COP26 News review day 12

The final day of the COP26 summit.

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Hundreds of global civil society representatives walk out of Cop26 in protest

Carrying blood-red ribbons to represent the crucial red lines already crossed by Cop26 negotiations, hundreds of representatives of global civil society walked out of the convention centre in Glasgow on the final morning of the summit in protest.

The audience at the People’s Plenary in the conference blue zone heard speakers condemn the legitimacy and ambition of the 12-day summit before walking out to join protesters gathered on the streets beyond the security fencing.

“Cop26 is a performance,” the Indigenous activist Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Tla A’min Nation told the meeting before the walkout. “It is an illusion constructed to save the capitalist economy rooted in resource extraction and colonialism. I didn’t come here to fix the agenda – I came here to disrupt it.”

George Minbiot: Make extreme wealth extinct: it’s the only way to avoid climate breakdown

A recent analysis of the lifestyles of 20 billionaires found that each produced an average of over 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide: 3,500 times their fair share in a world committed to no more than 1.5C of heating. The major causes are their jets and yachts. A superyacht alone, kept on permanent standby, as some billionaires’ boats are, generates around 7,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

I’ve come to believe that the most important of all environmental measures are wealth taxes. Preventing systemic environmental collapse means driving extreme wealth to extinction. It is not humanity as a whole that the planet cannot afford. It’s the ultra-rich.

Fossil fuel industry gets subsidies of $11m a minute, IMF finds (An older article for context).

The fossil fuel industry benefits from subsidies of $11m every minute, according to analysis by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF found the production and burning of coal, oil and gas was subsidised by $5.9tn in 2020, with not a single country pricing all its fuels sufficiently to reflect their full supply and environmental costs. Experts said the subsidies were “adding fuel to the fire” of the climate crisis, at a time when rapid reductions in carbon emissions were urgently needed.

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COP26 News review day 11

‘We are not on course’: scientists warn action must match words at Cop26

Scientists attending Cop26 have sent a clear warning to policymakers: get a move on, because every moment of delay, every extra fraction of a degree of global heating will have dire consequences.

That message has been reinforced at Glasgow with reports, forums and discussions, but those involved in channelling the science to the world’s leaders are frustrated that words are still not being matched by actions.

Peter Stott, a climate scientist at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre who has been attending Cops since 1998, said he was marginally more optimistic than he had been before the Glasgow summit. “I have mixed emotions. I feel relieved that things have started to move, but I am concerned about the speed,” he said. “The scientific message we have talked about for 25 years is being acted on. That is a vindication. We might be starting to turn the corner. But I feel a strong sense of anxiety I haven’t felt before. I want to see the policymakers get a move on. In the next two years we have got to cut emissions rapidly.”

Cop26 targets too weak to stop disaster, say Paris agreement architects

Current national plans – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – would lead to 2.4C of heating, according to an influential analysis this week by Climate Action Tracker.

Countries are currently expected to return with better pledges in 2025, but many are now demanding the deadline should be brought forward. This is seen as the most closely fought area of disagreement as the UK hosts struggle to broker a deal.

“If that [five years] is the first time that countries are called to increase their ambitions, honestly that’s going to be too late,” said Figueres, founding partner of the Global Optimism thinktank.

COP26 aviation pledges ‘full of scams’, campaigners say

A COP26 declaration to cut aviation emissions is “full of scams”, environmental campaigners have warned.

The International Aviation ­Climate Ambition Coalition agreed to ­support measures to reduce the sector’s ­carbon emissions.

These included promoting the ­development of low-carbon aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels and carbon offsetting. It was signed by 20 countries ­including the UK, the US, France and Spain.

But Greenpeace is calling on ­European leaders not to support it, and urged them to ban short-haul flights and “massively invest” in rail instead.

Better public transport is the only way to cut carbon emissions, unions and campaigners urge

CREATING universal and comprehensive public transport is the only way to effectively cut carbon emissions from travel at home and abroad, unions and campaigners have said during Cop26.

Campaigners and politicians condemned the lack of consideration of rail, bus, ferry and cycle transport during proceedings at the summit today, where the focus was put on cars and planes instead.

Officials and delegates at the gathering in Glasgow made a number of announcements on transport, including on zero-emissions vehicles, so-called green shipping corridors, and on decarbonising air travel.

Tory Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that travel, including aviation, should be “guilt-free.” He also said that the government did not see flying as “the ultimate evil,” after officials, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, were condemned for using planes for short journeys during Cop26.

Continue ReadingCOP26 News review day 11