Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

  • Day two of the UN COP26 climate conference
  • Dozens of countries join US-led efforts to reduce methane
  • Over 100 leaders promise to halt deforestation by 2030
  • Sparring between the United States and China casts a shadow
  • Developed countries are moving forward with climate finance

GLASGOW, Nov. 2 (Reuters) – Leaders at the global climate conference COP26 on Tuesday promised to halt deforestation before the end of the decade and reduce emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane to help curb climate change.

On the second day of the two-week summit in Glasgow, Scotland, wealthy nations took some delayed action to provide long-promised economic aid to the developing countries hardest hit by global warming.

The UN conference aims to keep alive a declining goal of limiting temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels to avert even greater damage than has already been caused by greenhouse gases.

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the event, in which almost 200 countries participated, said he welcomed the latest steps but called for caution.

“We must be careful to guard against false hopes and not in any way believe that the job is done, because it is not. There is still a very long way to go again,” he said at a press conference.

More than 100 countries have joined a US- and EU-led effort to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels, potentially a step towards curbing the planet’s overheating.

US President Joe Biden reprimanded Chinese President Xi Jinping for his decision not to attend in person.

“It has been a big mistake, quite frankly, for China – in terms of China not showing up,” Biden said at a news conference.

“The rest of the world will look to China and say what value added they provide? And they have lost the ability to influence people around the world and all the people here at the COP, in the same way that I would argue with regard to Russia.”

China said Xi had not been given the opportunity to provide a video address, and had to send a written response instead. Xi made no further promises.

China was represented in Glasgow by its chief climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua, who said in remarks to reporters on Tuesday that “five years were wasted” because Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement and it was time to “work harder and catch up “. Read more

MOST IN RISK

Leaders of developing countries most exposed to the effects of climate change, such as heat waves, droughts, storms and floods, told delegates that efforts could not be higher.

“Let’s work for our and all species’ survival. Let us not choose extinction,” said Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

The Global Methane Pledge, launched on Tuesday after being announced in September by just a few signatories, now covers countries representing nearly half of global methane emissions and 70% of global GDP, Biden said.

Methane is more short-lived in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, but 80 times more potent at warming the planet. Reducing gas emissions, which are estimated to account for 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times, is one of the most effective ways to curb climate change.

Among the signatories is Brazil – one of the five largest emitters of methane generated in cows’ digestive systems, in landfill waste and in oil and gas production. Three others – China, Russia and India – have not signed up, while Australia has said it will not support the promise.

The United States also unveiled its own domestic proposal to strike with a focus on the oil and gas sector, where leaky infrastructure allows methane to escape into the atmosphere. Read more

TASTE FOREST

More than 100 national leaders also signed a pledge to halt the destruction of the world’s forests, which absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the nonprofit World Resources Institute.

By 2020, the world lost 258,000 square kilometers (100,000 square kilometers) of forest – an area larger than Britain, according to WRI’s Global Forest Watch. The charity WWF estimates that 27 football fields in the woods are lost every minute.

The promise to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade is backed by $ 19 billion in public and private funds to be invested in protecting and restoring forests. Read more

The signatories again include Brazil, which has carried out soaring deforestation under right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Together they make up 85% of the world’s forests.

Under the agreement, 12 countries pledged $ 12 billion in public funding between 2021 and 2025 to developing countries to restore degraded land and tackle forest fires.

At least $ 7.2 billion will come from private-sector investors, representing $ 8.7 trillion in assets under management, who also promised to stop investing in deforestation activities such as cattle, palm oil and soybean farming and pulp production.

‘HYPOCRITICAL’

The funding could help reduce mistrust among developing countries caused by the inability of wealthy nations to live up to a 2009 promise to cut $ 100 billion a year by 2020 to help them tackle climate change.

This mistrust is one of the main obstacles to climate progress, making some developing countries reluctant to embrace sharp emission reductions.

“We see double standards creeping into our thinking, whereby those who have already benefited from carbon-fueled economies want to prevent emerging economies from laying similar foundations for their political stability, social development and economic prosperity,” said Suriname President Chan Santokhi.

On Tuesday, Japan said it would offer up to $ 10 billion over five years in additional aid to support decarbonization in Asia.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said this could leverage an additional $ 8 billion from the World Bank and other sources, which is likely to allow the $ 100 billion threshold for climate finance to be reached in 2022 instead of 2023 as previously expected.

In another agreement signed on Tuesday, Britain and India launched a plan to improve connections between the world’s electricity grids to help speed up the transition to greener energy. Read more

However, there were few signs of joint determination from the world’s two largest carbon pollutants, China and the United States, which together account for more than 40% of global emissions, but who disagree on several issues.

Biden has singled out China and leading oil producer Russia for not stepping up their climate goals in Glasgow, while Beijing has rejected Washington’s efforts to separate climate issues from their broader disagreements.

The Communist Party-run Global Times said in an editorial on Monday that Washington’s stance had made it “impossible for China to see any potential for conducting fair negotiations amid tensions”.

Reporting by Kate Abnett in Brussels, Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Jake Spring, Simon Jessop, William James and Ilze Filks in Glasgow; David Stanway, Josh Horwitz and Yew Lun Tian; Written by Kevin Liffey and Gavin Jones; Edited by Janet Lawrence, Barbara Lewis and Grant McCool

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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By Victor

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