“Enough of brutalizing biodiversity”: World leaders take center stage at CO26 climate talks

    02 Nov 2021

    Media indicate that the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-26) is the most prominent summit of its kind since the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, which resulted in the Paris Climate Agreement.

    What happened at Cop26 On November 1 – day one at a glance

    Let’s take a look at the summary of the main developments on the kick-off day of the UN climate summit in Glasgow. Thanks a lot to The Guardian!

    Day one at Cop26 was dominated by the opening ceremony and speeches from world leaders. 

     

     

    The main things that happened on day one of the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow included:

     

    Chaotic scenes as the world descended on Glasgow

    The day started off with a popular British pastime: queueing. About 2,000 delegates and journalists were kept in large crowds queueing outside the conference centre, with Guardian reporters noting there seemed to have been a lack of planning, as no attempt was made to encourage people to queue rather than simply press forward.

     

    Boris Johnson channels spirit of James Bond

    Johnson drew an analogy between a ticking bomb that Bond must defuse in a film and the situation humanity finds itself in with the climate crisis.

    It’s one minute to midnight on the doomsday clock and we need to act now. If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to get serious about it tomorrow.

     

    Climate optimism an illusion, warns UN chief

    There was less optimism from the UN secretary general, António Guterres, who dismissed the suggestion that the climate situation was improving, and exhorted the more than 120 national leaders present to “choose to safeguard our future and save humanity” instead of continuing with the addiction to fossil fuels.

     

    David Attenborough says be ‘motivated by hope not fear’

    David Attenborough called in his speech at the conference for a new industrial revolution powered by millions of sustainable innovations. Looking directly at world leaders in the audience, he also urged them to work together.

    “In my lifetime, I have witnessed a terrible decline. In yours, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery”.

     

    Biden apologizes for Trump quitting Paris agreement

    Biden attempted to reassert America’s credibility at the UN climate talks by apologizing for the behavior of his predecessor. “We will demonstrate to the world the United States is not only back at the table but hopefully leading by the power of our example,” he said, adding: “I know it hasn’t been the case, which is why my administration is working overtime to show our climate commitment is action not words.”

     

    “Joe Biden’s motorcade arrives in Glasgow for #COP26. How environmentally friendly” – Twitter’s user ironically comments.

     

    Xi Jinping no-show and no significant climate pledges

    China’s president, Xi Jinping, called for developed countries to “provide support to help developing countries do better” in dealing with the climate crisis, in a written statement that failed to make any new significant pledges. Xi, along with Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Vladimir Putin of Russia, decided not to appear in person at the summit.

     

    India to target net zero emissions by 2070

    The most positive news came late in the day, with Narendra Modi’s pledge that his country will meet a target of net zero emissions by 2070. He also committed to India getting half of its energy from renewable resources by 2030. Modi demanded developed countries make $1tn available as climate finance.

    Bolsonaro’s ‘green powerhouse’ speech criticised

    While not attending the conference in person, Bolsonaro claimed in a speech on Monday that when it came to fighting climate change, Brazil had always been part of the solution, not the problem. But Amazon forest defenders are urging delegates at Cop26 not to trust the “greenwashing” promises of Bolsonaro’s government.

    Johnson to fly back to London – avoiding the train

    Finally, it emerged later in the day that Boris Johnson was still channelling James Bond as it was confirmed he would be flying back from the Cop26 climate conference on a private plane rather than getting the train. Johnson flew into Cop26 in Glasgow from Rome after attending the G20 meeting of world leaders. Prince Charles also flew from Rome to Glasgow on a private plane separately from the prime minister.

     

     

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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes for concrete results from the climate summit in Glasgow.

    The International Climate Summit should lead to real progress in the fight against environmental problems, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

    The summit “must definitely give a new impetus to concrete measures,” Western media quoted her as saying.

    “The Paris Agreement (on climate) showed us the way to how to reduce global warming to an acceptable level,” – reminded the German Chancellor.

    According to her, up to 1 million species on Earth are threatened with extinction, and humanity needs to stop this process. At the same time, Merkel said that “Europe has already come a long way,” referring to the EU’s earlier announced goal of reducing its carbon emissions to zero by 2050. However, the chancellor added, Berlin is setting itself even more ambitious goals.

