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Live Updates at COP26: Negotiators Race to Reach Climate Deal As Activists Demand Action

Live Updates at COP26: Negotiators Race to Reach Climate Deal As Activists Demand Action

At the U.N. climate change conference in Glasgow, on Thursday.

ImageAt the U.N. climate change conference in Glasgow, on Thursday.
Credit…Yves Herman/Reuters

As international climate change talks in GlasgowA new draft agreement, released on Friday morning, called for a doubling in money to help developing nations cope with climate impacts. It also called on countries to increase their emission-cutting goals by next year.

But much of the text in the draft — intended to push negotiators toward a deal that all nations can agree on — remained contentious for many countries. Disputes remain over money, the speed of emissions cuts and indeed whether an agreement should even mention “fossil fuels” — the principal cause of climate change, but a term that has never before appeared in a global climate agreement.

After almost two weeks of negotiations, these differences signaled that negotiators would not be able to reach the kind of broad agreement that scientists and activists want. had urged before the start of the United Nations talksCOP26 is the acronym. According to scientific consensus, the world must cut greenhouse-gas emissions by half by 2030 to avoid the most devastating effects of global climate change. But under countries’ current targets, emissions would continue to rise.

The latest draft textIt is full of what could be described in diplomatic documents as rage. It “notes with deep regret” that the rich world has not yet delivered the $100 billion annual aid it promised to deliver by last year. It also calls on a doubling in funding by 2025 for developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

One of the most divisive questions involves countries of the global north — which have prospered for over a century by burning coal, oil and gas and spewed greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — and whether they should compensate developing countries for the irreparable harmsThey have caused. The draft proposes a new “technical assistance facility” to help countries with losses and damages, but experts said questions remain on whether the funding should be new and additional.

Nevertheless, experts believe that the latest draft shows that negotiators are making progress.

“Overall, on balance, this is definitely a stronger and more balanced text than we had two days ago,” said Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics at the World Resources Institute.

With big polluter nations unable to phase out fossil fuels fast sufficient to keep global temperatures below dangerous levels, there is another issue: should they be required to make a stronger climate target by the end next year? The latest draft “requests” that they do so, which is tamer than “urges,” which was used in the previous draft.

Credit…Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Another major issue is whether the agreement should mention fossil fuels, whose combustion is responsible for most of climate change. The draft text released early Friday called on countries to eliminate “inefficient subsidies” for fossil fuels and to accelerate “the phaseout” of coal. the dirtiest fossil fuel. It’s unclear whether that language will stay in the final version, considering that countries like China, India PolandCount heavily on coal plants

The U.N. secretary-general, António Guterres, called on negotiators to take stronger action.

“Every country, every city, every company, every financial institution must radically, credibly and verifiably reduce their emissions and decarbonize their portfolios starting now,” he told the conference on Thursday.

Around 200 countries must agree unanimously on all words in the final text.

Alok Sharma is the president of negotiations and insists that the talks will go ahead. close at the “end” of the dayAlthough this seemed unlikely, it was possible to conclude the negotiations on Friday. The last negotiations in Madrid in 2019 were to be concluded on Friday. extended into Sunday afternoon.

Credit…Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Climate activists excoriated a new draft United Nations agreement on climate change released Friday morning, calling it “corrupted” by fossil fuel interests.

The newest version of the text — which nearly 200 nations will have to agree on — calls on countries to accelerate “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.” That is a change from previous language asking nations to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels.”

Activists said that adding the words “inefficient” and “unabated” could help poor countries that want to keep their oil, gas and coal subsidies — but it could also allow big polluting nations to continue underwriting the use of fossil fuels.

“We have sadly seen the hand of fossil fuel interests interfering with that text to water it down with weasel words,” said Catherine Abreu, executive director of Destination Zero, an environmental group.

Caroline Rance of Friends of the Earth Scotland, an environmental group, said: “It looks like the fossil fuel lobby had their hands on the text to weaken it.”

While burning fossil fuels is the dominant cause of climate change, the phrase “fossil fuels” has never made it into a final agreement in more than 25 years of climate negotiations. Experts agree that any mention of ending subsidies in the final agreement will signal a significant shift in openly discussing climate change’s root causes.

After talks continued into Friday morning, the latest draft, which was intended to push negotiators towards an agreement, was released. Although negotiations are set to conclude on Friday, diplomats indicated that the deadline could slip.

