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Friday, December 3, 2021

COP26: Fear of failure on final day, and just how green was summit?


Here are five things you need to know about the COP26 climate change conference on Friday.

1. Fear of failure as climate talks enter final day

As the UN’s COP26 climate summit enters its final day, fears are growing it will not meet its goals. A final agreement was presented in Glasgow, but representatives must now work out the details until all 197 countries agree. And, according to UN Secretary General António Guterres, governments are unlikely to make the necessary pledges to reduce CO2 emissions by enough to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, he told the Associated Press news agency that hope would last “until the very last moment.”

The summit is set to end at 18:00GMT, but negotiations may continue overnight.

2. How green was the COP26 climate summit?

While delegates work towards reducing carbon emissions, an initial assessment for the UK government suggests emissions from the summit itself are likely to reach the equivalent of 102,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is comparable to the annual emissions of approximately 10,000 UK households and more than double the emissions from the previous climate summit. According to the government, more than 39,000 people attended the event in Glasgow, compared to 27,000 in Madrid in 2019.

3. What happened on Thursday?

Wales joined a new global alliance of countries pledging to stop licensing oil and gas production, along with Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, the Republic of Ireland, Quebec, California and New Zealand – but not the rest of the UK. Meanwhile, representatives from Ghana, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Tuvalu held a press conference, alleging that the United States was impeding progress at COP26. They claim that the United States dismisses the financial concerns of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.

The UK government says it’s committed to making the COP26 event “carbon neutral”

4. How will COP26 change our day-to-day lives?

While climate scientists and politicians debate how to reduce carbon emissions in order to limit climate change, you could be forgiven for wondering about the impact of policies on everyday life. “How is the average family going to find the extra £20,000 needed to buy an electric vehicle?” wonders Londoner Nicola Hippisley. Our correspondent Chris Morris answers this – electric cars may soon be similarly priced to petrol or diesel models – and more of your questions.

Powers over licensing for oil and gas extraction were devolved to the Welsh Government in 2018

5. Obama praises 11-year-old’s climate change song

When Nandi Bushell, from Ipswich, wrote a song about climate change after learning about it in school, she had no idea it would end up being shared by Barack Obama. The 11-year-old had already performed with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters after publicly challenging him to a “drum off.” But she said it was “incredible” to have the former US president praise the song she wrote with Roman Morello, son of Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.

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