     

     

    “The planet isn’t a toilet” – UN Secretary-General

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned world leaders to stop treating the planet “like a toilet” in his opening address to the COP26 climate summit, Arab News reports.

    In a hard-hitting warning to the heads of states gathered in Glasgow, Guterres said: “Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink. We face a stark choice. Either we stop it, or it stops us. It’s time to say enough. Enough of brutalizing biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves.”

    “If commitments fall short at the end of this COP, countries must revisit their national climate plans and policies – not every five years (but) every year and every moment,” Guterres told leaders at the COP26 opening ceremony.

    Guterres warned that the six years since the Paris Agreement in 2015, in which world governments agreed to limit global warming to as close to 1.5° C as possible and below 2° C, had been the six hottest years on record.

    He said: “We must keep the goal of 11.5° C alive. This requires greater ambition on mitigation and immediate concrete action to reduce global emissions by 45 percent by 2030. G20 countries have a particular responsibility as they represent around 80 percent of emissions. According to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in light of national circumstances, developed countries must lead the effort. But emerging economies, too, must go the extra mile, as their contribution is essential for the effective reduction of emissions. We need maximum ambition from all countries on all fronts to make Glasgow a success.”

     

     

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    COP26 may mark a turning point in history

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called this week’s UN climate change summit, COP26, which kicks off in Glasgow today, a “turning point for humanity.”

    Unfortunately, in the last few days, the normally Tiggerish Johnson has also warned that getting the world’s governments to agree on binding commitments to radically reset Earth’s climate trajectory, is “touch and go.”

    COP26 is essentially the five-year report card on the world’s progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change — the treaty that committed most of the world’s governments to stop the globe’s average temperature rising more than 2° С and ideally, keeping it at 1.5° С.

    It is against this backdrop that the 120 leaders who will gather in Glasgow are expected to produce detailed plans for reducing emissions.

    However, the UN has conceded that the emissions cuts offered by national governments will fall short of those needed to meet the 1.5° С.

     

     

    Its most recent report on climate change warned the Earth is set to warm 2.7 degrees by the end of this century, almost double the target.

    Instead of binding agreements on climate change, COP26 will simply see governments stressing their ambitions to green their economies further and agree on deals in other areas, such as coal investment, forest protection and other less economically sensitive sectors.

    If you wanted an idea of why COP26 looks set to fall so woefully short of its Paris Agreement expectations, look no further than the announcement by the Australian government on Tuesday.

    Australia, one of the world’s top producers of coal and gas, announced that it intends to target net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, like all but a handful of governments around the world, it has no intention of putting that aspiration into legally binding legislation.

     

     

    Instead, Australia will rely on consumers and companies to drive emission reductions, although the government will invest around $15 billion to help funding for new greener technologies.

    China, whose leader Xi Jinping is unlikely to attend COP26, is the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gas, accounting for 28 percent of global emissions, compared with about 15 percent for the US in second place.

    While China has invested heavily in renewables — it has a third of the world’s photovoltaic capacity, almost three times that of its closest solar rival, the US – it is also sharply increasing its domestic coal production to maintain its economic expansion.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country accounts for 5 percent of CO2 emissions, the fourth largest globally, has also decided not to attend COP26. On the plus side, it does appear that India, No. 3 on the list at 7 percent and the world’s second-largest consumer of coal, will be represented in Glasgow by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    But the absence of those two key leaders will clearly impede the potential for any sort of meaningful progress on climate change, particularly in the current geopolitical climate of increased competing interests.

     

     

    Even an agreement to get Western governments to make good the $20 billion a year shortfall in helping emerging nations transition to greener energy looks to be a forlorn hope now.

    Developed nations had agreed as far back as 2009 during COP in Copenhagen to provide $100 billion per year to pay for the decarbonization of emerging nations by 2020, but have so far only paid $80 billion. It emerged this week that the $100-billion goal will not now be reached until 2023, partly because the US rejected making up the shortfall any sooner. COP26 President and UK government official Alok Sharma said that the delay was “a source of deep frustration.”

    So what will emerge from COP26? It is likely that world leaders will agree to stop investing in overseas coal mining. The G7 has already signed up to this, and China recently announced that it would do the same. That looks attainable, though it will not impact domestic production amid the current energy crisis.

