Cop26 Glasgow - news: Greenpeace chief warns of climate summit ‘greenwashing’ amid fears over foreign aid cuts

Cop26 Glasgow - news: Greenpeace chief warns of climate summit ‘greenwashing’ amid fears over foreign aid cuts
·14 min read

The head of Greenpeace has warned against efforts by countries and corporations at the upcoming Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow to “greenwash” their pollution of the planet.

“This Glasgow meeting really is a vital moment where governments need to be courageous,” said Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International.

“There’ll be a big greenwashing effort in Glasgow that needs to be called out and recognised. If you look at what they’re doing to try and hold back the world from moving forward, it’s stunning,” she said. “It’s immoral, it’s unacceptable.”

Elsewhere, a group of climate change advisers known collectively as Friends of Cop have warned the UK government against cutting foreign aid.

In a letter seen by the BBC, they say slashing overseas funding demonstrates the UK is “neither committed to nor serious about” supporting nations tackle climate change.

The world is currently far off track to meet globally-agreed targets to limit temperature rises and curb dangerous warming, and the Cop26 summit is the effective deadline for countries to bring forward more ambitious national climate plans.

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Key Points

  • Leak reveals lobbying UN to water down climate response

  • Greenpeace chief warns of 'greenwashing' at UN climate talks

  • Archbishop of Canterbury urges world leaders to ‘be bolder’ at Cop26

  • Invest in cycling to tackle climate, pollution and health crises, say campaigners

Cycling a ‘planet-saving alternative yet receives a fraction of the investment of major roads projects'

10:05 , Tom Batchelor

Campaigners are urging governments to properly invest in cycling as a simple, cheap and effective means of tackling the climate, pollution and health crises the world is facing.

Encouraging people to travel by bicycle will be crucial to making cities greener, more pleasant places to live, they say.

But currently cycle infrastructure attracts a “fraction” of the money spent on other, polluting forms of transport.

Cycling UK is among the groups hoping Cop26 will lead to an uptick in spending on infrastructure for bicycles.

Cop26 host Queen Elizabeth in good spirits after hospital stay

09:43 , Tom Batchelor

Queen Elizabeth has spent a night in hospital for the first time in years for what Buckingham Palace termed “preliminary investigations”, but was said to be in good spirits and back at work at Windsor Castle on Thursday.

The world’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch cancelled an official trip to Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

But there was no suggestion future engagements would also be shelved.

Her next major engagement is at the end of the month when she is due to welcome world leaders at the opening of Cop26.

Don’t cut foreign aid, climate experts warn UK

09:23 , Tom Batchelor

A group of respected climate change experts have written to Boris Johnson urging him not to cut overseas aid spending ahead of the Cop26 summit.

They argue that doing so would send the wrong signal at a time when poorer countries need the UK’s help to build defences against the worst effects of the warming planet.

The letter, seen by the BBC, states: “As ‘Friends of COP’ we are writing to you to express our deep concern at the prospect of further UK aid cuts in the final few days before COP26.

“The ability of the UK to act as a genuine, trusted partner for developing countries is of crucial importance to COP26’s success.

“Further implied cuts to overseas aid at the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) would send a signal that the UK is neither committed to, nor serious about, enabling a green global recovery from the pandemic, nor improving the resilience of the most vulnerable to climate change.”

Archbishop of Canterbury urges world leaders to ‘be bolder’ at Cop26

09:03 , Tom Batchelor

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged world leaders meeting for crucial Cop26 talks in Glasgow to “be bolder” as they seek to tackle the climate crisis.

Ahead of the UN climate summit being hosted by the UK, Justin Welby warned that a failure to curb dangerous climate change risked driving severe conflict around the world.

Dr Welby, who worked in the oil industry before being ordained, said the fossil fuel era was, and must be, coming to an end.

But he warned the transition away from coal, oil and gas had to be fair to poorer people in the UK and to those in developing countries.

Asked what his message to world leaders meeting for the summit would be, Dr Welby told the PA news agency: “Be bolder, be more generous, be just to the poorest.

“Make it work, it’s in all our interests and the world is behind you making it work.

“Don’t lose your nerve.”

Greenpeace chief warns of 'greenwashing' at UN climate talks

Thursday 21 October 2021 16:12 , Tom Batchelor

The head of environmental group Greenpeace on Thursday warned against efforts by countries and corporations at the forthcoming UN climate talks in Glasgow to “greenwash” their ongoing pollution of the planet.

