The Latest: GOP, Democratic lawmakers visit climate talks
The latest on the U.N. climate summit COP26 in Glasgow:
GLASGOW — Glasgow became the site of a rare event Saturday -- a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation attending a climate summit.
Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, led the Republican and Democratic group to climate talks. Participating lawmakers said it marked an interest by Republican lawmakers on climate issues, and what they said was a bipartisan commitment on climate.
Republican Rep. John Curtis of Utah drew laughter from the audience at an Atlantic Council panel Saturday by playing up the novelty of GOP lawmakers coming to spend time with thousands of ardent climate advocates.
“My name is John Curtis, and I’m a Republican. And I’m here” at a climate summit, said Curtis, the chairman of a conservative conservation coalition in the U.S. Congress.
Coons is a co-chairperson of a bipartisan Senate climate group. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, was among more than a half-dozen Republican lawmakers expected at the summit.
Since the 2018 mid-term election in which Democrats won seats on climate issues, Republican lawmakers have largely stopped publicly challenging the science establishing that the burning of coal and petroleum is the primary cause of global warming.
Lawmakers in the delegation said growing numbers of Republicans in Congress want to work to slow climate change, although the Republican and Democrats often have different ideas on the tactics, including on the role of government regulations.
PARIS — Hundreds of activists gathered at Paris City Hall on Saturday to protest the inaction about climate change by the 10 top climate-polluting nations in the world.
They deployed large portraits of French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, US President Joe Biden, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga along a banner reading “climate inaction = crime against life.”
The protest in the French capital was one of many across the world marking the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice as the COP26 climate talks are taking place in Glasgow.
The crucial U.N. climate summit opened last Sunday, kicking off two weeks of intense diplomatic negotiations by almost 200 countries aimed at slowing intensifying global warming and adapting to the climate damage already underway.
LONDON — Banging steel drums, thousands marched at the Bank of England in central London to press for action at the U.N. climate conference.
Demonstrators waved Extinction Rebellion banners on Saturday and carried placards reading “!Help!” above a picture of the Earth as they marched two miles (3.2 kilometers) to Trafalagar Square.
Protester Sue Hampton, 64, says everyone is at risk and all generations need to come together to press for action.
“Even if I knew for sure that I was going to reach the natural end of my life without seeing any horrors, I would still be here because I have grandchildren and other people have grandchildren,” she said. “So we can’t let the young people do all the work here. We’ve all got to do it together.”
Climate activists also gathered in Dublin, Ireland, with a noisy group assembling at the Garden of Remembrance, which commemorates those who died in Ireland’s independence struggle.
GLASGOW — Elaine Knox, 69 and William Oliphant, 60, of Glasgow don’t fit the normal demographics of the youth-oriented climate protests but they were still at Saturday’s massive climate rally in the Scottish city to demand faster action from governments on climate issues.
“I’m dying before the worst happens,” Knox said. “It’s the youngsters we’re leaving a horrible, horrible world.”
“We’re in a nightmare,” she added.
Oliphant said if people like them don’t fight against the moneyed interests that are causing the Earth to warm up “they’ll just set back and it’ll be business as usual.”
“It’s going to take more than just shouting and protests, it’s going to take fighting,” Oliphant said. “If we don’t fight it’s going to be too late.”
Jamila Khatoon from Pakistan carried a sign about three glaciers in her region that may disappear because of climate change.
“The glaciers are melting,” Khatoon said. “Villages are drowning. Nobody is doing anything.”
AMSTERDAM — Tens of thousands of people have marched through Amsterdam in a demonstration calling for more action to tackle climate change.
The march Saturday in the Dutch capital was one of many around the world that coincide with a United Nations meeting on climate change in the Scottish city of Glasgow.
Banner waving demonstrators gathered on the central Dam Square before marching to a park in the west of the city. Among the banners was one saying: “People and climate above profit for polluters,” and another read: “#Weareable to solve the Climate Crisis.”
Organizers estimated that 40,000 people took part. Police did not immediately estimate the crowd’s size.
ISTANBUL – A small group of climate protesters held a demonstration in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district Saturday, calling for action to save the planet for future generations.
Some 80 people gathered outside the Sureyya Opera House on the district’s main shopping street chanting, banging drums and holding placards with messages such as “Unite for the climate” and “Environmentalism without class struggle is gardening.”
“I want my children to live on a beautiful planet in the future,” retiree Kadriye Basut, 52, said.
She added: “I think we have to leave a beautiful planet. I think we owe that to our children and the planet. We see that world leaders are not doing anything about it, all they are saying is ‘blah, blah, blah.’”
University lecturer Baris Gencer Baykal, 43, called for an earlier end to the use of coal than the targets set by world leaders at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow.
“It cannot be postponed any longer,” he said. “Because we feel climate change more and more every day. Developing and developed countries alike suffer from this. We want climate justice.”
Turkey has suffered drought for a number of years and this summer saw the country hit by forest fires, floods and mucilage in the Sea of Marmara linked to warming waters and pollution.
WARSAW, Poland — Trade union members from Poland’s energy sector have protested before the European Union’s office in Warsaw, saying the EU’s moves to discourage coal use are responsible for soaring energy prices.
Some 200 power plant and coal mine workers from across Poland blew horns and waved union flags as they chanted. The protest’s motto was “YES for Poland’s Energy Sovereignty. NO to High Energy and Heat Prices.”
Trade union leaders say the EU energy policies will harm Poland’s economy. The coal industry is a major employer in Poland, which gets more than half of its electricity from black and brown coal.
A government energy policy plan calls for increasing reliance on nuclear energy once the infrastructure is built.
Like other EU member nations, Poland has pledged to phase out coal use and to develop wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. At the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow this week, the government said it would not be able to close all coal-fired plants until 2049, a target that disappointed activists.
GLASGOW, Scotland — British actor Idris Elba has brought his star power to the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow to highlight the importance of helping small farmers cope with global warming.
Elba and his wife, model Sabrina Dhowre Elba, took the stage Saturday in support of the U.N.’s International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Elba said he wanted to highlight the dangers of global food chains being disrupted as small-scale farmers in particular are hit by the effects of climate change. He said that 80% of the food consumed worldwide is produced by small-scale farmers.
“This conversation around food is something that needs to be really amplified, and one thing I’ve got is a big mouth,” Elba said.
Speaking on the same panel, Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, 24, said global warming is already causing hunger for millions around the world, including in her own country.
She said a shift from meat to plant-based diets could help save millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year while freeing up more land that’s currently used for animal feed.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Police helicopters buzzed over Glasgow early Saturday as authorities prepared for a second day of protests by climate activists demanding faster action to curb global warming.
Despite a little drizzle and strong winds, tens of thousands of people were expected to join a rally through the Scottish city where this year’s U.N. climate talks are being held.
Inside the conference venue, negotiators knuckled down for a seventh day of talks to finish draft agreements that can be passed to ministers for political approval next week.
Among the issues being haggled over at the talks by almost 200 countries are a fresh commitment to the goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, getting countries to review their efforts more frequently, and financial support for poor nations.
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