COP26: Here's everything that happened in the first week of the Glasgow climate summit
The summit has been overshadowed somewhat by some of the issues in Westminster, much to the annoyance of the Prime Minister, but it has been a week where some progress has been made.
A series of breakthroughs have been lauded by the UK Government, but it’s worth noting the real problem with climate change is not in getting countries to agree to world-saving targets, it’s in getting them to stick to it.
With the world watching, here’s what’s happened in Glasgow so far.
The first day of COP26 invited delegates to enjoy the traditional British pastime of queuing, with lines of more than an hour to get in.
There were no lines or planning, with multiple delegates heard cancelling meetings on in the queue, while journalists were told off by security for taking pictures.
For the Prime Minister, it was a strong start as he managed to make a speech without making half of it jokes.
Channelling the spirit of James Bond, Mr Johnson warned it was “one minute to midnight on the doomsday clock and we need to act now”.
His heroic call to arms felt considerably less powerful the next day when it emerged he flew back from COP26 on a private plane to dine with guests, including a climate sceptic at a members’ club.
The day also saw China's president XI Jinping no-show and send in a written statement that announced absolutely nothing.
There was some progress, however, with India announcing a net-zero emissions target by 2070.
Day two was far more positive, with a series of announcements from the world leaders before they left.
First there was a deal agreed to end deforestation, which is significant not only for its premise, but also for the names agreeing to it.
Mr Jinping, Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro and US counterpart Joe Biden were all among the leaders signing the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use.
The US president also announced a pledge to cut global methane emissions by 30 per cent b 2030.
It represents one of the quickest ways to slow global warming and now almost 100 countries have signed up to the target.
Mr Biden also revealed the US was rejoining the High Ambition Coalition following its departure under President Donald Trump, with the aim of achieving the 1.5C goal at the UN climate talks.
There were also a series of celebrity appearances, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.
The Amazon founder pledged $2 billion to help combat the climate crisis and defended his trip to space by saying it showed him how “finite and fragile” the world is.
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg also caused controversy by singing outside the conference and using rude words, because people who want to be annoyed about a teenager trying to save the world will find any reason to complain.
With the world leaders having departed, guests were instead treated to a visit from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who warned public investment alone will not be enough to beat climate change.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, Mr Sunak also announced that London would become the world’s net-zero aligned financial centre.
All financial institutions and listed companies in the UK will now be forced to publish plans on how they will transition to net zero from 2023.
His speech on the private sector came as hundreds of the world’s biggest banks and pension funds committed to making all assets aligned with net zero emissions by 2050.
There was also the announcement that more than 20 countries and financial institutions promised to end all funding for fossil fuel development overseas, diverting an estimated £6bn.
It includes the European Investment bank as well as the UK, US and Denmark.
India also launched the the Green Grids Initiative with the UK, which aims to connect energy grids across borders to facilitate a faster transition to the use of renewable energy.
Thursday saw scientists warn global warming must be kept to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The International Energy Agency said pledges made at COP26 could limit rises to 1.8C, which was lower than the 2C prediction made just a day earlier.
This prediction is based on all of the COP26 commitments made as of Wednesday night being fulfilled on time.
Research also revealed half the world’s fossil fuel assets could become worthless by 2036 under a net zero transition.
Less positive was analysis showing global carbon emissions are rising back to the record level seen before the pandemic.
There was a string of bad news throughout the day, with the UN saying countries have not adapted to deal with unavoidable climate damage, and another study saying just 2 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef has avoided coral bleaching since 1998.
The US climate envoy John Kerry has said the £74bn promised to poorer nations could be delivered in 2022, a year earlier than previously thought.
It is aimed to fund emission cuts in developing countries and comes from funds from both countries and the private sector.
Friday also saw the UN warn global carbon emissions are on track to rise by 13.7 per cent by 2030.
The figures are a damning prediction given the need for a 50 per cent cut to keep the rise to 1.5C.
As thousands of environmental protesters marched through Glasgow, Ms Thunberg also made a speech where she labelled COP26 a “failure".
She said: “The leaders are not doing nothing. They are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves and to continue profiting from this destructive system.
“The COP has turned into a PR event”.
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