As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to open the COP26 Leaders Summit in Glasgow, he faces significant scepticism about the potential for a successful two weeks.
The G20 meeting in Italy failed to result in agreement on a net-zero emissions target for 2050, with grim pronouncements about progress having only “inched forward”, according to Johnson.
Read on for the FleishmanHillard COP26 Daily Digest for 1 November 2021 from our COP26 Unit.
G20 PLEDGE ON CLIMATE ‘LACKING AMBITION’
As world leaders left the G20 in Rome and headed to COP26 in Glasgow, climate advocates and scientific experts were left underwhelmed by the summit’s outcome.
While the meeting reinforced the commitment to the key Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, it fell short on other urgent measures.
The G20 countries’ pledge to reach a target of net-zero carbon emissions “by or around mid-century” failed to set a clear 2050 date, as campaigners and summit host Italy were hoping for.
Elsewhere in their closing statement, leaders agreed to stop public funding of new coal plants abroad but did not agree to stop constructing coal plants in their own countries or phasing out coal usage overall. Australia, China, India and Russia, in particular, resisted strong pressure from European and British diplomats to take more action on coal.
The leaders did reaffirm the thus-far unmet commitment to mobilise $100 billion for developing countries for climate adaptation costs.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres commented, “I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled — but at least they are not buried”.
Greenpeace condemned the summit statement as weak and “lacking ambition and vision”, declaring G20 leaders were failing to meet the moment before COP26.
WORLD LEADERS SUMMIT KICKS OFF COP26
The World Leaders Summit begins in Glasgow today (Monday), a two-day event that will include statements on the need to tackle climate change from 100-plus heads of state.
Government leaders will be invited to put forward their proposals on limiting carbon emissions and keeping the 1.5C global heating target within reach.
Against a backdrop of scepticism after the G20 summit, the tone of commentary during the Leaders Summit will provide an indication of just how far – or not – world leaders are prepared to go to tackle the issues.
Importantly, China’s President Xi Jinping will not attend COP26 and will not speak, instead providing written remarks. It comes as other leaders put pressure on China to accelerate its transition away from coal and, in the words of France’s President Emmanuel Macron, send the world a “decisive signal” about upgrading its climate commitments.
In addition, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned to Turkey after the G20 meeting, while Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro headed to an Italian town that plans to award him honorary citizenship instead of going to Glasgow.
UK TRANSPORT TROUBLE REINFORCES THE NEED FOR ACTION
Nobody would claim the road to COP26 has been easy, but some delegates making their way to the event in Glasgow by rail faced lengthy delays due to intense storms in the UK.
Thousands of travellers were delayed in London’s Euston Station as the south and east of England was battered by high winds and torrential rain, while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency put in place flood warnings for parts of the country.
On the same day, the World Meteorological Organisation released a report suggesting “extreme [weather] events are the new norm”, and the planet is heading into “uncharted territory”.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s Sunday Mail reported that more than 400 private jets carrying world leaders and business executives to COP26 would blast 13,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The flights, it says, will produce more global warming gas than 1,600 Scots burn through in a year – earning criticism of “rank climate hypocrisy” and the “nadir of carbon inequality”.
This COP26 Daily Digest is brought to you by the FleishmanHillard Cop26 Unit.
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