Politics What's different about this world climate change summit
What to know about COP26 ahead of global climate summit
Experts say the world still has a narrow window of opportunity to act – and crucial global summit is coming up.Over two weeks in November, world leaders and national negotiators will meet in Scotland to discuss what to do about climate change. It's a complex process that can be hard to make sense of from the outside, but it's how international law and institutions help solve problems that no single country can fix on its own.
World leaders are gathered in Scotland at a massive and consequential United Nations climate change summit known as
Countries acknowledge the danger of climate change and say they're committed to doing something about it. But there is increasing alarm that countries won't do enough to hold world temperatures below the key threshold most scientists have set.
I've borrowed most of what's below from CNN's climate team, which covers this topic on a daily basis. The grim takeaway is the growing skepticism over the world's ability to meet key benchmarks in time to avert catastrophic effects.
Biden can’t afford to repeat Obama’s mistakes on climate policy
It’s not too late for Democrats to go big on climate change. But it won’t be easy, and there’s no margin for error.One of the most impactful climate policies that Congress has ever considered, the clean electricity payment program (CEPP), is on the chopping block. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) says he will not support a bill that penalizes coal and natural gas for the outsized role they play in US pollution. Democrats can’t pass their budget bill, the Build Back Better Act, without his support, and its size and scope has been shrinking.
Why do they call it COP26?
It's the 26th annual conference of parties brought together by the United Nations to address climate change. You might recall the Paris Agreement in 2015, which then-President Donald Trump withdrew the US from and currentsubsequently re-entered? That occurred at COP 21, which was held in Paris.
What are the countries trying to accomplish?
They're going to set new goals of what they'll do to help slow climate change.
How much can the climate warm before catastrophic consequences occur?
The prevailing scientific consensus is that temperatures can rise 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels before the most catastrophic changes -- increasingly devastating fires, floods and droughts -- begin to occur.
Ex-UN climate chief doesn't see Paris-type moment in Glasgow
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Christiana Figueres knows how to hammer out a climate deal, and she doesn’t expect the United Nations conference that just started in Glasgow to end with the kind of big moment she engineered in Paris six years ago. But she remains optimistic, saying failure “is not going to happen here.” Figueres, the former executive secretary of the U.N.'s climate change program, was a key architect behind the historic 2015 Paris climate agreement. She says the negotiations leading to the two-week conference in Scotland have not progressed enough to reach the U.N.
Can temperatures be kept below that 1.5-degree Celsius threshold?
There's a growing consensus that temperatures may rise beyond that level no matter what corrective action is taken. As a result, you'll also hear scientists and policymakers refer to the more attainable goal of limiting temperature increases to 2 degrees over pre-industrial levels.
1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius. How much is that in Fahrenheit?
That's 2.7 or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
What if the world changes its policies right this second? Will that keep the temperatures from rising?
As, even under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's most optimistic scenario, in which the world's emissions begin to drop sharply today and are reduced to net zero by 2050, global temperatures will still peak above the 1.5-degree threshold before falling.
What exactly are pre-industrial levels?
Biden totes up climate efforts, pushes for more at UN summit
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — President Joe Biden was swinging the focus of his battle for fast, concerted action against global warming from the U.S. Congress to the world on Monday, appealing to global leaders at a U.N. summit to commit to the kind of big climate measures that he is still working to nail down at home. Speaking to world leaders at the newly opened climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Biden planned to tote up his not-yet year-old'sSpeaking to world leaders at the newly opened climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Biden planned to tote up his not-yet year-old's administrations climate efforts and announce new climate initiatives, including billions of dollars in hoped-for legislation to help poorer communities abroad deal with
We're talking, generally, about the climate before the Industrial Revolution. But here again there is debate since the world has been around for a very long time and temperatures have fluctuated.have referred to the period between 1850 and 1900 as pre-industrial as there were more reliable record-keeping and observations of temperatures then.
There are many terms that are unique to the climate vernacular. We've, and it includes definitions of things like achieving "net-zero emissions," which means a country is removing as much greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as it emits.
How much has the climate changed already?
Around 1.2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. The effects of climate change are being felt in more frequently extreme weather. The rise in temperatures is happening faster than previously thought, according to.
If current policies remain in place, the report estimates the climate will warm 2.7 degrees over pre-industrial levels by 2030, well above the 1.5-degree threshold.
The Latest: COP26: Ecuador vows to expand Galapagos reserve
The latest on U.N. climate summit COP26: GLASGOW, Scotland — Ecuador’s president has announced that his country is expanding the marine reserve around the Galapagos Islands by almost half. President Guillermo Lasso told the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow on Tuesday that the government has agreed with the fishery, tourism and conservation sectors to establish a new marine reserve in the Galapagos Islands of 60,000 square kilometers (more than 23,000 square miles).Lasso said this would be added to an existing marine reserve of about 130,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles).
