The Latest: China, US agree to redouble climate efforts
A pro-cycling demonstrator holds a protest placard outside the SEC (Scottish Event Campus) venue for the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, Wednesday, Nov.
10, 2021. The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow has entered its second week as leaders from around the world, are gathering in Scotland’s biggest city, to lay out their vision for addressing the common challenge of global warming. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) Alastair Grant APGLASGOW, Scotland
The Latest on the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow: GLASGOW, Scotland — China and the United States have agreed to redouble efforts to fight climate change with “concrete actions,” in a joint statement announced Wednesday in climate talks in Glasgow.
The two biggest carbon polluting countries said their deal calls for “enhanced climate action in the 2020s” using the 2015 Paris climate deal’s guidelines, including a new stronger emission cuts target in 2025. China promised to follow the U.S. lead and crack down on methane. The agreement calls for “concrete and pragmatic” regulations in decarbonization, reducing methane emissions and fighting deforestation.
“Both sides recognize that there is a gap between the current effort and the Paris agreement,” China chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua said in announcing the agreement. “So we will jointly strengthen climate action and cooperation with respect to our respective national situations.” “We both see that the challenge of climate change is an existential and severe one,” Xie said. “We will take our due responsibilities and work together.” Xie said using global carbon markets “will be highly helpful” in emission cutting, but that involves a negotiating issue that hasn’t been solved for six years and still hasn’t been settled in talks in Glasgow.
___ GLASGOW, Scotland — Papua New Guinea’s environment minister has said that given the lack of financial aid, his country may “rethink” efforts to cut logging, coal mining and even coming to these meetings. “If they keep stalling (…) there’s no point in returning to any future COP meetings,” said Minister Wera Mori.
Mori said rich and developed nations like the United States, the UK, China, Japan, and the EU must pay up and that without a meaningful agreement in Glasgow, Papua New Guinea may roll back measures they have taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions. “We will have to decide as a country to rethink what position we have taken (…) in terms of logging, in terms of extracting coal and other measures,” Mori warned. The minister said his country has cut back on logging, plans to ban round log exports by 2025, and hasn’t issued new coal mining permits.
But if financing is not forthcoming then “we cannot be swimming around in the wilderness.” “Logging is a £1 billion industry. We’ve got thousands of square kilometers of coal seam which we want to mine, extract and produce cheap power, cheap energy for our industries,” he said. “Why should Papua New Guinea make the sacrifice?”
___ GLASGOW, Scotland — Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged fellow leaders to call their negotiating teams at the U.N. climate talks with instructions that would allow them to clinch an ambitious deal to curb global warming. Johnson told reporters in Glasgow that “the line is in sight but if we’re going to get there we need a determined push to get us over the line.”
He accused countries that signed the Paris accord of spending “six years conspicuously patting themselves on the back.” Johnson warned that governments appeared to be “quietly edging toward default, now that vulnerable nations and future generations are demanding payment here now in Glasgow.” The U.K. prime minister, who has boasted of his own sizeable phone book, said it was time for “world leaders who are now back in their capitals to pick up the phone to their teams here and give them the negotiating margin, give them the space they can in which to maneuver and get this done.”
___ GLASGOW, Scotland — One must blame humanity, not God, for climate change’s “sinful” harms, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says.
Negotiators at the Glasgow climate talks have an obligation to people, not just the planet, to stop “those sinful choices of humankind,” that cause climate change, said the U.S. cabinet secretary. Buttigieg made his religious beliefs part of his aborted presidential run. Buttigieg was chatting Wednesday with The Nature Conservancy climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian who is married to a pastor, about the religious calling to protect humanity as well as the planet.
Buttigieg, a former Indiana mayor, talked about an unnamed religious Indiana Republican official blaming God for climate change and saying it was not for people to deal with. “What greater sin could there be (than) to blame God” for climate change? Buttigieg asked.
___ GLASGOW, Scotland — The British official chair of the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow says time to resolve key differences is running out. Alok Sharma told negotiators Wednesday that he still intends to conclude the two-week talks Friday.
“My big, big ask of all of you is to please come armed with the currency of compromise,” he said. “What we agree in Glasgow will set the future for our children and grandchildren.” “I request us all collectively to please roll up our sleeves and get to work,” he added. The European Union’s climate chief, Frans Timmermans, echoed the sense of urgency. “Consider my sleeves rolled,” he told Sharma.
