We have not done enough to get to 1.5C yet – PM spokesperson
Boris Johnson’s spokesman has sounded a more upbeat note about Cop26 today compared with the prime minister’s words at the weekend, warning about the risk of failure at Glasgow.
The UK as hosts are understood to be pleased by progress on forests and the new 2030 commitment from India, but acknowledge that work on climate financing is proving very difficult.
Asked whether Johnson’s weekend gloom had been expectation management, the spokesman said: “The PM felt very much at the G20 that limited progress was made but was by no means the significant boost that was needed. What we’ve seen so far is some early signs that we are starting to make some progress. Again, we are not complacent. This is not a done deal by any means. There is a huge amount of work left to do.
“Currently we are at 2.7C and there is work to do to consider exactly what the commitments announced do to bring that down further, but we have absolutely not done enough to get us to 1.5 so the pressure will be kept up absolutely. It is just important to recognise when countries, when leaders do step up and make commitments that do require change, challenges and significant sums of investment.”
Johnson has still not made a decision on whether to come back at the end of Cop26, and could make a statement from Downing Street on what is agreed rather than heading up to Glasgow again.
Johnson is due to give a press conference at 5pm today before flying back to London.
A plan to coordinate the introduction of clean technologies in order to rapidly drive down their cost has been agreed at the Cop26 summit by world leaders, including the UK, US, India and China.
A global transition to green energy and vehicles is vital in tackling the climate crisis and economies of scale mean that costs plummet as production ramps up, as already seen with solar panels and LED lightbulbs.
Countries said they would align standards and coordinate investments to speed up production and bring forward the “tipping point” at which green technologies are more affordable and accessible than the fossil-fuelled alternatives.
The first five breakthroughs being targeted are clean electricity, electric vehicles, green steel, hydrogen and sustainable farming, aiming to make these affordable and available to all nations by 2030 and potentially creating 20m new jobs.
Boris Johnson said:
By making clean technology the most affordable, accessible and attractive choice, the default go-to in what are currently the most polluting sectors, we can cut emissions right around the worldAdvertisement
US to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030
In response to today’s announcement to end deforestation by 2030, Yadvinder Malhi, a professor of ecosystem science at the University of Oxford, said it was a “Paris moment” for forests.
“In Paris in 2016 the world’s leaders committed to recognise the concept of net zero, to draw a line in the sand around how much greenhouse gases can be allowed into the atmosphere,” he said. “Now in Glasgow they have committed to a similar aspiration for deforestation and land degradation, to stop and start reversing these by 2030.”
More financial commitment would be needed, but it was striking to see such a significant declaration, especially one including big rainforest nations such as Brazil, Indonesia and DRC, Prof Malhi said.
Police in Glasgow have apologised after it emerged that women walking home after dark on Monday were stopped from using well-lit streets near the Cop26 summit, and told to use badly-lit routes instead.
Residents near the Scottish Exhibition Centre venue on the Clyde said police told them to walk long distances through Kelvingrove park and other side streets to get to their homes, because more direct routes were shut down for security reasons. One claimed she was followed by a male officer, despite asking him to leave her.
Police Scotland, which recently unveiled an enhanced strategy to promote women’s safety, said those diversions were temporary and imposed at short notice due to “real-time changes to operational plans.”
Assistant chief constable Gary Ritchie said the diversion would not be introduced, and the force would talk to Glasgow city council about improved lighting in Kelvingrove park.
“While late changes and some level of disruption is inevitable when policing an event the size and scale of Cop26, we understand and apologise for the concern these changes caused and for the inconvenience to those diverted.
“We do, in particular, recognise and acknowledge the commentary from some women who had to walk through the park on their own last night, we want to keep everyone safe and we know that the onus is on us to recognise when we could provide some more support and visibility to reassure people in our communities.”
UPDATE: My colleague Nina Lakhani has said:
This happened to me last night! I had to walk back through unlit Kelvingrove Park, took an extra 30 minutes and was damn dangerous with the wet leaves. I asked a cop how I was meant to get home, and he suggested I come back the following day!
At a packed event at the Scotland Pavilion, the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has made a statement calling for women and girls to be at the forefront of climate change discussions.
The joint statement from the Scottish government and UN Women recognises that women and girls are commonly disproportionately affected by climate change.
In a panel discussion with the prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina; the president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan and the prime minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, Sturgeon noted that girls were more likely to be taken out of school and women less able to find alternative forms of work as a result of climate impacts.
African countries will spend $6bn on adapting to climate impacts
African countries are preparing to spend at least $6bn a year from their tax revenues on adapting to the impacts of the climate crisis and are calling on the rich world to provide $2.5bn a year for the next five years to enable them to meet their goals.
Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and chair of the African Union, will today call on countries and philanthropist who have pledged help to Africa in the past to step forward.
He has in mind countries such as the US, Canada and the EU bloc, and the tech mogul Bill Gates, who are expected to attend a meeting with the African Union later on Tuesday.
The African adaptation Acceleration Plan was set out at the Paris summit in 2015 but remains largely unfunded as donors have been slow to come up with cash.
Adaptation to the impacts of the climate crisis is a key issue at these talks. Africa is already facing serious impacts from climate breakdown in the form of long and deep droughts, flooding and storm surges in coastal areas, rising temperatures and heatwaves and damaging impacts on agriculture.
But funding for adaptation has lagged well behind that for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Tuntiak Katan, a leader of Ecuador’s Indigenous Shuar people who serves as general coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, has said: “We’re here to tell world leaders across the planet that indigenous people are here to make a pact for life – there is no more time, don’t make political promises or financial announcements about the climate if you are not going to keep them.
“The decisions we make today will make the difference between whether we’re going to live, or we’re all going to perish.”
He cautiously welcomed the $1.7bn of funding led by the governments of the UK, US, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands, but emphasised that what happens next is crucial. “The UK is now at a crossroads: they can either use our presence as a photo op, or they can choose to become a global champion for indigenous peoples and local communities,” he told the Guardian.
Other campaigners said the pledge was a “first step” in making indigenous rights central to the climate crisis.
No show by the Brazil delegation today at a press conference, where they were scheduled to talk on the subject of “strong environmental defence”. Make of that what you will.
It follows a somewhat frosty reception for Jair Bolsonaro at last weekend’s G20 summit and a decidedly lukewarm reaction to Brazil’s latest climate plan.
Pension funds in the Nordic countries and UK have announced they will invest $130bn in clean energy and climate projects by 2030. As part of this commitment, the funds will also report every year on the progress of their climate investments.
“Green transition requires massive investments,” said Mette Frederiksen, the prime minister of Denmark. “Governments have to do their part but we also need private investors on board.”
Peter Damgaard Jensen, a co-chair of the Climate Investment Coalition, said: “These critical steps ensure pensions take advantage of the enormous opportunities of the green transition, help spur immediate solutions to lower carbon emissions, while protecting our savings against the ravages of climate change.”
Joe Biden has described Build Back Better World, a G7-launched project to help create sustainable infrastructure in lower-income countries, as a means to promote not just greener economies, but also democracy.
Speaking at a Cop26 event alongside Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, the US president set out a series of priorities for the scheme, known as B3W for short, including climate resilience and local partnerships.
He also added: “We have to show – and I think we will show – that democracy is still the best way for delivering results.” This latter focus is notable given B3W has been seen in part as a riposte to China’s longer-running Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure plan for developing countries seen as a way for Beijing to increase its influence on such nations.
In his input, Johnson gave a nod to the UK’s plans to create new green employment, calling B3W “a global mission for jobs and growth”. In another look to his domestic audience, Johnson called it “global levelling up”.