate targets. Academic
Climate targets announced by nations remain “untethered to concrete domestic actions plans”, Tufts University professor Emily Sims Gallagher told Al Jazeera.
“While we’ve had new announcements from Russia and Saudi Arabia that they will achieve net zero by 2060. They don’t have an action plan for how they’re going to get from, you know where they are today in 2021 to 2060,” Gallagher said, speaking from Medford, Massachusetts.
“Even if you look at the United States, I think President Biden has the very best of intentions but everybody knows now that the main proponent of his action plan for getting us on track to achieving its 2030 target is not embraced by Congress.”
Australia’s Morrison banks on technology to fix climate
Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, has stressed that reducing climate change must not be costly to individuals and businesses. He also stated that technology will solve the climate crisis.
Morrison said “technology will have the answers to a decarbonised 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.”
Australia has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Morrison said by 2030 Australia’s emissions will be 35 percent below 2005 levels.
Attenborough: The world can save the planet by working together
British naturalist David Attenborough gave leaders at the UN climate summit in Glasgow a brief lesson is the fragility of the planet and humanity’s dependence on the natural world.
“We are, after all, the greatest problem solvers to have ever existed on Earth,” he said. “If working apart, we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet. Surely working together, we are powerful enough to save it.”
Attenborough said for much of humanity’s existence, the climate on Earth had swung wildly before stabilising 10,000 years ago, allowing human civilizations to flourish.
“The stability we all depend on is breaking,” he said.
“That desperate hope, is why the world is looking to you and why you are here”
— Sir David Attenborough, #COP26People’s Advocate, speaking during the Opening Ceremony.#TogetherForOurPlanet pic.twitter.com/YZrOwFxuAw
— COP26 (@COP26) November 1, 2021
Ukraine leader warns of ecological ‘bombs’ on its territory
Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of ecological “bombs” threatening the world from Crimea and Donbas.
Zelenskyy raised concerns about the dangers the Russian naval base at Crimea poses to the local environment.
He also stated that the conflict between the rebel-controlled Donbas and Ukraine resulted in a lack of water, soil degradation, and flooding of mines.
Failure to finance poor nations ‘immoral’: Barbados PM
The Barbados prime minister said failure to provide nations with the funds to protect themselves and adapt to climate change was “measured in lives and livelihoods in our communities”.
“That, my friends, is immoral and it is unjust,” Mia Mottley said.
“We want to exist in a hundred years from now. And if our existence is to mean anything, then we must act in the interest of all our people who are depending on us.”
Uhuru Kenyatta paints a grim picture of Africa’s impact
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged leaders of wealthier nations to take into consideration the “special needs and circumstances of Africa” in the fight against climate change.
“Throughout Africa as the most vulnerable continent to the impacts of climate change, countries are already experiencing loss and damage of an increasing magnitude and frequency,” he said.
Kenyatta stated, “While Kenya has developed a plan to maintain low carbon development trajectory,” the economic losses and damage to developing countries could reach $580 billion by 2030.
India pledges to reduce emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2070
India’s prime minister says his country will aim to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by 2070 – two decades after the United States and at least 10 years later than China.
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.
Modi also said India would increase its 2030 target for installed capacity of “non-fossil energy” – mostly solar – from 450 to 500 gigawatts
Scientists: The transition of poor countries into renewable energy must be funded by rich countries
Speaking from Glasgow, Joham Rockstrom of the Postdam Institute of Climate Impact Research believes rich nations have the “fundamental responsibility” to help poor nations transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy systems.
“It has to be the OECD countries in the world, it has to be the rich minority of industrialised countries that have been surfing along for 150 years … benefitting from a climate-destroying fossil fuel-based economy,” he told Al Jazeera.
Rockstrom said that the Green Climate Fund funding and a global price for carbon were two ways in which industrialized countries could aid vulnerable nations in their transition.
Ecuador to expand Galapagos marine reserve, president says
At COP 26, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso announced that the Galapagos marine reserve would be expanded by approximately 60,000sq km (23.166sq miles).
“I announce the declaration of a new marine reserve in Galapagos,” Lasso said at a news conference on the sidelines of the COP26 summit. “It will be nothing less than 60,000 square kilometres to be added to the existing reserve.”
The Galapagos islands reserve is already one the largest in the globe, with 133,000sqkm (51,351sq mile). But the expansion will add Cocos Ridge, which stretches towards Costa Rica and serves as a feeding and migration area to endangered species.
Ecuador will seek to exchange debt for conservation in order to create a trust to finance the preservation of the area and to invest in better technology for the island.
Seychelles leader ‘scared’ of impact on his country
President of Seychelles Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan said he is “scared” of the effect climate change will have on his country during his address at the opening session of the COP26 Leaders Summit on Monday.
“When I hear the expression rising sea level, I am scared because it brings home the awareness that my country’s granitic islands will lose all the economic activities happening around the coast,” said during his address.
Ramkalawan added that he feared the Seychelles, “the beautiful archipelago of 115 islands”, may be reduced to less than 50 islands as the coral reefs disappear.