    There will also be a commitment to reduce global deforestation. The destruction of forests, for the production of palm oil, timber and for grazing, has major implications for climate change, as trees absorb more than one-third of global carbon emissions.

    However, earlier this year, Frances Seymour, an expert at the US-based World Resources Institute, said that several countries had previously made deforestation pledges they failed to meet.

     

     

    It’s time for more than 130 world leaders to feel the heat, BNA states. We’ve found a rather poetic review about the COP26 from Bahrain journalists point of view, Let’s check it.

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    They will traipse to the podium on November 1 and 2 at crucial international climate talks in Scotland and talk about what their country is going to do about the threat of global warming. From U.S. President Joe Biden to Seychelles President Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan, they are expected to say how their nation will do its utmost, challenge colleagues to do more and generally turn up the rhetoric.

    “Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to say during Monday’s opening session, according to partial remarks released by his office late Sunday. “It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now.”

    The biggest names, including Biden, Johnson, India’s Narendra Modi, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Ibrahim Solih, president of hard hit Maldives, will take the stage on November 1.

    And then the leaders will leave.

    The idea is that they will do the big political give-and-take, setting out broad outlines of agreement, and then have other government officials hammer out the nagging but crucial details. That’s what worked to make the historic 2015 Paris climate deal a success, former U.N. climate secretary Christiana Figueres told The Associated Press.

     

     

     

    “For heads of state, it is actually a much better use of their strategic thinking,” Figueres said.

    In Paris, the two signature goals — trying to limit warming to 1.5° С (2.7° Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times and net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – were created by this leaders-first process, Figueres said. In the unsuccessful 2009 Copenhagen meeting the leaders swooped in at the end.

    What will be noticeable are a handful of major absences. Xi Jinping, president of top carbon polluting nation China, and Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be in Glasgow. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also decided not to travel to Glasgow, the state-run Anadolu Agency said Monday, without citing a reason for the change of plans.

    Figueres said the absence of the Chinese leader isn’t that big a deal — though Biden chided China over the weekend — because he isn’t leaving the country during the pandemic and his climate envoy is a veteran negotiator.

    More troublesome are several small nations from the Pacific islands that couldn’t make it because of COVID-19 restrictions and logistics. That’s a big problem because their voices relay urgency, Figueres said.

     

     

    Kevin Conrad, a negotiator from Papua New Guinea who also chairs the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, said he’s watching the big carbon polluting nations: “I think it’s really important for the United States and China to show leadership as the two largest emitters. If both of them can show it can be done, I think they give hope to the rest of the world.”

    But before the U.N. climate summit, known as COP26, the heads of the world’s largest economies at the close of their own Group of 20 summit in Rome offered vague climate pledges instead of commitments of firm action, saying they would seek carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century.” The G-20 countries also agreed to end public financing for coal-fired power generation abroad, but set no target for phasing out coal domestically — a clear nod to China and India.

    The G-20 countries represent more than three-quarters of the world’s climate-damaging emissions and G-20 host Italy, and Britain, which is hosting the Glasgow conference, had been hoping for more ambitious targets coming out of Rome.

    India, the world’s third biggest emitter, has yet to follow China, the U.S. and the European Union in setting a target for reaching “net zero” emissions. Negotiators are hoping Modi will announce such a goal in Glasgow.

    The Biden administration has tried hard to temper expectations that two weeks of climate talks will produce major breakthroughs on cutting climate-damaging emissions.

    Rather than a quick fix, “Glasgow is the beginning of this decade race, if you will,” Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, told reporters On October 21.

     

     

    Scientists say the chances of meeting the goal to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5° C this century are slowly slipping away. The world has already warmed by more than 1.1° C and current projections based on planned emissions cuts over the next decade are for it to hit 2.7° C by the year 2100.

    The amount of energy unleashed by such warming would melt much of the planet’s ice, raise global sea levels and greatly increase the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather, experts say.

    ‘We have run down the clock’ says Johnson as climate conference opens

    A U.N. conference critical to averting the most disastrous effects of climate change opened on Monday, with world leaders, environmental experts and activists pleading for decisive action to halt global warming.

    The task of the COP26 conference in the Scottish city of Glasgow was made even more daunting by the failure of the Group of 20 major industrial nations to agree ambitious new commitments at a weekend summit in Rome.

