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Cop26 news: Boris Johnson says pact ‘sounds death knell for coal’ but admits disappointment at pledges

Reactions after climate deal agreed

Emily Atkinson,Sam Hancock
Sunday 14 November 2021 19:25 GMT
Related video: Alok Sharma holds back tears while apologising for events of Cop26

Boris Johnson has admitted his “disappointment” at the Cop26 climate pact after coal pledges were watered down.

Holding a press conference with Cop26 president Alok Sharma, he said the agreement “sounded the death knell for coal” and dismissed criticism that the shift from phasing “out” coal to phasing “down” the dirty fuel was a significant change in language.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is facing accusations from Labour that he “undermined” his own climate conference minister by failing to back him up with ambitious UK commitments.

It comes after the government faced criticism for not bringing down a firm enough hand on India and China’s demands to make a last-minute change to the text on coal in the deal agreed in Glasgow on Saturday.


XR conduct ‘funeral’ for ‘failed’ climate summit

Extinction Rebellion climate activists have conducted a funeral ceremony for the Cop26 in Glasgow they say has “failed all of us.”

The so-called red and blue rebels led a procession across Church Lane Bridge, known locally as The Bridge of Sighs, to Glasgow Necropolis - before lying down between rows of headstones.

Extinction Rebellion activists are seen holding a Funeral for COP26 at the Necropolis on November 13, 2021 in Glasgow.
Extinction Rebellion activists are seen holding a Funeral for COP26 at the Necropolis on November 13, 2021 in Glasgow. (Getty Images)

One activist, draped in a black cloak labelled ‘Cop26’, was lowered into the ground by their fellow members.

An XR spokesperson, identified as Karen, said: “We are here grieving for a planet that has been sacrificed by the failure and stupidity of Cop26.

“The bare minimum needed from Cop26 were commitments to leaving oil in the ground and an immediate halt to fossil fuel funding.

“Anything less than that is idiocy.

“As intelligent life on this planet we are already extinct. We know exactly what we need to do and we’re not doing it.”

Emily Atkinson13 November 2021 15:11

Sharma appeals for nations to seal deal in ‘moment of truth’ for world

Climate change summit president Alok Sharma has appealed to almost 200 nations gathered in Glasgow to agree a new deal to rein in global warming, telling them: “This is the moment of truth”.

After last-minute wrangling which delayed the scheduled end of the two-week United Nations Cop26 summit, Mr Sharma said that a “clean” text for a final agreement had been reached and said he aimed to get it formally signed off later in the day.

More to follow from Louise Boyle, Daisy Dunne and Andrew Woodcock.

Sharma appeals for nations to seal Cop 26 deal in ‘moment of truth’ for world

Text will allow ‘full and effective implementation’ of Paris agreement, says summit president

Emily Atkinson13 November 2021 15:33

‘We should meet each other halfway,’ says China

The world’s largest annual greenhouse gas emitter China has just had the floor during an eleventh-hour plenary at the Cop26 summit, Daisy Dunne reports.

China said the latest Cop26 draft was “improved over previous versions” and that it had no intention to “revisit” texts again.

However, the country took issue with two paragraphs in the draft agreement, including a critical section mentioning the need to move away from unabated coal power and “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies.

“We should meet each other halfway,” China’s representative said, adding that the country was “ready to work with partners to provide constructive proposals and ideas” to reach a “balanced” final outcome.

Emily Atkinson13 November 2021 15:43

‘Unsustainable lifestyles and wasteful consumption’ to blame for climate crisis, says India’s Cop representative

As the Cop26 summit came down to the wire and countries made their inventions, India’s representative said that “consensus remains elusive”, blaming “unsustainable lifestyles and wasteful consumption” as having caused the climate crisis, reports Louise Boyle.

“Climate-friendly lifestyles and climate justice enshrined in the Paris Agreement are key to solving climate crisis,” he noted.

He went on to say that developing countries must be allowed to deal with their own domestic issues of poverty and economic development.

