COP26: 7 things to remember about the climate of day 2 of the Glasgow talks


Here’s what happened on the second day.

Methane, which is the main component of natural gas, is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. Invisible and odorless, it has 80 times more short-term warming power than carbon dioxide.

Von der Leyen said that reducing methane emissions “will immediately slow climate change”.

Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics at the World Resources Institute, an environmental research organization, said reducing methane emissions was key to preventing the planet from warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, a key threshold identified by scientists.

“This commitment … sets a solid floor in terms of the ambition we need globally,” Mountford said in a statement. “Strong and rapid action to reduce methane emissions offers a range of benefits, from limiting short-term warming and reducing air pollution to improving food security and public health. “

US President Joe Biden has said the push to reduce methane emissions is as much an economic as an environmental opportunity.

“It’s not just something we have to do to protect the environment, our future,” Biden said Tuesday. “This is a huge opportunity, a huge opportunity for all of us, all of our nations, to create jobs and make meaningful climate goals a critical part of our global economic recovery, too.”

Biden slams Xi and Putin for skipping the conference

US President Joe Biden criticized China and Russia for not doing more to tackle the climate crisis at a press conference at the COP26 climate summit, questioning Chinese President Xi Jinping’s global leadership.

“The fact that China is trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world, as a world leader – doesn’t come up? Come on,” he told reporters.

“The most important thing that gets the world’s attention is the climate.”

In response to a question from CNN’s Phil Mattingly, he said, “I think it was a big mistake, quite frankly, for China, compared to China, not to show up.”

He said the same about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The rest of the world will look to China and say, ‘What added value are they bringing? And they lost the ability to influence people all over the world and all the people here at the COP, the same way I would say about Russia. “

But China heats up to “1.5 degrees”

China’s special envoy for climate change Xie Zhenhua said on Tuesday that his country “is not resisting” the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

China was reluctant to commit strictly to the 1.5 degree figure and preferred to say it would commit to keeping warming “below 2 degrees and as close to 1.5 degrees as possible.”

But Xie seemed to be warming up towards the target on Tuesday.

“I can’t resist the 1.5 degree target. It’s part of the Paris Agreement goals, actually. Talking about global climate goals has to be rules-based. Since 1.5 degrees Celsius is part of the Paris objectives, we are certainly not against this objective, ”he said.

China is the world’s biggest polluter, so supporting this goal is vital. Xie is China’s leading climate negotiator and as such arguably one of the most powerful people attending the Glasgow summit. Earlier Tuesday, he criticized the West for “failing” to deliver on its pledge to provide $ 100 billion in annual climate finance to developing countries.

“I recently spoke to the highest president of COP26, Alok Sharma, and with (US climate envoy) John Kerry and ministers from many other countries. And they told me we had to wait until 2022 or even 2023 to reach the target of 100 billion US dollars, the target set before 2020, “he told reporters.

Meanwhile, speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Kerry said the United States was working with China “without personally challenging them.”

“China has said ‘we are going to strictly limit coal’,” Kerry said. “What we’re trying to do is work with China in a cooperative way to show how they could speed up the transition.”

South Africa’s plan to switch from coal

The US, UK, France, Germany and the European Union have announced that they will help fund South Africa’s transition out of coal.
US, UK and EU to help fund South Africa's coal phase-out, providing a model for the developing world

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the initial $ 8.5 billion partnership would help South Africa decarbonize its coal-intensive energy system. Funding details have yet to be announced and diplomats expect the fine print to be sorted out in the coming months.

Climate scientists and some diplomats say the deal with South Africa could pave the way for similar deals with other developing countries that are big polluters – a crucial step to contain global warming and avert climate catastrophe in its own right.

The promise to fund a coal transition will be noticed by politicians in developing countries, as South Africa is one of the most coal dependent countries in the world.

Steel deal and UK companies will go net zero

More than 40 countries, including the UK, US, India and China, as well as the EU, have backed the first international pledge to achieve ‘near zero’ emission steel production. ‘by 2030.

The steel industry is one of the world’s main producers of carbon dioxide. It is also one of the most difficult industries to decarbonize, as the alternatives to coal required for its production are not yet widely available.

Roz Bulleid, deputy policy director of Green Alliance, an NGO, said green steel technology is the key to achieving 1.5 degrees.

“It’s great to see the UK rallying international action on clean steel: tackling the climate impact of the sector has long been in the ‘too hard’ box but now we have real solutions that can and must be extended, ”he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the UK government is expected to announce on Wednesday that financial institutions and publicly traded companies will be required to release detailed plans on how to meet their net zero climate targets.

Vulnerable countries ask for help

The second day of the leaders’ summit saw a number of moving speeches by the leaders of African countries and small island countries.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a group that brings together the 48 countries most at risk from climate change, called a meeting at COP26 on Tuesday, calling on the rich world to help them move to green economies and deal with impacts of rising temperatures.

John Kerry says COP26 is

CVF ambassador and former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, urged countries large and small to unite and “don’t give up”.

“It is extremely naive of leaders to say that they will save people’s jobs by sticking to fossil fuels,” he said. “Everyone is vulnerable now, not just us, the small islands.”

The leaders of the group had a similar refrain: while their countries are among the least polluting in the world, they are on the front line of the climate crisis.

“The IPCC shows that Africa is warming faster than any continent in the world, even though we are the least emitting,” Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo told the forum, referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change from the UN. “This is why we stand with the African Group and the CVF in calling on developed countries to take the lead in emissions mitigation.

Kerry also attended the meeting. While acknowledging the challenges facing vulnerable countries, he also urged them to take action on the climate and reduce their own emissions.

“I’ll be very blunt with you. Your complaint about what brought us here is legitimate. The future is going to be defined, but what we choose to do,” Kerry said. “If we are to be accountable to ourselves in the world, we must reduce emissions and we must also be responsible by doing enough for adaptation to take care of the damage that has been done and to help countries to be able to work towards it. through. “

More details on deforestation

The grand pledge to end deforestation by 2030, announced by more than 100 countries on Monday, began to take clearer form as several governments announced concrete commitments.
Over 100 countries agree to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 at COP26

The EU has pledged € 1 billion ($ 1.1 billion) to help protect the world’s forests over the next five years, a quarter of which will be earmarked for the Congo Basin commitment, a fund established to protect the world’s second largest tropical rainforest from threats posed by industrial logging and mining.

The UK has said it will commit £ 1.5bn ($ 2bn) over five years to support the pledge, including £ 350m ($ 475m) for rainforests in Indonesia and up to £ 300million ($ 408million) destined for the Amazon.

And Biden has pledged $ 9 billion on behalf of the United States.

“This plan is the first of its kind, taking a whole-of-government approach and working our case with Congress to use up to $ 9 billion in US funding through 2030 to conserve and restore our forests and mobilize billions more from our partners, ”he said. .

CNN’s David McKenzie, Angela Dewan and Ella Nilsen contributed to this report.

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