    The G20 is responsible for around 80% of emissions of carbon dioxide – the gas produced by burning fossil fuels that is the main cause of the heatwaves, droughts, floods and storms that are growing in intensity worldwide.

    “Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It’s one minute to midnight on that Doomsday clock and we need to act now,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the opening ceremony.

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reminded the conference hall that the six hottest years on record have occurred since 2015.

    Other speakers, including activists from the poorer countries hardest hit by climate change, delivered a defiant message.

    “Pacific youth have rallied behind the cry ‘We are not drowning, we are fighting’,” said Brianna Fruean from the Polynesian island state of Samoa, at risk from rising sea levels. “This is our warrior cry to the world.”

    As Johnson took the stage, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg retweeted an appeal for her millions of supporters to sign an open letter accusing leaders of betrayal.

    “This is not a drill. It’s code red for the Earth,” it read. “Millions will suffer as our planet is devastated – a terrifying future that will be created, or avoided, by the decisions you make. You have the power to decide.”

    In Rome, the G20 leaders failed to commit to a 2050 target to halt net carbon emissions – a deadline widely cited as necessary to prevent the most extreme global warming – badly undermining one of COP26’s main aims.

    Instead, they only recognized “the key relevance” of halting net emissions “by or around mid-century”, and set no timetable for phasing out domestic coal power, a major cause of carbon emissions.

    Their commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies “over the medium term” echoed wording used by the G20 at a summit in Pittsburgh as long ago as 2009.

    Discord among some of the world’s biggest emitters about how to cut back on coal, oil and gas will not make their task easier.

    At the G20, U.S. President Joe Biden singled out China and Russia, neither of which sent its leader to Glasgow, for not bringing proposals to the table.

    He told the conference: “Glasgow must be the start of a decade of shared ambition and innovation to preserve our future.”

    Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country is by far the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, ahead of the United States, told the conference in a written statement that developed countries should not only do more but also support developing countries to do better.

    President Vladimir Putin of Russia, one of the world’s top three oil producers along with the United States and Saudi Arabia, dropped plans to participate in any talks live by video link, the Kremlin said. read more

     

     

    Promises, promises

    Less senior delegates – many of them held up on Sunday by disruptions to trains between London and Glasgow – had more mundane problems.

    More than a thousand had to shiver for over an hour in a bottleneck outside the venue to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test and gain access, while being treated by activists to an electronic musical remix of Thunberg’s past speeches, Reuters reports.

    Delayed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, COP26 aims to keep alive a target of capping global warming at 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.

    To do that, it needs to secure more ambitious pledges to reduce emissions, lock in billions in climate-related financing for developing countries, and finish the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by nearly 200 countries.

    “Climate financing” could make or break the talks. In 2009, the rich nations most responsible for global warming pledged to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries deal with its consequences.

    The commitment has still not been met, generating mistrust and a reluctance among some developing nations to accelerate their emissions reductions.

    Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley compared the vast sums pumped into the global economy by rich countries’ central banks in recent years with the insufficient amounts spent on climate help for poor nations.

    “Our people are watching and our people are taking note … Can there be peace and prosperity if one-third of the world lives in prosperity and two-thirds lives under seas and face calamitous threats to our wellbeing?” she told the conference.

    Developed countries confirmed last week they would be three years late in meeting the $100 billion climate finance pledge – which many poor countries and activists say is insufficient anyway. read more

    The pledges made so far to cut emissions would allow the planet’s average surface temperature to rise 2.7C this century, which the United Nations says would supercharge the destruction that climate change is already causing.

    Two days of speeches by world leaders will be followed by technical negotiations. Any deal may not be struck until close to or even after the event’s Nov. 12 finish date.

    Climate finance could make or break the COP26 summit. Here’s why

    At the U.N. climate conference, expect one theme to drown out the cacophony of pledges from countries and companies around the world: money.

    The COP26 summit, which began on Sunday in Glasgow, will attempt to complete the rules to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement – which aims to limit global warming to 1.5° C above preindustrial times – and secure more ambitious commitments from countries to meet its targets.

