COP26: Countries must make bold compromises at summit – PM

COP26: Countries must make bold compromises at summit – PM

Image source, Reuters

Ministers and negotiators at COP26 should “pull together and drive for the line” to secure ambitious action on climate change, Boris Johnson has said.

The prime minister said countries must be ready to “make the bold compromises and ambitious commitments needed” at the final week of the climate summit.

Talks will continue in Glasgow, including on what is needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C.

Thousands of protesters gathered on Saturday in cities around the world.

About 100 climate change demonstrations were held in parts of the UK – including Glasgow, London and Cardiff – while events also took place in Kenya, Turkey, France, Brazil, Australia and Canada.

Glasgow’s rally was the largest the city had ever seen, police said, with about 100,000 people taking part.

Last week, world leaders attended the first half of COP26 and a series of announcements were made, including:

The parts of the Paris Agreement – the world’s first comprehensive deal to tackle climate change – that still need finalising involve markets for trading carbon emissions, transparency over what countries are doing, and common timeframes for action.

Discussions will also continue on negotiations on finance for poor countries to adapt to a changing climate as well as on a “cover decision” pledge from the summit. This will set out how countries will close the gap between the action to cut emissions they have pledged and what is needed to avoid dangerous temperature rises of more than 1.5C.

The world is now about 1.2C warmer than it was in the 19th Century – and extreme weather events like heatwaves, floods and forest fires are already becoming more intense. But unless more is done, the planet is already on track to warm by more than 2C by the end of this century.

Several countries, as well as UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, want accelerated action on emissions cuts this decade to keep the 1.5C goal alive.

Mr Johnson said: “There is one week left for COP26 to deliver for the world, and we must all pull together and drive for the line.”

He said nations had brought “ambition and action to help limit rising temperatures”, and referred to the pledges that have been made during COP26 – including on deforestation and methane emissions.

“But we cannot underestimate the task at hand to keep 1.5C alive,” he added.

“Countries must come back to the table this week ready to make the bold compromises and ambitious commitments needed.”

Image source, PA Media

COP26 President Alok Sharma said the billions of dollars to restore the natural world that had been promised during the first week of the summit was humanity’s “first line of defence” against the crisis.

He told a news conference in Glasgow on Saturday that if the world reaches global warming of 1.5C above industrial levels, 70% of coral reefs will be lost. If it gets to 2C, they will all die, he said.

Mr Sharma said the UK will provide £500m to protect more than five million hectares of tropical rainforests and create thousands of green jobs across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The UK is also launching a £65m just rural transition support programme to help communities move towards more sustainable methods of agriculture and food production, he added.

Activists speaking at Saturday’s climate change march in Glasgow included Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate, the actor Idris Elba and representatives of indigenous people.

Ms Nakate told the crowd: “The climate and ecological crises are already here. But so are citizens from around the globe.

“Leaders rarely have the courage to lead. It takes citizens, people like you and me, to rise up and demand action. And when we do that in great enough numbers, our leaders will move.”

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