The summit has been described as “the world’s last best chance” to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels, and is expected to see a flurry of new commitments from governments and businesses to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

But climate campaigners say behind-the-scenes lobbying before the summit could hamper efforts to achieve an ambitious deal that would ensure the world stands a chance of capping global warming at 1.5C as agreed in Paris in 2015.

“This Glasgow meeting really is a vital moment where governments need to be courageous,” said Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International.

“They need to show they’ve understood the science, listen to their people and go much further than they’ve been stating thus far, and give that kind of hope and confidence to their people that they got this and that they’re willing to do things that their corporate interests don’t want them to do,” she told The Associated Press in an interview.

Cop26 summit poised to be ‘transformational’

Thursday 21 October 2021 15:45 , Tom Batchelor

US environmentalist Tom Steyer has likened the upcoming United Nations Cop26 summit as the moment “when every country’s term paper is due” on more ambitious commitments to cut planet-heating emissions driving the climate crisis.

Speaking at an event hosted by The Independent on Tuesday, the former Democratic presidential candidate and co-executive chair of financial fund, Galvanize Climate Solutions, recalled his experiences as a veteran attendee of Cops, the UN’s annual conference of parties to tackle global climate change.

Read the full story:

Tom Steyer says Cop26 is ‘when every country’s term paper is due’

Has Joe Biden lost his climate credibility?

Thursday 21 October 2021 15:10 , Tom Batchelor

In less than two weeks, Air Force One will take off for Scotland, ferrying Joe Biden and his entourage to the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

It is a major test for the US president, who won last November’s election partly on the back of his bold vision to chart a greener future for America amid ever worsening climate extremes.

In stark contrast to the inaction and outright denial of Donald Trump, the message has been that America is “back” on climate.

But how progressive has Mr Biden been when it comes to the climate? Our senior climate correspondent, Louise Boyle, reports:

Has Joe Biden lost his climate credibility?

Green MP warns of ‘dearth of actual actions’ to meet climate targets

Thursday 21 October 2021 14:40 , Tom Batchelor

Green MP Caroline Lucas has accused the government of doing very little to meet its climate targets as she opened a debate on Cop26 and limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C.

She told MPs: “I have no problem in praising the Government’s targets, what I have problems with is looking at the fact that there is a dearth of actual actions to meet those targets. That’s what we see, again, and again.

“The Committee on climate change has itself said that there are no real plans to deliver the targets that are set and, frankly, the climate cares very little for targets, what it wants to see are the concrete policies there to meet them.”

The MP for Brighton Pavilion said the difference between her side of the House and the Conservatives is that they are imagining the country can continue with business as usual, but with “some technology just changing the technologies that we’re using to deliver business as usual”.

She added: “What we recognise is that we don’t just need behavioural change, we need systems change we need to change the kind of economic system that we have, which is a far bigger change that we’ve been talking about so far.”

Why are activists calling for Cop26 to be cancelled?

Thursday 21 October 2021 14:10 , Tom Batchelor

In September, a number of environmental groups called for the conference’s cancellation on the grounds that it will not be inclusive, arguing that coronavirus vaccine inequality around the world and expensive quarantine hotels in Glasgow will prevent “huge numbers” of delegates from the Southern Hemisphere from being able to attend.

“Our concern is that those countries most deeply affected by the climate crisis and those countries suffering from the lack of support by rich nations in providing vaccines will be left out of the talks and conspicuous in their absence at Cop26,” said Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network (CAN), a collective representing more than 1,500 civil society groups from 130 countries.

“There has always been an inherent power imbalance within the UN climate talks and this is now compounded by the health crisis.”

Greenpeace has also raised similar objections.

Why are activists calling for Cop26 to be cancelled?

Minister fails to rule out trade deals with countries that destroy rainforests

Thursday 21 October 2021 13:31 , Tom Batchelor

Britain has failed to rule out making trade deals with countries that destroy their rainforests, amid concerns it is prioritising economic growth over climate protection.

Labour pressed International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan to make the commitment in the Commons after highlighting the actions of Brazil and Malaysia.

Ms Trevelyan argued that economic growth and tackling climate challenges go “hand in hand”, although she stopped short of responding directly to Labour’s request.

Full schedule for the climate conference

Thursday 21 October 2021 13:10 , Tom Batchelor

Cop26 begins with a two-day world leaders summit followed by daily meetings on subjects from finance to nature.

