CoP26 daily diary: All the latest news and events from EIA at the UN climate summit in Glasgow

Welcome to EIA’s daily news updates from the UN CoP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

Check back daily for the latest updates …

 

 

Friday, 12 November

EIA Climate Campaigner Sophie Geoghegan in the Action Zone

The end is fast approaching and it doesn’t look as if this CoP will finish tonight as there is a still a lot of negotiating to be done, especially on finance.

 

Ambition lacking as fossil fuel language is diluted

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has criticised the lack of ambition at CoP26 and urged an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

Stopping fossil fuel subsidies was included in a draft but appears to have been watered down, with the wording changed to end ‘inefficient’ fossil fuel subsidies (you could, of course, argue that all fossil fuel subsidies are inefficient).

The coal phase-out language has also been changed to address only unabated coal, ie coal from plants which don’t have processes or technology to reduce emissions. This is not very ambitious and definitely not enough to keep 1.5C alive, although it is still a big step that references to coal and fossil fuels have remained in at all.

However, the new draft text does now strike a better balance between mitigation and adaptation, requesting countries to double adaptation finance by the end of 2025, although there’s nothing on making up the shortfall of the $100 billion a year promised from 2020 that has yet to materialise. Text has also remained on requesting nations to increase their pledges again in 2022, although there needs to be stronger language committing countries to this.

Let’s hope the text can be significantly strengthened today to fully address the urgent need for ambitious action.

 

Going beyond fossil fuels

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) was officially launched on Thursday by Costa Rica and Denmark.

The alliance aims to phase out oil and gas production and has been joined by a handful of countries (France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden and Wales) and sub-national governments (Quebec) – a lot of eyes have been on Scotland to see if it will join as well.

Others, including California, New Zealand and Italy, have shown support but have not joined as ‘full members’.

 

Cooling issues

There were two events on cooling at the CoP yesterday. France launched its new cooling report, which highlights various cooling projects it is undertaking both domestically and internationally.

The second focused on being bold on cooling, with speakers from Ghana, the Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank and the Green Climate Fund as well as a Montreal Protocol expert Ashley Woodcock.

Ashley spoke of the need for all countries to operationalise the Kigali Amendment and begin phasing down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants as soon as possible. Kofi Agyarko, from the Energy Commission Ghana, urged EU manufacturers to stop dumping their ‘zombie’ cooling equipment in Africa – equipment which is inefficient and uses highly climate-damaging HFCs – products that cannot be sold in the EU.

There was also a lot of talk on heat pumps (but not of the refrigerant inside them) at the launch of the Clean Heat Forum, with speakers from the UK, Scotland, Jordan, Prague, the European Heat Pump Association and Octopus Energy. Decarbonising heating is vitally important to combat climate change as heating accounts for a quarter of emissions in the UK.

EIA joined 400-plus other civil society organisations to sign the Glasgow Emergency Pact called for by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). The CVF is hoping to get the Pact included in the official outcome of CoP26.

We also joined other organisations in submitting a statement to include the need to reduce methane emissions in the CoP agreement.

 

Protestors outside the CoP26 venue

Coming up today

Friday will see the People’s Plenary held in the morning, followed by a number of civil society organisations marching from the plenary to join marchers outside the venue – this is not a walk-out but a show of solidarity between those campaigning inside and those outside the official CoP26 venue.

It may be the last chance to make the people’s voice heard before negotiations conclude.

 

Thursday, 11 November

Planes, ships and automobiles

Transports of climate delight – a bamboo bicycle at CoP26

Wednesday was the day of transport in which shipping, aviation and electric vehicles dominated the conversations in the pavilions rather than walking, cycling and public transport.

Nevertheless, there were still a couple of good sessions on walkable ’15-minute cities’ and actions being taken by mayors to improve cycling in their cities to connect people to nature, make people proud of their cities and reduce emissions.

Several car firms and 24 countries committed to stop selling fossil fuel cars by 2040 and by 2035 in some countries, although a few of the countries included had already agreed to end petrol and diesel car sales by 2030 and many major car manufacturing companies did not sign up.

 

Life’s a gas

A session was also held on how actions to tackle refrigerant gases can contribute to climate goals.

The event was run by Japan, alongside Vietnam and Rwanda, and one of the world’s first Chief Heat Officers from Milan. All highlighted various measures to cut climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) use and emissions, including through phase-downs under the Kigali Amendment and life cycle management with coordinated reclaim and destruction or reuse of these gases at the end of the life of equipment.

