Sir David Attenborough has today appeared in a new video calling for “bold action” at COP26 to help nature recover.
In the short film, released by The Wildlife Trusts to coincide with the start of the global climate summit, Sir David highlights the role of wildlife in addressing the climate emergency.
He says: “Nature has extraordinary powers to lock up carbon dioxide; to provide clean air and water; to help protect us from flooding and extreme weather; and to provide the food which sustains us.”
But Sir David comments on the decline of wildlife, saying that nature has reached “breaking point”.
Greenpeace said it had been warned by port authorities not to sail up the River Clyde to the global climate conference, but added the vessel would still attempt the journey.
If the voyage is successful, the four youth activists on the Rainbow Warrior plan to meet fellow members of the Fridays for Future climate strike movement on Monday afternoon outside the summit to deliver their message.
The stakes could hardly be higher. The consequences of the world failing to agree on the action needed are potentially catastrophic. Already we are seeing the devastating effects of the climate crisis.
Those impacts are no longer distant or theoretical. They are being experienced now. Just this year we have witnessed wildfires in Greece, massive flooding in Nigeria and Uganda, a food crisis in Madagascar – as well as devastating flooding in western Europe.
The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could not have been clearer about the necessity of action. Compared to pre-industrial times, global temperatures have already risen by more than one degree on average.
And, as the UN Secretary General made clear last month, the definite promises made by member states at that stage – assuming they were all delivered – were sufficient only to keep temperature increases to 2.7°C. He said that would create a “hellscape” on earth.
At the formal opening of the conference, Patricia Espinosa, UN climate chief, told delegates that humankind was at a “pivotal point in history”.
The message was wholeheartedly endorsed by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said she “couldn’t agree more”.
The summit kicks off this weekend before world leaders attend the summit for an official opening ceremony on Monday.
Speaking to delegates earlier, Epinosa warned: “Humanity faces stark but clear choices. We either choose to achieve rapid and large-scale reductions of limiting emissions to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C or we accept that humanity faces a bleak future on this planet.”
The last seven years have been the hottest on record – with sea levels rising to new highs and climate-related destructive weather extremes in 2021, UN experts have said.
In its annual state of the global climate report launched as the UN Cop26 summit gets under way, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said that 2021 is likely to have been the fifth to seventh hottest year on record.
While it is not quite as hot as some recent years, due to a “La Nina” weather phenomenon in the Pacific – which has a cooling affect on global temperatures, it still averaged 1.09C above pre-industrial levels, the WMO said.
The last seven years since 2015, when countries secured the Paris Agreement to curb temperature rises to 1.5C or well below 2C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, have been the hottest in records dating back to 1850.
And the UK’s Met Office warned the world’s temperature has reached an average exceeding 1C above pre-industrial levels for the past two decades, the first time a 20-year period has been at that level since the records began.
Extinction Rebellion activists marched through Edinburgh in solidarity with protests taking place across the world during the COP26 climate summit.
The demonstrators walked from George IV Bridge, Bank Street, North Bank Street, Market Street, Jeffrey Street and Canongate to reach the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood at about 1pm.
A rally was then held, with short speeches by representatives from charities and action groups addressing issues contributing to the climate crisis.
Participant Mike Grant, 61, from Rosewell, Midlothian, said: “I am marching today to make clear to those gathering for Cop26 that the people demand far bolder and far faster action now.
A group of cyclists who work in children’s hospitals and as medical bosses arrived at Cop26 after cycling 800km (500 miles).
The group have carried with them the Healthy Climate Prescription letter, a document signed by organisations representing 45 million health professionals around the world.
The letter says “the climate crisis is the single biggest health threat facing humanity”, with air pollution at the top of the list of deadly impacts.
It calls for a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels, the cause of both problems.
FORMER business secretary Alok Sharma, Boris Johnson’s appointee to chair Cop26, sought to put China in the dock today with his widely publicised comments “we expected more” — hardly the best way to win consensus ahead of a critically important conference.
There are two issues here. One is truth. The other is the contrast of approach between two different social systems.
In terms of carbon emissions per head, China today stands at 7.3 tonnes and the US at more than double that at 15.2.
More striking, however, is the speed of China’s development of zero-carbon technologies. In 2016 the EU generated 101 gigawatt of solar power and China 78.
Today the figures are reversed: China 204 and EU 134. Equally with wind power. In 2014 the EU generated 128 gigawatt and China 114. Today China produces 281 and the EU 201.
And in terms of relevant technologies China is well ahead. It produces 80 per cent of the world’s solar panels. It has over two-thirds of the world’s high-speed electric trains. It has as almost as many electric cars as the US and the EU combined — and 57 percent of its Belt and Road energy investments are for renewables as against 28 per cent two years ago.