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Climate activists demand a more ambitious COP26 deal

On the last day, more than 700 activists packed into the main hall of the United Nations climate summit. They demanded that countries be more ambitious in their climate pledges and address global inequalities.

“Fighting for justice.” “Fighting for justice.” “And for immigration.” “And for immigration.” “Everywhere we go.” “Everywhere we go.” “The people want to know.” “The people want to know.” “Who we are.” “Who we are.” People’ve got the power. Tell me, can you hear it. Each hour brings more power. Power! Power! Every hour, it gets stronger.

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On the last day, more than 700 activists packed into the main hall of the United Nations climate summit. They demanded that countries be more ambitious in their climate pledges and address global inequalities.CreditCredit…Alastair Grant/Associated Press

More than 700 activists crowded the main hall at the United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow on Friday. They then joined protesters outside, demanding more ambitious climate pledges from countries and addressing global inequalities.

On the last scheduled day of the talks known as COP26, as negotiators in another part of the venue worked to hammer out an agreement, the activists chanted for “climate justice” and “people power” and carried with them a long bolt of red cloth, which they called their “red line.”

The U.N. sanctioned the protest with songs and chants. This added energy to proceedings that were dominated by well-crafted speeches and arguments over verbs in closed door negotiations.

Protesters demanded that more urgent action be taken to eliminate fossil fuels and that developing countries are compensated for any harms they have already caused by climate change.

“People have to be heard, people not in these halls and people in these halls have to be heard,” said Jana Merkelbach, a 36-year-old from Germany. “We are not seeing the ambition that we need. The science is very clear and governments are not delivering on this.”

“There are a lot of ambitious promises. Implementation is what we are looking forward to,” said Disha Sarkar, 25, of India.

“Keep it in the ground,” the protesters shouted, referring to fossil fuels, as they marched slowly past the rooms where negotiators are huddled, and where countries like Saudi Arabia and Australia have set up elaborate pavilions.

One point, the group stopped at the door leading to a maze-like network of country delegation offices. They chanted and sang. “Fighting for justice,” they sang, in a call and response, stomping their feet on the ground, “and for liberation.”

Inside the plenary hall, Mohamed Adow of Power Shift Africa, an environmental group, said: “The time for words without action has come and gone. We no longer have the luxury of time to sit back and allow governments and private interests to destroy our future.”

At around noon, activists left the conference centre to join protesters outside. The midday sun peeked out of the clouds above Glasgow as they emerged.

Credit…Ben Stansall/AFP — Getty Images

Traditional Scottish cuisine tends to be heavy on fish, like salmon and haddock sourced from the waters around Scotland’s miles of coastline, and meat, like Scotland’s signature dish, haggis.

There are many vegan restaurants and cuisines in Glasgow. According to chefs, the rise in vegan options on menus over recent years is a result of changing customer demands. Customers are increasingly asking for vegetarian and dairy-free options.

Menus at the climate summit list the carbon footprint for each dish. (A Scottish beef burger, for example, was calculated to “cost” the equivalent of 3.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide.)

Ubiquitous Chip’s head chef Doug Lindsay explained that the rise in vegetarian options has been amazing at this top restaurant in Glasgow. “There are a lot more vegan restaurants now in Glasgow than there ever were before,” he said, adding, “I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t eat meat all the time. I think if you eat meat, you should be treating it as something special; it’s not something you eat everyday.”

Credit…Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, on Friday described fossil fuel subsidies as the “definition of insanity,” denouncing measures taken by governments that artificially lower the price of coal, oil or gas.

Kerry called for the rapid elimination of subsidies at the United Nations Climate Summit, where negotiators from nearly 200 countries are trying for agreement on a deal to avert the worst effects of climate change. However, Kerry defended new language in a draft agreement that appears to have diluted a push for reducing fossil fuels.

The newest version, released early Friday after negotiators haggled into the predawn hours, calls on countries to accelerate “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.” The addition of the words “unabated” and “inefficient” was seen by some environmental groups as a loophole that would allow subsidies to continue.

But Mr. Kerry argued that the wording “must stay” in the final agreement because commercial technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions could be developed in the future. He said that “knowing what the evidence is” about how sharply global emissions needed to be cut, countries cannot rule out the use of new technologies.

