GLASGOW – The Latest on the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow:
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is heading back to COP26 to press negotiators from around the world to “turn promises into action” in the summit’s closing days.
Johnson attended a world leaders’ summit that kicked off the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last week, and will return to the Scottish city Wednesday.
So far the conference has produced headline-grabbing announcements in areas including ending coal power, funding green technology and reversing deforestation. But the almost 200 nations attending remain far from sealing a deal that could limit global warming to the internationally agreed goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
Johnson’s office says issues still being hammered out include “a common time frame for national commitments on emissions reductions and agreed methodology for countries to report on their climate action” -- mechanisms that can be used to hold countries to their commitments.
There is also an unkept promise from rich nations to give more money to the countries most vulnerable to climate change -- often developing nations that have done least to cause it.
Johnson, along with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, will meet with government officials, negotiators and civil-society groups in an attempt to inject momentum into the talks.
Johnson said climate change “is bigger than any one country and it is time for nations to put aside differences and come together for our planet and our people. We need to pull out all the stops if we’re going to keep 1.5C within our grasp.”
COP26 is due to end Friday, though the talks could stretch on longer.
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.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Russia said protecting its forests is a key element of the country’s effort to stop adding carbon to the atmosphere by 2060.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk said Tuesday that Moscow wants to achieve that carbon reduction target by cutting greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously “managing and improving greenhouse gas absorption capabilities of our natural ecosystems.”
Overchuk said at the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow that Russia was “focusing on improving our forest management practices, enhancing wildfire prevention response capabilities, increase wilderness areas, introducing new farming practices, as well as engaging in transformation toward cleaner energy.”
Russia may even reach carbon neutrality before 2060, he said.
In the meantime, the country “will remain a reliable supply of energy to international markets and consumers,” Overchuck added.
Russia is one of the world’s top fossil fuel exporters.
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.
Given what’s been pledged “we are likely to be in that area 2.4 degrees, which is still catastrophic climate change and far, far away from the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said climate scientist Niklas Hohne of the New Climate Institute and the Climate Action Tracker. And his group's estimate is more optimistic than a United Nations Environment Program update Tuesday that has future warming still at 2.5 to 2.7 degrees.
Hohne’s group also looked at how much warming there would be if other, less firm national promises were put into effect. If all the submitted national targets and other promises that have a bit of the force of law are included, future warming drops down to 2.1 degrees.
And in the “optimistic scenario” if all the net-zero pledges for mid-century are taken into account — and they have little substance in them — warming would be 1.8 degrees, Hohne said. That’s the same figure as the International Energy Agency came up with for that optimistic scenario and a tenth of a degree warmer than an independent Australian climate scientist calculated.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Countries must come together urgently to find political consensus on issues like the promise of money from rich countries for poor countries to combat climate change or to adapt to climate shocks, says Alok Sharma, who is chairing the two-week climate talks in Glasgow.
“We have only a few days left,” he said.
Sharma said that the commitments made by countries in the first week of the talks narrowed the gap but weren’t enough. He said that countries now have to shift immediately to making good on those promises.
He said that with the commitments the world is bending the curve to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius. “But of course, that isn’t good enough,” he said, reiterating that the target for these talks was to try to ensure that warming is less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Archie Young, the U.K.’s lead negotiator, said that there have been three main areas where there have been disagreements during the negotiations: a mechanism for helping countries with the losses they suffer from climate change, how the progress on countries' own climate targets would be tracked and the support that poor countries need to become more transparent.
But Sharma maintained that there remained an “opportunity to succeed,” adding that the transition to a zero-carbon economy isn’t just possible technologically. “It is economically attractive, and it’s accelerating everywhere. And if we successfully manage this, we deliver immense benefits for the world.”
GLASGOW, Scotland — A United Nations analysis of the latest national climate pledges indicates the ongoing U.N. talks in Glasgow made “some serious toddler steps” toward cutting emissions but far from the giant leaps needed to limit global warming to internationally accepted goals.
United Nations Environment Programme Director Inger Andersen said Tuesday that the new analysis found that the commitments from the last week weren't enough to trim future warming scenarios and reduced the “emissions gap” by a few tenths of a percentage point.
To get to the 2015 Paris climate accord goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), the world can only emit 12.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2030. The latest pledges have the world on track for 51.5 billion metric tons by 2030, down from 53 billion metric tons before this month's climate talks began.
“There’s some serious toddler steps,” Andersen said in an interview with The Associated Press a few minutes after the analysis was finished. “But they are not the leaps we need to see by any stretch of the imagination.”
Andersen acknowledged that none of the three main U.N. goals for the two-week climate talks have been achieved so far. The goals are cutting greenhouse gas emissions by about half by 2030, securing $100 billion a year in aid from rich countries to poor nations because of climate change, and having half of that money go for developing nations to adapt to global warming’s worst harms.
