The Latest: Greta Thunberg calls UN climate talks a failure
The latest on the U.N. climate summit COP26 in Glasgow:
GLASGOW, Scotland — Greta Thunberg branded the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow so far “a failure,” accusing leaders of actively creating loopholes in the rules and greenwashing their countries’ emissions.
Speaking at a rally outside the conference venue, Thunberg called for tougher rules to clamp down on polluters instead of what she termed “distant, non-binding pledges.”
“World leaders are obviously scared of the truth, yet no matter how hard they try, they cannot escape it,” she said. “They cannot ignore the scientific consensus, and above all they cannot ignore us - the people, including their own children.”
GLASGOW, Scotland — Developed nations will start making good on their joint pledge of $100 billion in annual climate aid to developing nations next year, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said Friday.
That’s at least a year earlier than some estimates. “So there is genuine progress,” Kerry told reporters at a press conference, listing advancements that have moved climate efforts forward over the past year.
The United States and other developed nations committed to the financing pledge under the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.
Less wealthy countries say they cannot switch their economies to cleaner fuel, and protect their people from increasing natural disasters as the Earth warms, without substantial foreign aid.
And they say established economies, like the United States, should pay, since they historically have been responsible for most of the climate damage from burning coal and petroleum.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has compared the world’s complacency on climate change to the way it failed to take seriously the threat of fascism during the 1930s.
Invoking Winston Churchill’s famous warning that “the era of procrastination (...) is coming to its close,” Gore told the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow that the impacts of global warming would soon spur momentum for action.
“We are now experiencing the consequences of the climate crisis in every part of our world,” he said Friday, echoing Churchill. “The scientists warned us that these consequences were coming.”
Gore starred in “An Inconvenient Truth,” an Oscar-winning 2006 documentary about the threat of climate change.
In Glasgow, he praised countries and companies that recently made new pledges to curb emissions but added that the fulfillment of those commitments must be closely watched.
Gore advocated for “radical transparency” that includes monitoring emissions from the ground, the sea, by air and by satellite to identify those responsible for releasing greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
He also warned that the rising number of climate refugees expected over the coming decades risked triggering “xenophobia and anger” which in turn could fuel authoritarian populism around the world.
ANKARA, Turkey — The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party is appealing to foreign investors to steer clear of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s project to construct a shipping canal skirting Istanbul, saying it would exacerbate the climate change crisis.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu said on Twitter Friday that he sent letters to all the foreign embassies in Turkey, urging them to tell investors in their countries that the “Canal Istanbul” project is “against the world’s climate.”
“The Canal Istanbul will play havoc with the ecological system and will harm not just Turkey, but the whole world,” Kilicdaroglu wrote in the letter.
Erdogan first suggested in 2011 the idea of constructing a canal linking the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, which he dubbed his “crazy project.” His government took steps toward its construction this year.
The government says the 45-kilometer (28-mile) canal would relieve pressure on the Bosporus Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and reduce the risk of accidents.
Opponents claim it will cause widespread ecological damage to the region, increase the dangers posed by earthquakes and saddle Turkey with further debt.
GLASGOW, Scotland — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry says American climate negotiators are having meaningful talks with their Russian and Chinese counterparts at the U.N. summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
That’s despite Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping skipping world leaders’ current rounds of climate talks, a decision that sparked complaints from U.S. President Joe Biden when he attended a few days ago.
Kerry told reporters he came late to a Friday press conference because Americans had been talking with Russian officials at the summit on efforts to reduce pollution from methane, a potent climate-damaging gas.
“We were talking about how we might deal with methane, possibly work together,” Kerry said of Russians.
“And we’re meeting with China here, and we’ve been talking for several days trying to figure out, is there common ground, as a way to try to move forward,” Kerry said. “There’s a sense of urgency.”
Biden last weekend blamed Xi’s and Putin’s not “showing up” for lack of more progress at Group of 20 climate discussions on the eve of the summit. China is the world’s largest current emitter of climate-wrecking fossil fuel emitters, the United States the second, and Russia in the top five.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Hundreds of environmental activists have gathered in a Glasgow park to call on governments at the nearby U.N. climate talks to step up their action against global warming.
The activists, most of them young, carried banners at Friday’s rally with slogans such as “I have to clear up my mess, why don’t you clear up yours?” and “Stop climate crimes.”
The protest was part of a series of demonstrations being staged around the world Friday and Saturday to coincide with the Oct. 31-Nov. 12 U.N. climate change conference in Scotland.
Some at the Glasgow demonstration accused negotiators at the COP26 conference of “greenwashing” failures to curb greenhouse gas emissions and promoting policies that won’t do enough to prevent dangerous temperature rises in the coming decades.
“We are here as civil society to send them a message that ‘enough is enough’,” Valentina Ruiz, an 18-year-old student from Brazil, said.
Brianna Fruean, a 23-year-old activist from Samoa, said, “My biggest fear is losing my country.” Samao, a low-lying Pacific island nation, is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and cyclones,
Fruean was given the stage at the beginning of the conference, known as COP26, where she told leaders about the effects of climate change already being felt in her country.
“I will know if I’ve been heard by the end of COP,” she said.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Major shipping companies called Friday for governments to put more money into researching and developing cleaner technologies to help the industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The International Chamber of Shipping said the industry isn’t on track to meet its goal of cutting carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 with current policies.
The trade group represents shipping companies that include MSC and Hapag Lloyd. Industry representatives and government ministers are meeting at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow.
The group said it is asking governments to increase R&D spending, including by backing a proposal at the International Maritime Organization that would see ship owners set up a $5 billion fund to boost clean shipping technology.
Shipping currently accounts for about 3% of global emissions.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Anti-poverty charitable confederation Oxfam says the world’s richest people continue to produce the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions.
A study released Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow concluded that the richest 1% of the planet’s population is expected to account for 16% of total global emissions by 2030.
The study, commissioned by Oxfam, calculated that each member of the richest 1% will emit 30 times more than the 2.3 metric tons of carbon dioxide deemed compatible with the goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).
The poorest 50% on the planet, meanwhile, will continue to emit less than that amount per person by 2030.
Oxfam said the study indicates that a tiny elite of ultra-rich people “appear to have a free pass to pollute.”
“The emissions from a single billionaire space flight would exceed the lifetime emissions of someone in the poorest billion people on Earth,” said Nafkote Dabi, head of climate policy at Oxfam.
Emissions caused by the wealthiest 10% alone could put the 1.5 C-goal out of reach by the end of the decade, Dabi added.
Tim Gore of the non-profit Institute for European Environmental Policy, wrote the study. He suggested that measures are needed to limit carbon emissions from luxury consumption such as mega-yachts, private jets and space travel.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Environmental campaigners have awarded their ‘Fossil of the Day’ award to the Polish government for giving — and then apparently backtracking on — a pledge to speed up its phaseout of coal power.
Climate Action Network, an umbrella group representing hundreds of non-governmental organizations, blasted Poland on Thursday for committing at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow to end coal use, but then declaring itself a poor country and sticking to its previous deadline of 2049.
The little-coveted award went to the United States on Wednesday, for what climate activists say was a new measure that benefits mainly industrial agriculture companies rather than ordinary farmers.
The U.S. shared the prize with France for its efforts to get natural gas and nuclear power plants classified as sustainable forms of energy by the European Union, and with the International Emissions Trading Association for representing oil majors such as Chevron and Shell at the Oct. 31-Nov. 12 talks.
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