 

Frans Timmermans, speaking, with EIA’s Tim Grabiel, second left, and others

The push for greater ambition

EIA joined other European NGOs in a meeting with Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and member of the European Parliament, to push for increased EU ambition and leadership in the final push at CoP as European Parties are chairing many of the outstanding negotiations.

The two biggest emitters, China and the US, announced plans to work together on climate change, including co-operation on cutting methane emissions and decreasing/ending coal production.

Hopefully, this will create the momentum needed to push through ambitious decisions over the final couple of days.

EIA added its voice to those of other NGOs to demand more action and that necessary provisions on methane be included in the CoP cover letter.

 

Youth call for climate emergency declaration

Youth climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, have filed a petition with the UN Secretary-General to declare a “system-wide climate emergency” akin to the UN response to COVID-19.

 

Conflicting projections

Grassroots activist group The Gastivists engaged in a projection fight last night when they projected slogans onto the CoP26 Blue Zone venue, including “Clean gas is a dirty lie” and “Cut methane now”.

In an attempt to take back control, the official projectionists tried to add colours and patterns to their own projections, which only added to the aesthetics of the protest projections.

Eventually, the official projectionist projected the words “Go away” repeatedly onto the venue over the protest slogans.

 

Refrigeration graveyard

On the walk from our accommodation to the venue yesterday, we spotted a graveyard for old commercial refrigeration equipment – and couldn’t help but wonder if the refrigerant gas in these was disposed of correctly.

 

Coming up today

We are approaching the end of CoP26. Thursday is the day of cities, regions and the built environment, with a couple of good sessions on reducing cooling demand in cities which are heating at twice the rate of other areas.

From what we have heard so far in panel sessions, cities and mayors seem to be the ones walking the talk, so we are looking forward to a day of hearing big ideas and ambitious projects.

And tune in to BBC Inside Science on Radio 4 at 4pm to hear our Climate Campaigner Sophie Geoghegan discuss how the HFC phase-down contributes to climate goals and why natural refrigerant propane air-conditioners are the best choice if you need to have air-con at home.

 

Wednesday, 10 November

Women and climate change

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Tuesday’s dual focus was on Gender issues and Science and Innovation – but the majority of sessions were about science and technology, despite women being disproportionately affected by climate change.

Some 80 per cent of those displaced by the climate crisis are women and girls. Nevertheless, the day was filled with lots of businesses talking about clean tech and clean tech financing.

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the day’s big star and there was quite a lot of buzz about her being in the venue, with many managing to bag a selfie with her.

Nancy Pelosi, US Speaker of the House of Representatives, talked in the plenary about the importance of putting women and girls at the centre of the climate fight.

 

Refrigerant gases in the spotlight

Alexander von Bismarck, of EIA US, speaks about refrigerants

The US Pavilion hosted the first session explicitly about refrigerant gases to talk about Securing the Climate Benefits of the Global HFC Phasedown: Preventing Illegal Trade in HFCs.

The EU, Japan and Canada were on the panel to discuss their domestic experiences and initiatives. They were joined by an industry representative and our EIA US colleague Alexander von Bismarck, who spoke about EIA investigations into the illegal production and trade of fluorinated gases.

Speaking of the climate benefits of the fluorinated gas phase-down, EIA’s Climate Team published the new briefing Saving the Planet by Degrees on Tuesday, highlighting the important climate role the Montreal Protocol has already played and will continue to play with increased political and financial investment.

 

A chilling reminder

Our campaigners at CoP26 eventually tracked down the piece of melting iceberg transported to the event to help focus minds on the crisis – apparently just in time as it has already halved in size since its arrival from a Greenland beach.

The four-tonne chunk of ice was transported by supermarket chain Iceland in a shipping container and then by truck from Hull, a journey that will undoubtedly have involved refrigerants to keep the iceberg frozen throughout; however, the representative we spoke to didn’t have any information about what kind of refrigerant gas was used.

 

A reality check

After the surprising and optimistic outlook of the International Energy Agency (IEA) last week which calculated that new pledges and Nationally Determined Contributions would keep us on track for just 1.8°C of warming, Tuesday brought us back down to reality.