“No, we’re not done yet. We still have a couple of days,” Andersen said. “And so we’re certainly from our side, from the United Nations side, we're going to try to hold everyone’s feet to the fire.”
— This item has been corrected to show that latest pledges would reduce emissions to 51.5 billion metric tons from 53 billion metric tons before Glasgow talks.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Denmark has come out on top, more or less, of a regular review tracking countries’ efforts to combat climate change.
Thanks to its ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Nordic country bumped Sweden off the top in the ranking published by Germanwatch and the New Climate Institute.
But Denmark's performance was still only good enough for fourth place. The non-governmental organizations said none of the 64 countries reviewed met all conditions for a place on the winners’ podium.
Morocco, Chile and India were the top countries outside of Europe, taking places 8 to 10 respectively.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, was ranked 13th, while the United States came in 55th place, one ahead of Russia.
The U.S. was weighed down by its heavy reliance on fossil fuels, high emissions and energy use per capita, the groups said, but gained six places since the last ranking was published for announcing more ambitious climate targets.
GLASGOW, Scotland — U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for putting women and girls at the center of efforts to fight climate change, saying they are disproportionately affected by the impacts of a warming planet.
Pelosi is leading a delegation of congressional Democrats to the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow this week to send a message that the United States has rejoined international initiatives to curb climate change after the Trump years.
Global warming “is a threat multiplier, amplifying and accelerating existing inequities in our economies and societies,” Pelosi said during a Tuesday meeting focused on gender and climate change.
A report by the U.N. Development Program has estimated that 80% of those displaced by climate change are women.
Pelosi said a a $1.85 trillion package of measures focused on health, family and climate change reflected the Biden administration’s goal to “build back better with women.” Democratic holdouts have the bill currently stalled in Congress.
Echoing President Joe Biden, Pelosi said: “America is back together for the planet, for the women, for our children”
LONDON — The leader of one of England’s few Green Party-run local councils has apologized for taking a plane to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
Phelim Mac Cafferty, who heads the Brighton and Hove City Council, flew from London to Glasgow, Scotland where he made a speech. He also attended a large Saturday protest where participants urged world leaders to act urgently to curb carbon emissions.
Brighton, a city on England’s south coast, is about 460 miles (740 kilometers) from Glasgow, or around six hours by train.
Mac Cafferty told The Argus newspaper in his home city that the decision to fly “was a major failure of my judgement which goes against my political group’s pledges and principles, and I unreservedly apologize.”
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.’”
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.
“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.”
LONDON — Britain is investing some 210 million pounds ($285 million) in small nuclear reactor research as the government seeks alternatives to fossil fuels amid fears over rising gas prices.
The investment, which will be matched with some 250 million pounds($340 million) from the private sector, comes amid hope the small modular reactors could be in use by the 2030s. Such reactors would have the potential to be less expensive and more easily moved, supporters say.
The recipient of the government funds, Rolls-Royce SMR, estimates that each small modular reactor it hopes to build could be capable of powering 1 million homes.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the U.K. to deploy more low-carbon energy than ever before and ensure greater energy independence,’’ Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.
Interest in atomic power has grown along with concerns that the world is reducing greenhouse gas emissions too slowly. But environmentalists have long eschewed nuclear power, citing the lingering issue of what to do with nuclear waste.
BERLIN — Environmental group Greenpeace says it filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen alleging that the automaker has failed to do its part to fulfill the goal of limiting global warming.
Greenpeace said it filed the suit Tuesday at the regional court in Braunschweig, Germany. It said it acted after Volkswagen late last month rejected its demand for a legal commitment to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2030.
The group said the plaintiffs are “asserting civil liability claims for the protection of their personal liberties, health and property rights." The claims take a cue from a May ruling in which a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions by net 45% by 2030 compared to the 2019 level.
Greenpeace said that by suing Volkswagen, it is enforcing an April ruling by Germany’s top court that said the government must set clear goals for reducing emissions after 2030. The court said the legislation at the time risked placing too much of a burden for curbing climate change on younger generations.
LONDON — Environmental groups are pressing the British government not to approve drilling in an undersea oilfield north of Scotland, saying it threatens marine species and will add to global warming.
Siccar Point Energy, in which oil company Shell has a stake, wants to extract oil from the Cambo field, west of the Shetland Islands.
A collection of 16 marine protection and climate groups, including Greenpeace U.K., WWF U.K., the Marine Conservation Society and Friends of the Earth, are urging the British government to refuse the application.
The Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide says pipelines to export oil from the area could jeopardize hundreds of species, including rare deep-sea sponges, known and ocean quahogs, a type of clam, in a part of the ocean designated a Marine Protected Area.
Plans for new oil extraction and a proposed new coal mine in northern England are overshadowing U.K. government efforts to persuade other countries to take stronger action to cut carbon emissions at the ongoing United Nations climate conference in Glasgow.
The British government says U.K. oil and gas regulators will make the decision, after an environmental impact assessment and a public consultation.
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