Why haven't countries addressed this before?
Many nations have talked a lot about climate change. CNNthat overlaid five major climate conferences -- starting with the first in 1979 -- with the rise in average temperatures.
Is COP26 going to be different?
There is certainly the feeling that the world is running out of time to address climate change. This conference has been called the "" for countries to avert climate disaster.
Do we know how much a country's actions can affect the changing climate?
There are many educated guesses. Climate Action Tracker applies an independent scientific analysis to various policies. It currently" but much improved from the period of the Trump administration. It grades countries like China and Russia as "highly insufficient" or "critically insufficient."
What are US leaders saying?
Biden promised in a speech at the conference Monday that the US would do its part to combat climate change, an existential threat to humans.
"Will we act? Will we do what is necessary? Will we seize the enormous opportunity before us or will we condemn future generations to suffer?" Biden implored gathered leaders. "This is the decade that will determine the answer."
Countries pledge to phase out climate culprit coal
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Several major coal-using nations have pledged for the first time to phase out their use of the heavily-polluting fossil fuel or to speed up existing plans to do so, while others announced commitments to end investment in new coal-fired power plants. U.K. business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said late Wednesday that the commitments made on the sidelines of the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, meant the “end of coal is in sight.” But critics noted the several major economies still have not set a date for ending their dependence on the fuel that is a major source of planet-warming emissions.
Hours later, however, back in Washington, Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from coal country, was skeptical the US can afford a massive new spending bill that includes provisions to fight climate change -- even thought its price tag was already cut in half to attract his vote.
That's an oversimplification since Manchin seems to be more concerned about expanding Medicare and social spending. But these subjects are tied together in the Democrats' spending bill. So it's also completely fair to say what the US can offer the world on climate change is directly tied to what Manchin will support. And he's not actively supporting Biden's Build Back Better agenda just yet.
What, specifically, is Biden's plan for the US to combat climate change?
A larger National Climate Strategy is still being written, but Biden's climate envoy John Kerry and his climate adviser Gina McCarthy released a five-prong plan ahead of the summit:
- Achieve Biden's goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.
- Transition American cars, buildings and industries away from burning fuel and toward electricity.
- Help Americans transition to energy-efficient appliances and homes.
- Reduce methane emissions with new rules.
- Invest in carbon removal.
What are other countries doing?
There are some major promises. Brazil, for instance, pledged to end.
But many countries are not doing enough, according to CNN's report:
China's long-awaited new emissions pledge submitted last week was just a fraction higher than its previous one. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday it wouldn't be strong-armed into net zero by 2050. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison showed no interest in consigning coal to history. India has made no net-zero pledge and, as European lawmaker Bas Eickhout told CNN, it was one of a handful of nations against putting a date on phasing out coal."
A look at the state of play at the climate talks in Glasgow
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — As this year's U.N. climate talks go into their second week, negotiations on key topics are inching forward. Boosted by a few high-profile announcements at the start of the meeting, delegates are upbeat about the prospects for tangible progress in the fight against global warming. Laurent Fabius, the former French foreign minister who helped forge the Paris climate accord, said the general atmosphere had improved since the talks began Oct. 31 and "most negotiators want an agreement.
Here's a particularly mixed message from China as noted in CNN's:
"In September (Chinese President Xi Jinping) promised that China will not build any new coal-fired power projects abroad; however, the following month he ordered his country to "produce as much coal as possible" amid an ongoing energy crunch.
How do China and the US compare on carbon emissions?
Since 2006, China has been the world's largest emitter, and the US ranks second. China's 2019 output was more than 2.5 times the US. Taking a longer view, the US was the top emitter for so long that its cumulative emissions are twice that of China's. CNN's Helen Regan and Carlotta Dotto have a.
What will COP26 actually accomplish?
Kerry and his team, particularly since a worldwide energy crunch as countries emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic has led countries to ramp up coal and fossil fuel production rather than cut it. Key leaders from Russia and China chose not to attend the summit.
"It would be wonderful if everybody came and everybody hit the 1.5 degrees mark now," Kerry told the Associated Press in October. "That would be terrific. But some countries just don't have the energy mix yet that allows them to do that."
Obama urging governments to action at UN climate summit .
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — With pressure growing for decisive action out of this year's U.N. climate talks, Barack Obama is bringing his political weight to bear Monday on negotiators for nearly 200 governments, urging them to greater ambition in cutting climate-wrecking emissions and dealing with the mounting damage. The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, is the former American president's first since he helped deliver the triumph of the 2015 Paris climate accord, when nations committed to cutting fossil fuel and agricultural emissions fast enough to keep the Earth's warming below catastrophic levels. © Provided by Associated Press Former U.S.