Carbon Action Tracker warned that, when looking at the near term goals and pledges and the actual actions of countries, we are heading for catastrophic warming of 2.4°C – achieving 1.8°C is based on the optimistic assumption that governments will meet their long-term targets, which are still not ambitious enough.

And we still need to keep firmly in mind that warming over 1.5°C could trigger irreversible climate change and breach climate tipping points.

We were also told in a Washington Post article that countries’ pledges are built on flawed data which vastly underestimates actual emissions from various sectors. An examination of 196 country reports shows a huge gap between what nations declare versus their actual emissions. The gap ranges from at least 8.5 billion tonnes per year of underreported emissions to as high as 13.3 billion tonnes a year.

 

A reminder of what’s at stake from the Tuvalu Pavilion

The ticking clock at CoP26

The presidency has repeatedly stated that the CoP will end on time this Friday, but many in the venue are skeptical given how little is still known with regard to where many of the texts to be agreed currently stand.

If the conference runs over the end time, there is a big risk that many delegates will have to leave and won’t be present at the final hurdle. There is also concern that some decisions will be rushed to end in time and so will miss out important elements as a result.

A draft CoP26 agreement has been circulated and there is only a brief mention of a coal phase-out and fossil fuel subsidies  –and nothing on the fossil fuel phase-out needed to get on track for 1.5°C.

Extinction Rebellion started a 24-hour vigil outside JP Morgan Chase, the biggest bank investor in fossil fuels. And ‘Blood Money’ has been spray-painted onto Santander’s building in Glasgow

 

Coming up today

Today is themed as the Day of Transport; road transport accounts for 10 per cent of global emissions and these are rising faster than in any other sector. A shift to zero-emission vehicles is already under way, creating new jobs, bringing cleaner air to cities and increasingly cutting the costs of car ownership – but to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, this transition needs to happen much more quickly and must include vans, buses, trucks and lorries as well as cars.

UK PM Boris Johnson is due to return to CoP26 for a one-day morale boost and to try to get some additional ambition from Parties and hoping to add some momentum to the talks as the deadline looms.

This time, thankfully, he will at least be taking the train …

 

Tuesday, 9 November

Recap of Friday and Saturday

EIA on the youth march

Friday was the day of youth – but all of the youth were on the Fridays For Future Climate March with our Forests team, demanding urgent action from world leaders and negotiators and no more empty promises.

Back in the Blue Zone at a session on methane in the EU Pavilion, the US announced it would join the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) and European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson announced that upcoming EU methane legislation would include a ban on routine venting and flaring – great news all around!

On Saturday, after a long first week full of big pledges and declarations but very few concrete actions or plans, the mood was definitely low in the Blue Zone. But the Climate March on Saturday changed that – seeing thousands of people take to the streets of Glasgow (with some excellent placards) injected some much-needed hope.

To sum up the mood of the march, people will hold their leaders accountable for the outcome of CoP26, now is the time for urgency and ambition … and no more “blah, blah, blah”.

Some 21 activists from Scientist Rebellion were arrested over the weekend for blocking a bridge but gathered on Monday to continue their protest, although outside of the city centre from which they had been banned.

 

Monday

Tim Grabiel, right, on methane panel

Tim Grabiel, our Senior Lawyer, took to the stage in the Methane Pavilion to discuss building the methane movement and what needs to happen now that the methane pledge has been joined.

He spoke about building a methane Movement in Europe and around the world and made the case for a new global agreement to reduce methane emissions building on the successful model of the Montreal Protocol.

To find out more about this issue, read our briefing Delivering on the Global Methane Pledge.

On the main stage, Barack Obama criticised China and Russia for their absence and inaction and called on world leaders to step up, but the event was ticketed and highly restricted, so many youth not allowed entry despite Obama having a specific message for them and coming to Glasgow to engage in talks with young people.

Tim with Mali Minister Modibo calling for his continued leadership on issues of methane and plastic pollution

Not everyone could get to see the main attraction (Obama) as he was speaking at the same time as one of the few events on cooling when a panel, hosted by Ashden, discussed how to make cooling a development priority.

Panelists spoke of their projects, which included educating women in informal settlements in India on ways to cool the inside of their home through shading, painting their roofs, adding ventilation and city and village redesigns to reduce temperatures in Egypt.