“Developing countries have their right to fair share of carbon budget [and] responsible use of fossil fuels,” he said.

“There is still a lack of balance in the text,” he said. India also criticized the call for countries to revisit emissions-reduction targets, known as “nationally determined contributions, in 2022.

“There is a well-defined cycle for NDCs and no need to deviate from it,” he said.

Emily Atkinson13 November 2021 16:01

‘For heaven’s sake, don’t kill this moment’ – EU

Our climate correspondent Daisy Dunne reports the following from Glasgow:

Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, just took the floor at Cop26 to make an impassioned plea for countries to agree to reach a final deal today.

“For heaven’s sake, don’t kill this moment by asking for more texts or different texts,” he told delegates.

“I please implore you: embrace this text so [we] can bring hope to the hearts of our children and grandchildren. They will not forgive us if we fail them today.”

But he also conceded that “we are only at the beginning of what we need to do” on issues of providing finance for the loss and damage caused by the climate crisis, a major focus point for developing world countries.

Earlier in the week, a large coalition of developing countries and island states came forward with a plan for a “Glasgow financial facility for loss and damage”. If created, this would be the first ever pot of money set aside specifically to help communities around the world that have been devastated by climate impacts such as rising seas and deadly droughts.

But as negotiations wore on, the US and EU pushed back strongly against the idea, and the text that emerged on Saturday morning contained no reference to the facility at all.

Sam Hancock13 November 2021 16:19

Watch: Oxfam stages protest urging world leaders to ‘put out flames’

Oxfam stages climate protest urging world leaders to ‘put out flames’
Sam Hancock13 November 2021 16:35

Cop26 delivered ‘strong message of hope,’ says Tuvalu

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Seve Paeniu, the climate minster of the South Sea island state of Tuvalu, said that the Glasgow summit had delivered “a strong message of hope, a strong message of promise, a strong message of ambition”.

Holding up a photograph of his three grandchildren, Mr Paeniu said: “I will be able to tell them that Glasgow has made a promise to save their future. That will be the best ever Christmas gift I will present to them .”

Seve Paeniu
Seve Paeniu (Screengrab/YouTube)
Sam Hancock13 November 2021 16:45

Marshall Islands appeal to emotional side of world leaders

Our senior climate correspondent Louise Boyle has the following:

The representative of the Marshall Islands made an emotional statement to fellow negotiators at Cop26.

The Marshall Islands sit barely six feet above sea level in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and its people are among the most vulnerable in the world to severe climate impacts.

The country’s representative noted that the Glasgow summit had represented “real progress” but there was much work to do, particularly on loss and damage - the issue of financial compensation for countries already facing a heavy burden.

“At the end of the Cop in Madrid I had to go back home and say to my children that I’m afraid that we did not deliver. I cannot afford to do that again,” she said.

You can read more on some of the complex challenges facing the Marshall Islands here:

The stolen climate crisis babies: US politician jailed for selling children

The Marshall Islands sit barely six feet above sea level in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and its people are among the most vulnerable in the world to the complex consequences of climate change, writes Louise Boyle 

Sam Hancock13 November 2021 16:55

Cop progress ‘not in line with urgency and scale required’ - Maldives

Andrew Woodcock, our political editor, has more detail on the climate talks:

More from world leaders’ closing remarks now, the representative of the Maldives warned that the Glasgow agreement would not be enough to save the Indian Ocean island state.

The progress achieved in the past fortnight was “not in line with the urgency and scale required,” she said.

“What is balanced and pragmatic to other parties will not help the Maldives adapt in time. It will be too late for the Maldives.

“For us, this is a matter of survival.”

Urging swifter action, she added: “The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is a death sentence for us.”

Sam Hancock13 November 2021 17:02

Thunberg warns of inevitable ‘greenwashing’ around Cop26 final text

Greta Thunberg has shared her closing thoughts on climate talks in Glasgow, warning her followers to stick firm in reality.

Sam Hancock13 November 2021 17:12

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