(GLASGOW, Scotland) — Leaders from nearly every country in the world have converged upon Glasgow, Scotland, for COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference that experts are touting as the most important environmental summit in history.
The conference, delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was designed as the check-in for the progress countries are making after entering the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, a value that would be disastrous to exceed, according to climate scientists. More ambitious efforts aim to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Not one country is going into COP26 on track to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to experts. They will need to work together to find collective solutions that will drastically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.
“We need to move from commitments into action,” Jim Harmon, chairman of the World Resources Institute, told ABC News. “The path to a better future is still possible, but time is running out.”
All eyes will be on the biggest emitters: China, the U.S. and India. While China is responsible for about 26% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than all other developed countries combined, the cumulative emissions from the U.S. over the past century are likely twice that of China’s, David Sandalow, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, told ABC News.
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Here’s how the conference is developing. All times Eastern.
Nov 12, 5:10 pm
Final Glasgow deal yet to come as negotiations continue on last day
Despite being the last stipulated date for the COP26, country representatives continue to work on finalizing the draft of the Glasgow deal. The negotiations are expected to continue into the night.
Countries continue to dispute who bears the financial burden of climate action and the deadlines for carbon emissions reductions. Some disagreements also took place over the semantics of the draft as representatives argued over whether “requests” or “urges” was a better fit when talking about climate goals.
The final day also witnessed walkouts and protests from climate activists around the world who claimed their voices were not being heard.
Crowds outside chanted: “Fighting for justice, and for liberation.”
Nov 11, 4:33 pm
Developing, vulnerable countries point fingers at rich countries, COP26 draft letter
Developing countries, including top emitters China and India, are asking for changes to the COP26 draft letter focusing more on reparations from established countries.
On Wednesday, Diego Pacheco Balanza, the head of Bolivia’s delegation and spokesman for the Like-Minded Developing Countries group, along with 21 other countries released an opposition to the draft agreement.
They say it is unfair for rich countries who built their economies on fossil fuels to tell developing countries what to do without recognizing that historical responsibility.
“We will never achieve the targets they are putting forward for the entire world. So we need to fight — the developing world — against this carbon colonialism,” Balanza said at a press conference Friday.
The statement comes amid rising concerns from vulnerable countries in the Global South, which claim that COP26 isn’t focusing enough on their needs.
Uganda’s Vanessa Nakate emphasized that any additional global temperature warming could lead to more suffering in her country.
“A 2.4-degree [warmer] world is a death sentence for communities like mine; 1.2 degrees is already hell for us,” Nakate told reporters Wednesday night.
Similarly, Elizabeth Wathuti from Kenya spoke about climate-related starvation in her country, urging leaders to keep those affected by it at the front of their minds.
“The big question is, are the leaders here going to step up to do what must be done to save those lives and livelihoods that are at stake?” Wathuti asked. “I come from Kenya where over 2 million Kenyans are facing climate-related starvation and I need answers when I go back to my communities to my country. What are we going to tell these people whose lives and livelihoods are at stake when we go back?”
Nov 10, 3:29 pm
US, China announce joint statement addressing climate crisis
Top carbon emitters U.S. and China have committed to working together on reducing emissions and transitioning to renewable energy over the next decade, according to U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry.
Kerry said it’s important that the countries work together on climate issues.
“And as I’ve said many times, the United States and China have no shortage of differences. But on climate, cooperation is the only way to get things done,” he told reporters Wednesday.
ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs
Nov 09, 1:39 pm
America ‘ready to take on the challenge,’ Pelosi says
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi focused on the domestic political success of the Build Back Better plan and its investment in climate change while speaking to reporters at COP26, continuing the message that America is back on the international climate stage.
“We come here equipped, ready to take on the challenge to meet the moment,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said she still plans to pass the reconciliation bill the week of Nov. 15 and backed up remarks made by former President Barack Obama on Monday — that both he and President Biden could take more aggressive action on climate change if it wasn’t for near Republican control on Capitol Hill.
“Let me just say that when President Obama was president and we had majority in the first term … we did pass in the House a very strong climate bill,” she said.
“Sixty votes in the Senate is an obstacle that is very hard to overcome and is another subject for another day.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also declared that “America is back” but was more critical, saying that leaders will need to “actually deliver.”
“We’re here to say that we’re not just back, we’re different … and we are more open, I think, to questioning prior assumptions about what is politically possible and that is what is exciting about this time,” she said.
ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs
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