There were many other stories and powerful messages from the frontline of climate change as Monday was ‘Loss and Damage and Adaptation’ day. Those from the countries and communities hit hardest are demanding that other nations finally follow through on discussions of loss and damage finance – we are already living in the time of loss and damage as a result of climate change, but the money has yet to materialise.

The biggest irony of the day was attending a great panel on the ‘smoke and mirrors’ aspect of ‘net zero’ to hear how most companies are using the term to simply greenwash their credentials, with no meaningful plans to reduce emissions until 2050 where they will heavily rely on offsets. A few hours later in the same room, a panel of business leaders stood on the stage and proudly boasted about their net-zero pledges all of which relied hugely on offsets …

It also came to light that fossil fuel delegates represent the biggest delegation at CoP26, with 503 representatives of oil, gas and coal firms. That is bigger than any country delegation and is absolutely terrible – but not altogether surprising.

Blue Zone protest against the huge delegation representing oil, gas and coal firms

 

Due up today

Tuesday is day of gender and also technology, which seems weird to give gender only half a day considering that climate change disproportionately affects women.

There is also an EIA/ Environmental Protection Agency event on refrigerant gases and illegal trade, at which our EIA US colleagues will be speaking.

 

Friday, 5 November

Fatih Birol

Grounds for a little optimism?

Yesterday, the tone of speeches turned to one of cautious optimism, but the emphasis should definitely still be on ‘cautious’.

We have heard news of many promising pledges and changes, but without action to follow these up we are still heading for much too much warming. We need action to follow these messages swiftly to curb climate change.

Fatih Birol, of the International Energy Agency, has crunched the new numbers – if the new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the Methane Pledge are factored into the modelling, we are on a trajectory for a temperature rise of 1.8°C.

Huge news – but we can’t celebrate until we see how these NDCs and pledges will be met and we see emissions start to decrease rapidly.

 

The UK’s energy efficiency event

Energy efficiency

In the UK Pavilion, we heard the announcement of 14 countries answering the call for action to improve product efficiency, set by the UK Government and the International Energy Agency.

These 14 countries will look to double the efficiency of fridges, air-conditioners, motors and lighting by 2030. If they are successful, this could avoid 880 megatonnes of CO2 each year.

Hopefully, more countries answer this call to action, as air-conditioning use is set to triple worldwide by 2050.

Furthermore, issues of energy access and access to cooling must be considered, as well as the environmental impact of the refrigerant gases inside this equipment, and countries must look to leapfrog to natural refrigerants.

 

It’s not a party if the Parties don’t show

CoP26 President Alok Sharma and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Patricia Espinosa held an open dialogue between observers and parties.

We heard some great and moving speeches from some of the organisations representing youth, indigenous people, women, farmers, conservationists and researchers, among others.

Many spoke of the access issues facing observers, while others focused on the urgent need for loss and damage finance to be agreed to here in Glasgow.

The main messages were that Parties need to act now and ambitiously because there is no time to waste and the people of the world are relying on their leaders to act. As great as the speeches were, there was one problem – the Parties hadn’t turned up; only three were in the room and only one (the EU) spoke in response to what he had heard …

 

Al Gore

These boots were made for talking

Al Gore wore some fetching cowboy boots as he told countries that “we need more and we need it faster”.

 

Coming up today:

We are almost halfway through the meeting and for many people this will be their last day at CoP26.

Today is the day of Youth and Public Empowerment and the youth are taking to the streets. An expected 10,000+ people will be marching through Glasgow – joined by our Forests Team!

EIA Forests Team and Kaoem Telapak campaigners at the youth march

 

Thursday, 4 November

Voices From the Forests get a hearing

Yesterday, along with partners If Not Us Then Who? and Rainforest Foundation UK, EIA’s Forests Team presented our official CoP26 film event Voices from the Forest.

Three uplifting and inspiring films and panel discussions showcased to a capacity audience at Glasgow’s IMAX how hope, partnership and innovation can change laws, strengthen customary land rights and protect forests.

The films and speakers highlighted the critical role played by indigenous and local peoples in the protection and maintenance of forests worldwide, the steps being taken to reinforce their rights and the many ongoing threats they face from mining, illegal logging, land-grabs and palm oil plantations.

EIA and Kaoem Telapak forests campaigners at the film showcase

Rainforest Foundation UK’s film Our Forest, Our Land and Prince Lungungu, a lawyer from DR Congo emphasised how new legal frameworks in that country are empowering the mapping of customary land tenure and how communities managed lands keep forests standing and support climate change mitigation.