    Underpinning progress on both issues is money. Climate finance refers to money that richer nations – responsible for the bulk of the greenhouse gas emissions heating the planet – give to poorer nations to help them cut their own emissions and adapt to the deadly storms, rising seas and droughts worsened by global warming.

    So far, the money hasn’t arrived.

    Developed countries confirmed last week they had failed to meet a pledge made in 2009 to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020. Instead it would arrive in 2023. read more

    “Their credibility is now shot,” said Saleemul Huq, an adviser to the Climate Vulnerable Forum of 48 countries, adding that the broken finance promise could “sour everything else” at the Glasgow talks.

    “They are basically leaving the most vulnerable people on the planet in the lurch, after having promised that they’re going to help.”

    The Alliance of Small Island States, whose influence at past U.N. climate talks has outweighed its members’ size, said: “The impact this has had on trust cannot be underestimated.”

     

    Symbolic target

    The reaction made clear the struggle that countries will face at COP26 as they negotiate divisive issues that have derailed past climate talks.

    The $100 billion pledge is far below the needs of vulnerable countries to cope with climate change, but it has become a symbol of trust and fairness between rich and poor nations.

    Vulnerable countries will need up to $300 billion per year by 2030 for climate adaptation alone, according to the United Nations. That’s aside from potential economic losses from crop failure or climate-related disasters. Hurricane Maria in 2017 cost the Caribbean $69.4 billion.

    European Union climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said delivering the $100 billion was one of his three priorities for COP26, alongside finishing the Paris rulebook and securing more ambitious emissions-cutting targets.

    “I think we still have a shot at getting to $100 billion,” Timmermans told Reuters. “It would be very important for Glasgow to do that, also as a sign of trust and confidence to the developing world.”

    Italy said on Sunday it was tripling its climate finance contribution to $1.4 billion a year for the next five years. The United States committed in September to double its contribution to $11.4 billion per year by 2024 – which analysts said was far below its fair share, based on size, emissions and ability to pay.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened frustration among the poorest countries over the missing climate cash. The $100 billion is a tiny fraction of the $14.6 trillion that major economies mobilized last year in response to the pandemic, according to the World Economic Forum.

    “One thing that the pandemic showed is that if the priority is big enough, the spending can follow,” said Lorena Gonzalez, a senior associate for climate finance at the World Resources Institute.

    A flurry of mini-deals on climate finance are also planned for the two-week COP26 summit, in an attempt to rebuild trust.

    The EU, United States, Britain, Germany and France will announce a funding project to help South Africa phase out coal-fuelled power faster and invest in renewables. Other announcements are expected from development banks and the private sector.

    Finance will dominate the agenda for negotiations at COP26 on the rulebook for the Paris Agreement.

    Countries will start talks on setting a new post-2025 climate finance commitment, which poorer nations say must have enough checks and balances to ensure that, this time, the money arrives.

    Another sticking point will be on rules to set up a carbon offsets market under the Paris Agreement – an issue that derailed the last U.N. climate talks in 2019.

    Developing countries want a share of proceeds from the new carbon market set aside to fund climate adaptation projects, such as storm shelters or defences against rising seas. Some richer countries are opposed.

    “Those markets need to put 1%, 2% – this is nothing – into adaptation. But this is a no-go for the same countries who are preaching adaptation finance,” Mohamed Nasr, climate finance negotiator for the African group of countries at COP26, told Reuters.

    Securing private finance for adaptation projects is challenging, since they often do not generate a financial return. Public support has also lagged. Of the $79.6 billion in climate finance that donor governments contributed in 2019, only a quarter went on climate adaptation, according to the OECD.

     

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    Biden tells leaders U.S. will meet climate goals, while his agenda falters at home

    President Joe Biden on Monday sought to assure world leaders the United States would fulfill its promise to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade, but a setback at home heightened uncertainty about his ability to follow through.

    Biden joined leaders from over 100 countries in Glasgow for the start of the COP26 climate conference, which kicked off on the heels of the G20 summit in Rome that concluded with a statement that urged “meaningful and effective” action on climate change but left huge work for negotiators to ensure an ambitious outcome.

    Biden, who succeeded former president Donald Trump in January, pledged earlier this year that the United States would cut its greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. The White House has expressed confidence it can achieve that, even as a bill that would help further those goals languishes in Congress, with a key senator on Monday withholding his support, for now. read more

    Biden wanted to show to the world that Washington could be trusted to fight global warming despite changes in policies between Republican and Democratic administrations that have undermined its pledges in the past.