In a swipe at major polluters like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, whose commitments are seen as being far below what’s needed, Timmermans insisted that “major emitters have a major responsibility.” Ahmadou Sebory Toure of Guinea, speaking on behalf of 77 developing countries and China, said they were “extremely concerned with the lack of progress” on the issue of financial aid for poor nations to cope with climate change. ___
GLASGOW, Scotland — Brazil’s environment minister has demanded that richer countries provide the US£100 billion annual funding agreed upon to help developing countries switch to clean energy and handle the impact of climate change. “The £100 billion target has not been met,” Joaquim Leite said in a speech in Glasgow Wednesday. “And this amount is no longer enough for the world to build a new green economy with a responsible transition.” The minister added that “More ambitious volumes with easy access and agile execution are needed for inclusive transformation to take place in every territory around the world.”
___ GLASGOW, Scotland – The Biden administration and Democrats are making progress on climate in all kinds of ways, House Democrats said Wednesday, despite congressional troubles that are making passage of President Joe Biden’s £555 billion climate legislation a struggle. Members of a U.S. congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to reporters during a press conference at the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.
With only the slimmest of majorities in the Senate, and a key coal-state Democratic senator opposed to many of Biden’s clean-fuel efforts, Democrats have struggled for months to pass Biden’s main climate legislation. At the climate summit, the U.S. has joined some other countries pledging to phase out overseas financing of fossil fuel infrastructure but declined to sign up alongside countries that pledged to wean themselves off coal. “We wish we could do all kinds of things,” Rep.
Jared Huffman of California told reporters at the talks. “But instead of just throwing up our hands because of these political roadblocks and not taking action, we are finding ways to navigate these problems and still take action.” Representatives cited U.S. investment in cleaner energy and transportation, a Biden administration crackdown on methane leaks, and the growing competitiveness of clean energy in the marketplace. “The coal industry is dying in the United States, not necessarily because of regulations that Donald Trump unwound, but because of economics,” Rep.
Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said. ___ GLASGOW, Scotland – Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has denied allegations that his country’s negotiators were working to slow down negotiations and water down commitments at the U.N. climate talks.
It is a “a false allegation, a cheat and a lie,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al Saud told reporters on Wednesday at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Delegations of about 200 countries face a Friday deadline to negotiate consensus on next steps to cut fossil fuel emissions and otherwise combat climate change. Saudi Arabia’s team in Glasgow has introduced proposals ranging from a call to quit negotiations at 6 p.m. every day to what climate negotiation veterans allege are more complex efforts to block agreement on tough measures.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, and a handful of other countries long have been accused of seeking to block measures that would crack down on fossil fuels. This year’s U.N. talks have seen a chorus of daily complaints from climate advocates at the conference. “Other governments now need to isolate the Saudi delegation if they want this” conference “to succeed for everyone, not just fossil fuel interests,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of the Greenpeace environmental group.
___ GLASGOW, Scotland — A group of nations and companies has announced plans to make the switch to emissions-free cars by 2040 and by no later than 2035 in leading auto markets. The announcement was made Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow.
It was backed by countries including Canada, Chile, Denmark, India, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Volvo, as well as several states and cities in the United States and elsewhere, signed the plan. Some companies, such as Volvo, already have even earlier targets to phase out combustion engines.
Separately, a number of countries are pledging to phase out the use of trucks and buses with internal combustion engines. Companies involved in road haulage are signing up, including delivery giant DHL, truck-maker Scania and Dutch brewer Heineken. ___
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is heading back to COP26 to press negotiators from around the world to “turn promises into action” in the summit’s closing days. Johnson attended a world leaders’ summit that kicked off the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last week, and will return to the Scottish city Wednesday. So far the conference has produced headline-grabbing announcements in areas including ending coal power, funding green technology and reversing deforestation.
But the almost 200 nations attending remain far from sealing a deal that could limit global warming to the internationally agreed goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Johnson’s office says issues still being hammered out include “a common time frame for national commitments on emissions reductions and agreed methodology for countries to report on their climate action” — mechanisms that can be used to hold countries to their commitments. There is also an unkept promise from rich nations to give more money to the countries most vulnerable to climate change — often developing nations that have done least to cause it.
Johnson, along with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, will meet with government officials, negotiators and civil-society groups in an attempt to inject momentum into the talks. Johnson said climate change “is bigger than any one country and it is time for nations to put aside differences and come together for our planet and our people.
We need to pull out all the stops if we’re going to keep 1.5C within our grasp.”
COP26 is due to end Friday, though the talks could stretch on longer.
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