If Not Us Then Who?’s Homecoming, filmed by indigenous people in Indonesia, showed us the power of the future – how indigenous youth groups are mobilising and moving back to their indigenous lands from cities – specifically, how their determination and creativity have sparked hopeful transformations, from setting up 82 indigenous schools, which has won them an award from the Ministry of Culture and Education, to growing bountiful organic food in previously degraded lands and ecotourism.

As Mina Setra of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in Indonesia (AMAN) noted, their homecoming has not only provided new streams of income, but also revived the spirit of these communities.

Jonathan Watts

Jonathan Watts, Global Environmental Editor of The Guardian, hosted the event and reflected poignantly on how important it is to have such voices from insider indigenous and local communities showcased to the rest of the world, instead of the more common approach of outsiders looking in.

Excerpts from EIA’s new film Indonesia: The Fight for the Remaining Forest underlined how a 22-year partnership between EIA and Kaoem Telapak has transformed forest protection across Indonesia.

Cautious hope was expressed by the Knasaimos people of West Papua, but concerns were also raised from Kinipan village in Kalimantan, where palm oil expansion is still leading to land grabs, deforestation and the erosion of community rights.

Alec Dawson launches the event at the IMAX

Mardi ‘Minang’ Minangsari, of EIA and of Kaoem Telapak, gave an overview of how the new Omnibus law in Indonesia potentially threatens social and environmental policies while promoting investment and development and, further, how poor governance and corruption is at the root of the problem. Moreover, both the film and she made plain how the landmark EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and Voluntary Partnership Agreement/ SVLK certification have enabled greater transparency and the participation and monitoring of these policies by civil society organisations.

As the EU and UK move toward creating additional new laws to ensure that international trade in forest risk commodities such as palm oil, beef or soy do not cause deforestation and human rights abuses, such demand side measures must also build support for governance reforms.

Minang also acknowledged the indigenous forest defenders of Myanmar, who could not join us for the event as they fight for their lives in the aftermath of February’s violent coup.

If you missed our event, the full livestream is available to view now on YouTube.

 

In other CoP26 news …

Observers were finally granted access to the other half of the event venue after being kept well away from the negotiations area and the heads of state.

However, access is still not absolute and negotiations are still off-limits, with very little of what has been going on being shown on screens in the venue. Observers have been mostly milling around the Pavilion zones and observing each other while complaining that they would have a better understanding of what was going on at the CoP if they were at home on their laptops.

Wednesday was finance day and the big news was the pledge by 20 countries to end finance for fossil fuel projects overseas and to instead use the money ($8 billion a year) for green energy. The UK, US, Denmark and Costa Rica are some of those who have signed up, along with the European Investment Bank.

Big fossil fuel funders were notably absent and those who did join can still fund oil and gas projects in their own countries.

The Nordic Pavilion beats the heat

An event in the Nordic Pavilion highlighted ways that cities can ‘Beat the Heat’ thanks to a new handbook of actions and policies to build better cities and buildings that are more resilient to rising temperatures, especially in cities which are warming twice as fast as surrounding suburbs.

Discussions on cooling are few and far between at the CoP, despite cooling being responsible for 10 per cent of global emissions.

Sophie Geoghegan, EIA Climate Campaigner, ventured to the Green Zone for the first time (open to the general public but heavily ticketed and mostly sold out) and was very disappointed. She’d expected wall-to-wall activities, lively crowds and discussions of climate change solutions …

Instead, she found that the downstairs houses some very swanky booths of greenwashing, for the most part, from some of the key sponsors of CoP26. Upstairs there are some more much smaller booths for various organisations, but nothing to seize the imagination or inspire, which is probably why the entire venue was so quiet, except for the café which was where everyone seemed to be.

For an excellent thread highlighting some of the many access issues being faced by observers, people of colour, indigenous people, people with disabilities, women and young people, check out this Twitter thread.

Sophie reported: “This is my first CoP, but everyone I’ve spoken to has bemoaned the absolute lack of inclusion on show at this one.”

 

Coming up today – Energy Day

The UK Government is planning a big event to showcase its Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative to double the energy efficiency of many household appliances (including fridges and air-conditioners) – expect a lot of talk of just energy transition and new green jobs in renewable energy.