Biden: ‘Decisive decade’ to tackle climate crisis’
President Joe Biden said actions taken this decade to contain climate change would be decisive in preventing future generations from suffering, declaring that “none of us can escape the worst that is yet to come if we fail to seize this moment.”
“Will we do what is necessary?” Biden asked. “This is the decade that will determine the answer.”
He presented the enormous cost of limiting carbon emissions to world leaders gathered in Scotland and argued that it was possible to create jobs through switching to renewable energy.
“We can create an environment that raises the standard of living around the world,” he said. “This is a moral imperative, but it’s also an economic imperative.”
Spain commits to increasing climate financing
Speaking at the United Nations COP26 climate summit, Pedro Sanchez, Spanish Prime Minister, stated that Spain would increase climate finance by 50% by 2025.
Brazil to reduce its climate emissions by 50% by 2030
Brazil’s Environment Minister Joaquim Pereira Leite said on Monday that the country would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, substantially raising the previous commitment to reduce emissions by 43 percent in that time period.
In a pre-recorded video shown at COP26 in Glasgow, President Jair Bolsonaro said he had authorised Leite to raise Brazil’s climate targets.
Macron arrives at the summit as French President
After being greeted in London by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron, the French President was surrounded by a crowd of media as he made his journey through the COP26 conference venue.
Walking towards the delegates’ area, Macron was approached by a student observer from Paris, 22-year-old, Cassandra Windey.
She said that she was encouraging him to take action to make the COP26 a success, and she listened to her.
She also stated that she was disappointed she was not allowed to observe the negotiations from inside due to COVID-related restrictions.
‘Hopes of the world are upon you’: Prince Charles
The prince of Wales told leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference the “hopes of the world are upon you.”
The heir to the British throne issued a plea to the representatives of more than 200 countries to “create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required”.
Charles, a longtime champion of environmentalism, said the solution to the threats of climate change is “radically transforming our current fossil fuel-based economy to one that is genuinely renewable and sustainable”.
COP26 must act to ‘save humanity’: UN chief
The COP26 climate summit must act to “save humanity” and protect the planet, UN chief Antonio Guterres said at the summit’s opening ceremony, warning that currently “we are digging our own graves.”
The United Nations secretary general said countries must continue to work towards the Paris agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F).
Calling for the decarbonisation of global economies and the phasing out of coal, he said world leaders need “maximum ambition” to make the summit a success.
“It’s time to say: enough,” Guterres told world leaders.
“Enough of brutalising biodiversity. Enough with the carbon bombing. Enough with treating nature as a bathroom. We must stop burning, drilling, and mining our way further. We are digging our own graves.”
Erdogan skipped COP26 owing to unmet security needs
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he decided against attending the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow after the UK failed to meet Turkey’s demands on security arrangements, according to Turkish broadcaster NTV.
“When our demands were not met, we decided not to go to Glasgow,” Erdogan was quoted as telling reporters on his plane returning from Rome.
Glasgow protests activists dressed up as world leaders
Armed with bagpipes and dressed in kilts, the Oxfam campaigners visualised that world leaders need to come up with more action and not only “hot air” to tackle the climate crisis.
“These leaders, instead of reducing emissions and putting the world on a safer path, they are just blowing hot air, and we have had enough of hot air and empty promises, what we are asking for is for concrete action”, said Oxfam Climate Policy Lead Nafkote Dabi.
“We need climate finance, poor countries need climate finance, vulnerable communities need climate finance, and they need to be serious about this, to support vulnerable countries, to adapt to the worst impact of the climate crisis.”
‘We need to act now’: British PM
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has welcomed more than 120 world leaders to historic climate talks in Glasgow with the stark warning: “It’s one minute to midnight, and we need to act now.”
Johnson kicks off the Glasgow summit from 12:00 GMT, having admitted to a “road to Damascus” conversion to the threat of climate change.
“It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now,” Johnson was due to tell them in his keynote speech, according to Downing Street. “If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.”
While @COP26It will not end climate change, but it can and must be the beginning.
My address at the World Leaders Summit Opening Ceremony https://t.co/PfUoLhM9im#COP26 | #TogetherForOurPlanet pic.twitter.com/sSVZMdg9nE
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 1, 2021
Biden arrives in Scotland to attend the UN climate summit
President Joe Biden arrived in Scotland Monday to attend a UN climate summit. He flew in from Rome, where he attended the G20.
Air Force One landed in Edinburgh. President Donald Trump will speak at the COP26 summit in Glasgow at 1:00pm (13.00 GMT).
As world leaders arrive, global climate talks begin
Leaders from around the world have begun to arrive in Scotland for crucial international climate talks.
The biggest names, including US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Ibrahim Solih, president of the hard-hit Maldives, will take the stage on Monday.
Xi Jinping, the president of China’s top-carbon-polluting nation, and Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be in Glasgow. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also decided not to travel to Glasgow, saying the security arrangements did not meet Turkey’s demands.