Here’s the official schedule for Cop26 and which topics will be up for discussion on which days:

Full schedule for this year’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow

Russia confirms Putin won’t attend summit

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:55 , Tom Batchelor

On Wednesday, Russia confirmed that President Vladimir Putin would not fly to Scotland for climate talks.

Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he would take part remotely instead.

“We need to work out in what format it will be possible (for Putin) to speak via video conference, at what moment,” Mr Peskov said. “The issues that will be discussed in Glasgow right now form one of the priorities of our foreign policy.”

Russia is warming 2.8 times faster than the global average, with the melting of Siberia’s permafrost, which covers 65 per cent of Russian landmass, releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases.

Sharma confident countries will pledge climate action before Cop26

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:40 , Tom Batchelor

Alok Sharma, the Cop26 president, has said he thinks more countries will bring forward national action plans for tackling climate change ahead of the UN talks.

Quizzed by MPs on Parliament’s Transport and Science and Technology committees on Wednesday, Mr Sharma said all of the G7 group of leading industrialised nations now had ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030.

And there had been moves by G7 countries, along with South Korea and China to end international coal financing.

“Progress has been made, but clearly there’s still more to do. We are still waiting for some of the largest emitters to come forward with their 2030 emission reduction plans,” he said.

Asked how confident he was that the ball would be returned and Cop26 would be able to land a deal that limits warming to 1.5C, he said: “I think we will see more NDCs [nationally determined contributions] coming forward.”

He also defended the gathering of around 25,000 people, many of whom will be flying in from other countries, saying it was important to have a “physical Cop” for negotiations to take place.

“Particularly for developing countries and climate vulnerable countries being able to sit at the same table face-to-face with the big emitters is really very important,” he said.

When is the UN climate conference taking place?

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:25 , Tom Batchelor

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (Cop26) will finally commence in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of October, a year after it was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hosted by the UK under the presidency of former business secretary Alok Sharma and in partnership with Italy, the summit at the city’s SEC Centre will bring together the biggest gathering of world leaders ever assembled on British soil over the course of its 12-day run from Sunday 31 October to Friday 12 November.

When is Cop26 conference in Glasgow taking place?

G20 split over coal and 1.5C target - sources

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:10 , Tom Batchelor

G20 countries are divided over phasing out coal and committing to limit global warming to 1.5C ahead of a crucial summit in Rome next week, sources have told the Reuters news agency.

The G20 gathering on 30 and 31 October is seen as a key stepping stone ahead of Cop 26.

But big polluters such as China and India have dug in their heels and little progress has been made since G20 energy and environment ministers met in Naples in July, three sources told Reuters. They asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks.

“Countries are not moving, at the moment they are still just making sure their positions are heard loud and clear,” said one of the sources.

“Where I see the problem is in the commitment to 1.5 degrees and in the phase out of coal and fossil fuels by China, India and Russia,” said another source, a G20 minister.

Leaked document reveals countries lobbying UN to water down climate crisis response

Thursday 21 October 2021 11:55 , Tom Batchelor

Some of the world’s most-polluting countries are attempting to water down a landmark UN climate report, according to a massive leak of documents.

More than 30,000 files, obtained by Greenpeace, reveal Australia, China, Saudi Arabia and India are among the nations to have made submissions to a panel of scientists urging them to remove key phrases or downplay the need to switch away from fossil fuels.

In one instance, major beef producers Brazil and Argentina are said to have disputed assertions that the world needs to reduce its meat consumption in order to tackle climate change.

India and several eastern European countries said the draft report should be more positive about nuclear power, while Australian officials challenged the idea that coal fired power stations would need to close.

Leaked documents reveal countries lobbying UN to water down climate crisis response

India’s Modi to attend Cop26 summit

Thursday 21 October 2021 11:43 , Tom Batchelor

Narendra Modi will attend the UN climate summit in Glasgow, India’s environment minister has said, in a boost for efforts to agree steeper emissions cuts in the fight on global warming.

India is the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and Mr Modi’s participation in the event was seen as critical.

“The prime minister is going to Glasgow,” Indian Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said in an interview, adding that his country was “doing more than our fair share”.

Energy-hungry India has not yet committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, considered a vital goal in limiting global warming to 1.5C.

But India has installed more than 100 GW of renewable energy, which accounts for more than 25 per cent of overall capacity.

Thursday 21 October 2021 11:38 , Tom Batchelor

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the build-up to the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

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