He spoke out strongly about ending subsidies for fossil fuels. According to the U.N. Development Program, $423 billion is spent annually to subsidize oil, coal, and gas. This amount is four times what is needed to address climate change in poor countries.

“That’s a definition of insanity,” Mr. Kerry said, adding that underwriting oil, gas and coal allows governments “to feed the problem we’re here to cure. It doesn’t make sense.”

Officials from other countries argued that the words “unabated” and “inefficient” should be removed from the agreement.

“We need clear language on the need to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies, not only the inefficient ones, and to accelerate the phaseout of coal power,” said Andrea Meza, Costa Rica’s environment minister. Tina Stege, climate envoy for South Pacific nation the Marshall Islands. threatened by rising sea levels, said: “Fossil fuel subsidies are paying for our own destruction.”

Credit…Bryan Denton for The New York Times

The science of climate changeWhile the consensus is widespread, the topic’s scope and the proliferation of disinformation make separating fact from fiction difficult. The Times asked Julia Rosen (a journalist who holds a PhD in geology) to explain some of the things we know and how they know it. She writes that the world’s response to climate change will determine the extent of its impact.

If we keep going with business as usual, it’ll be past the century. too hot to go outsideDuring heat waves throughout the Middle East South Asia. Droughts will gripThe Mediterranean, southern Africa, and Central America are all at risk. Rising seas will also overtake many low-lying islands and countries, including those in Texas and Bangladesh.

Climate change could, however, bring about a welcome warming trend and longer growing seasons. upper MidwestCanada, the Nordic Countries and Russia. Further north, however, the loss snow, ice, and permafrost may upend the traditions and threaten infrastructure.

It’s complicated, but the underlying message is simple: unchecked climate change will likely exacerbate existing inequalities. Even though they have historically emitted less, the poorer countries will be hardest hit at a national level. only a fraction of the greenhouse gasesThey can cause warming.

Even in wealthy countries, the poorest and most marginalized will suffer the most. People with greater resources have more buffers, such air-conditioners that keep their homes cool during dangerous heat waves. They also have the means to pay their energy bills. They are also more likely to be able to evacuate their homes in the event of a disaster and then recover from it.

In addition, warmer weather aids in the spread infectious diseases and vectors that transmit them. ticks and mosquitoes. Research also found troubling correlations between rising temperature and increased temperatures. interpersonal violence, and climate change is widely recognized as a “threat multiplier” that increases the odds of larger conflictsBetween and within countries.

In other words, climate changes will bring about many changes that no amount can stop. It is possible to reduce the temperature.

Credit…Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Whatever the outcome of the Glasgow negotiations over a deal to slow global temperature rises, the United Nations climate conference (COP26) has made some significant progress on key issues.

These are some of the deals that were announced at the two week talks:

China and the U.S.

China and the United States announced a joint agreementChina pledged for the first time that it would develop a plan to lower methane, a potent greenhouse, and to work together to reduce carbon emissions. The pact between the rivals, which are the world’s two biggest polluters, surprised delegates to the summit.

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However, the agreement was lacking specifics. China did not set a new timeline or limit the amount of its emissions that it would allow to decrease. And while China agreed to “phase down” coal starting in 2026, it did not specify by how much or over what period of time.

Deforestation

Leaders from more than 100 countries (including Brazil, China and Russia) vowed to end deforestation by 2030. The landmark agreement covers some 85 percent of the world’s forests, which are crucial to absorbing carbon dioxide and slowing the pace of global warming.

Twelve governments pledged $12 billion and seventy-seven private companies pledged $7billion to restore and protect forests in a variety ways, including $1.7billion for Indigenous peoples. However, advocacy groups have criticized the agreement as lacking teeth, pointing to the failures of similar efforts in the past.

Methane

More than 100 countries have agreed to reduce methane emissions by 30% by the end of this decade. The pledge was part a push by Biden’s administration, which also announced the Environmental Protection Agency would reduce methane emissions from approximately one million oil and natural gas rigs across the United States.

The countries that have signed the Global Methane Pledge include half of the world’s top 30 methane-emitting countries, and U.S. officials said that they expected the list to grow.