    “We’ll demonstrate to the world the United States is not only back at the table but hopefully leading by the power of our example,” he said. “I know it hasn’t been the case, and that’s why my administration is working overtime to show that our climate commitment is action, not words.”

    Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord, dealing a blow to international efforts on the subject while he was in office. Biden rejoined when he became president.

    “I guess I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize for the fact the United States, in the last administration, pulled out of the Paris accords,” Biden said at a separate COP26 event.

    As Biden was meeting with world leaders in Scotland, moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced he would not yet support a $1.75 trillion legislative framework that is central to achieving the president’s emissions reduction goals. read more

    National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy said ahead of Biden’s arrival in Glasgow that the bill would unleash $555 billion in climate spending, the largest investment to combat global warming in U.S. history, and allow the country to reduce emissions well over a gigaton or a billion metric tons by 2030.

    Biden announced a long-term strategy laying out how the United States would achieve a longer-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

    In his COP26 speech, Biden said the world needed to help developing nations in the climate fight.

    “Right now, we’re still falling short,” he said.

    Biden plans to work with the U.S. Congress to launch a $3 billion program in 2024 aimed at helping developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change through locally-led measures.

    In a conference call with reporters, McCarthy also addressed concerns around a Supreme Court announcement late on Friday that it would review the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, potentially undermining U.S. climate goals.

    “We’re confident that the Supreme Court will confirm what those have before them, which is EPA has not just the right but the authority and responsibility to keep our families and communities safe from pollution,” McCarthy said.

     

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    Erdogan skips Glasgow climate summit in security dispute

    President Tayyip Erdogan cancelled plans to attend the global climate conference in Glasgow on Monday because Britain failed to meet Turkey’s demands on security arrangements, Turkish media quoted him as saying.

    Heads of state and government from around the world are attending the COP26 summit, regarded as critical to averting the most disastrous effects of climate change.

    Erdogan had been expected to join them in Scotland after attending the G20 summit in Rome at the weekend, but instead landed back in Turkey shortly after midnight on Monday.

    Turkish media quoted him as telling reporters on his plane home that Ankara had made demands regarding security protocol standards for the summit in Britain which were not satisfied.

    “When our demands were not met we decided not to go to Glasgow,” Erdogan was quoted as saying. He said that the protocol standards Ankara sought were those always implemented on his international trips.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially said the problem had been resolved, Erdogan said. “But at the last moment he got back to us and said that the Scottish side was causing difficulties,” Turkish media quoted him as saying.

    Erdogan said he subsequently learnt that the measures Turkey had sought were granted as an exception to another country, which he did not name. He said this was unacceptable. “We are obliged to protect the dignity of our nation,” he said.

    A spokesman for Johnson said he would not get into the security arrangements for individuals.

    When asked what it meant for the prime minister’s hopes to get agreement on coal, the spokesman added: “We would’ve been pleased to see Erdogan attend in person. The prime minister will continue to seek to convince the Turkish government to do more and will do that at official level as well.”

     

    Vehicles, demands

    A spokesperson for the British government’s COP26 office declined to comment on security matters. Scotland police said they do not comment on VIP security.

    A senior Turkish official earlier told Reuters that British authorities had not met Turkey’s requests over security.

    “The president took such a decision because our demands regarding the number of vehicles for security and some other security-related demands were not fully met,” the official said.

    Erdogan had previously said he would meet U.S. President Joe Biden in Glasgow, but they met in Rome on Sunday.

    Last month, Turkey’s parliament ratified the 2015 Paris climate agreement, becoming the last G20 country to do so.

    Ankara had held off ratification for years, saying Turkey should not be classed as a developed country with reduced access to funding to support emissions cuts under the accord. It also said Turkey is historically responsible for a very small share of carbon emissions.

    Erdogan said last week Turkey had signed a memorandum of understanding under which it will get loans worth $3.2 billion to help it meet clean energy goals set out in the Paris accord.

    Other absentees from the Glasgow meeting include Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country is by far the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, one of the world’s top three oil producers.

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    Why is COP26 so important? Read the review in the first and the second part.

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