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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.


Pope to politicians: Be courageous, show vision on climate

Pope Francis on Sunday urged political and economic leaders to show courage and long-range vision, hours after U.N. led-climate talks in Glasgow Scotland ended in compromise on how to combat global warming.

Francis in remarks to the public in St. Peter’s Square said the “cry of the poor, united to the cry of the Earth, resounded in the last days at the United Nations COP26 summit on climate change.”

“I encourage all those who have political and economic responsibilities to act immediately with courage and farsightedness,’’ he said. “At the same time, I invite all persons of good will to carry out active citizenry to care for the common house,’’ Francis said, referring to planet Earth.

Francis has made attention to the Earth’s environment a major plank of his papacy, dedicating an encyclical, or major document, to the moral imperative of responsibly protecting the planet.


Pope to politicians: Be courageous, show vision on climate

Pope Francis is urging political and economic leaders to show courage and long-range vision, hours after U.N. led-climate talks yielded a compromise on how to combat global warming

Emily Atkinson14 November 2021 14:19

Boris Johnson’s spin did not live up to reality at Cop26 – this was no triumph for ‘global Britain’

The truth is that Glasgow was never likely to be the unvarnished triumph for “global Britain” Johnson naively hoped for two years ago when the UK landed the rotating Cop presidency, writes Andrew Grice.

While 1.5C is just about alive, it was too soon for Johnson to suggest, as he did, that Glasgow would in time be seen as “the beginning of the end of climate change.” We won’t know for some years.

Cop26 wasn’t the triumph for ‘global Britain’ the PM naively hoped for | Andrew Grice

Johnson’s claim of success across all his four goals of ‘coal, cars, cash and trees’ is overstated

Emily Atkinson14 November 2021 14:38

Cop26 agreement: Is the world any closer to meeting the 1.5C global temperature rise target?

In case you missed it...

Is the world any closer to meeting the 1.5C global temperature rise target?

The Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow has entered its final days after almost two weeks of frantic negotiations that have seen delegates representing 197 countries racing to agree terms on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep the forecast global temperature rise down to 1.5C from pre-industrial levels by the century’s end.

Emily Atkinson14 November 2021 15:30

Why tea farmers in Taiwan are at the mercy of climate change

Taiwan’s tea output does not come close to matching China or India’s, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality, especially the high mountain premium oolong variety that Meishan specialises in.

Tea has been grown in the mountains around Meishan since the island was part of China’s Qing dynasty in the 19th century. The industry matured and expanded under Japanese imperial rule from 1895-1945.

Ben Blachard has the full story:

Why tea farmers in Taiwan are at the mercy of climate change

Ben Blanchard meets the tea farmers forced to reckon extreme weather that is destroying the industry

Emily Atkinson14 November 2021 15:39

Watered-down coal commitments at Cop26 are ‘gut wrenching’, says Ireland’s environment minister

Ireland’s Green Party leader has said the decision at Cop26 to make concessions on the phasing out of coal is “gut wrenching”- but urged critics to look at the “bigger picture”.

The intense negotiations among 197 nations – with the aim of preventing catastrophic global warming – went down to the wire with a lengthy, 24-hour delay and then last-minute interventions to water down language on coal by India and China.

World leaders are facing criticism over a dramatic last-minute intervention which saw India and China change the wording of the final deal so coal power generation would be “phased down” rather than “phased out”.

The Environment Minister, Eamon Ryan, said the move was “disappointing” but necessary to secure the agreement.

“We shouldn’t let that gut-wrenching amendment at the very last minute to distract from that bigger picture,” he said.

“It wasn’t in the actual legal structures. That political wording can be changed.

“But what was significant in Glasgow, coming out of it, was effectively it has taken us six years, which is too long, this is too slow, but it does actually put legal bones on the Paris Climate Agreement.

“It does actually give us real strong confidence that the whole economic system, the finance system, is going to have to switch to this decarbonised direction.”

Mr Ryan said the compromise was necessary in a deal that 197 countries worldwide had signed up to.

Emily Atkinson14 November 2021 15:53

Cop26 has done enough to keep 1.5C in play, says Imperial College research fellow

Richard Black, a research fellow at Imperial College, has said Cop26 did enough to “keep the 1.5C target in play”.

“This summit has definitely moved the dial on several aspects of climate change – governments have taken steps to improve the lot of the most vulnerable nations, the missing pages of the Paris Agreement rulebook have been filled in, and governments that are marking time on emissions reduction are requested to come back next year with a more serious offer,” he said.

“Above all, for the first time all governments formally agreed that phasing out coal is essential to combatting climate change and that fossil fuel subsidies should go as well.

“They didn’t all want to, but reality is sometimes impossible to wish away. Some will have been looking to Cop26 to solve climate change, but no summit could ever do that. It has done enough, however, to keep the 1.5C target in play – but individual governments have a lot of work to do quickly to turn pledges into action.”

Tom Batchelor14 November 2021 16:37

Johnson and Sharma due to hold press conference

Cop26 president Alok Sharma is due to take part in a Downing Street press conference with Boris Johnson on at 5pm about the climate summit’s outcome. We will bring you the latest updates when the event begins.

Tom Batchelor14 November 2021 17:01

Countries must now translate commitments into action, says World Resources Institute

The real test after Cop26 is whether countries translate their commitments into action, says Ani Dasgupta, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute.

“In a year marked by uncertainty and mistrust, Cop26 affirmed the importance of collective global action to address the climate crisis,” he said.

“While we are not yet on track, the progress made over the last year and at the Cop26 summit offers a strong foundation to build upon. The real test now is whether countries accelerate their efforts and translate their commitments into action.

“The train is moving and all countries need to get on board. As attention shifts beyond Cop26, it’s critical for everyone to step up their efforts and turn commitments into real action in ways that benefit all people.”

Tom Batchelor14 November 2021 17:05

Johnson: ‘Glasgow has sounded the death knell for coal power'

Boris Johnson has hailed the Glasgow climate pact as the “game-changing agreement that the world needed to see”.

The prime minister claimed the agreement “sounded the death knell for coal power” during the press conference at Downing Street.

He said it was a “decisive shift in the world’s approach to tackling climate emissions, a clear roadmap to limiting global temperature to 1.5C and marking the beginning of the end of coal power.”“When you add al that together it is beyond questions that Glasgow has sounded the death knell for coal power,” he said.

But he added that his “delight at this progress is tinged with disappointment” due to the softening of a promise to end the use of coal.

Nevertheless, Mr Johnson claimed the “world is heading in the right direction” with the projected temperature rise at “around 2C”.

Tom Batchelor14 November 2021 17:14

Phasing down coal not much difference from phasing out coal, says PM

Boris Johnson has dismissed criticism that the language in the pact was watered down, from a “phasing out” of coal to a “phasing down”, following an intervention from China and India.

The prime minister said: “It is an immense thing to get a commitment from 190 countries to phase down or phase out coal.

“I don’t know whether the language is phase down or phase out, it doesn’t seem to me as a speaker of English to make that much difference. The direction of travel is pretty much the same.”

Tom Batchelor14 November 2021 17:27

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