India

For the first time, India joined the growing chorus of nations pledging to reach “net zero” emissions, setting a 2070 deadlineTo stop adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. One of the world’s largest consumers of coal, India also announced that it would significantly expand the portion of its total energy mix that comes from renewable sources, and that half of its energy would come from sources other than fossil fuels by 2030.

Credit…Yves Herman/Reuters

The carbon footprint of this year’s United Nations climate summit is expected to be double that of the previous conference in 2019, according to a report produced for the British government.

The COP26 summit in Glasgow is set to conclude Friday. It is expected to produce emissions equivalent to approximately 102,500 tons of CO2. says a report compiled by Arup,A professional services company, first reported by The Scotsman.

According to the report, approximately 60 percent of these emissions are due to international flights. Accommodations, policing and energy for venue make up the remainder.

The summit’s environmental impact was not lost on the attendees. Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan climate activist, was on hand to speak. on Thursday called out business leaders and investors, saying they had not taken immediate action but instead were “flying into COP on private jets” and “making fancy speeches.”

Previous climate summits had much smaller carbon footprints, including COP25 in Madrid in 2019The equivalent of 51,101 tonnes of carbon dioxide was emitted by the.

Not all COP events leave a carbon footprint. According to the United Nations’, the 2014 carbon offset was achieved by Lima, Peru as host government for COP20.

Cansin Leylim 350.org, an organization working to end the age of fossil fuels, said the focus should not be on the summit’s emission numbers.

“The question shouldn’t be how do we reduce emissions at these type of events, but how do we speed up the phasing out all fossil fuels, end fossil finance and leverage the climate finance needed to support a global just transition, so that we don’t have to have these type of conferences in the first place,” she said.

Dr. Stephen Allen, a University of Bath expert on energy and carbon analysis, stated that in-person negotiations can sometimes be crucial to making progress on issues such as climate change.

“It is a big number,” he said of the summit’s projected carbon footprint. “But it is essential that we get an international commitment. I suppose in a way, we’re investing carbon emissions in trying to secure a good international agreement that then leads to really big carbon savings.”

Credit…Getty Images

One of the biggest fights at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow is whether — and how — the world’s wealthiest nations, which are disproportionately responsible for global warming to date, should compensate poorer nationsFor the damage that rising temperatures can cause.

The United States, Canada Japan, and many other rich countries account for just 12 per cent of the world’s current population. However, they are responsible for half of all the planet warming greenhouse gases that have been released from fossil fuels over the past 170years.

Earth has warmed up by approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius (2.7 degree Fahrenheit) over that time. This has led to stronger heat waves, floods, droughts, and wildfires. These countries, which are more vulnerable than others, have asked richer nations for more money to help them adapt.

Find out how the data behind the battle for compensation compares to the development and wealthy nations in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. this article.

Credit…Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

Three years ago MontargisA provincial town located 75 miles from Paris became the center of the Yellow Vest social movement. It was started as a protest against an increase in gasoline taxes. It was rooted in a class division that exposed the resentment between many working-class French people, their livelihoods being threatened by the clean energy transition, and the metropolitan elites in Paris, who can buy electric cars and can bike to work, unlike those living in the countryside.

Now, Montargis residents watch the global climate talks in GlasgowExperts and officials warn that urgent action must be taken to avoid an environmental catastrophe. However, the economic and political disconnect which nearly tore apart France three-years ago is still just below the surface.

If the theme is COP26Montargis’ immediate concern is how quickly time is running out to save the earth.

In part, the coronavirus shortages have caused gas prices to rise 12.6 percent in the last month. People who used to encourage their children to buy diesel-powered cars may find electric cars too expensive. A wind turbine that reduces property values is not what a retired couple needs.

“If Parisians love wind turbines so much, why not rip up the Bois de Vincennes and make an attraction of them?” asked Magali Cannault, who lives near Montargis, alluding to the vast park to the east of Paris.

The topic of clean energy transition has become a sensitive subject for President Emmanuel Macron who faces an election in April. He has presented himself as a green warrior but he is pragmatic. However, he knows that any return of the Yellow Vests to their barricades would be disastrous for his electoral prospects.

Talk of a revolution in clean energy feeds into a much broader sense of alienation felt by those in the outlying areas that France calls its “periphery.” Jean-Pierre Door, a conservative lawmaker with a lot of angry constituents, said: “We want to go too fast. People are being pushed to the limit.”

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