 

Wednesday, 3 November

 A moment for methane!

The ‘methane moment’ is officially here, with 105 countries (representing 70 per cent of global GDP and 50 per cent of methane emissions) signing up to the methane pledge to cut global methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

Joe Biden launches the methane pledge

Many world leaders spoke at yesterday’s event including US President Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Argentina President Alberto Fernández and South Korea President Moon Jae-in.

Von der Leyen spoke of the upcoming European Commission legislation on methane which will deal with monitoring, reporting and verification, venting, flaring, leak detection and repair (unfortunately nothing on the need to apply all of these measures across the entire supply chain)!

She also spoke about EU support for an independent methane observatory because “only what gets measured gets done”.

Meaningful action on methane will curb climate change and temperature rise, avoiding premature deaths, asthma and crop losses by reducing ground-level ozone.

Ursula von der Leyen

In his speech, US President Biden reiterating that this is the decisive decade to keep the target of a 1.5°C rise in reach by reducing methane emissions. Leonardo DiCaprio was also in the audience to hear him …

Canada PM Trudeau went a step further when he took the podium and pledged that Canada, as a major oil and gas producer, will be the first to reduce oil and gas methane emissions by 75 per cent, according to International Energy Agency  (IEA) recommendations. He also called for other oil and gas producing nations to follow suit.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, while waiting for the late arrival of Von der Leyen and Biden to the methane event spoke of the new Japanese finance pledge for an additional $10 billion funding for developing nations to address the issue.

 

Voices from the Forests

Today at 3pm GMT, we and our partners If Not Us Then Who and Rainforest Foundation UK are presenting Voices From the Forests, a film showcase and panel you can join from home!

Part of the official CoP26 programme, the event will highlight the role of local communities and partnerships in forest protection around the world and will be streamed live from the IMAX cinema in Glasgow, hosted and moderated by Jonathan Watts, Global Environmental Editor at The Guardian.

The showcase will feature selections from EIA’s new film Indonesia: The Fight for the Remaining Forest as well as If Not Us Then Who’s new short Homecoming, filmed by indigenous people in Indonesia, and Rainforest Foundation’s Our Forest, Our Land.

Tune in to watch the livestream on YouTube.

 

Tuesday, 2 November

The good

David Attenborough

Yesterday’s high-level speech by David Attenborough was naturally amazing and hit the right mix of doom and hope – in his lifetime, he has seen the damage and destruction caused to the planet, in our lifetimes we can see the success. “Let’s turn this tragedy into a story of success,” he urged.

The speech by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley was exceptional and set the tone for CoP26, warning that inaction is a death sentence for the Global South and especially small island nations. Developed nations need to commit to big finance goals or this is the end for many nations – $500 billion for 20 years is needed, not the $50 billion proposed. “We want to exist 100 years from now” and “2°C is a death sentence” to many nations, so the world needs to get off “the path of greed and selfishness that sows the seeds of our common destruction”.

Mia Mottley

Pavilions at CoP26 are in full swing, with bursting programmes covering everything climate-related under the sun – one amusing irony is that the methane pavilion is directly next to the (seemingly deserted) Russian pavilion.

 

The bad

Our campaigners queued for an hour to get into the building but spoke to others who were stood outside for two hours! While we were outside, the wind picked up and the massive CoP26 banner hanging from the crane above the venue half fell down – an omen of what’s to come? The crowd seemed to think so…

Prince Charles missed the mark with his speech, going down the classically British route and using emotive ‘war’ language, but then essentially putting the responsibility for curbing the climate disaster on the private sector and industry, therefore absolving governments of the blame … handy for Boris Johnson, who lounged in the audience looking dishevelled and glum.

 

The ugly

There was disappointment in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that his country will commit to net zero but not until 2070 – 20 years later than other nations and far, far too late.

The single-use plastics we found all around the venue – lots of water bottles.

Quite a few missing masks and a lot of handshakes and hugs, despite strict COVID protocols – get ready for the ‘CoP variant’.

The motorcade of leaders leaving the venue was almost exclusively comprised of giant, gas guzzling SUVs – at least make an effort to be seen to give a damn!

 

Coming up today

The big methane pledge and there was a lot of progress on Monday. The day began with 35 countries on board and now stands at 80 – expect a lot of fanfare for this.

High level speeches continue on day two of the World Leader’s Summit.

 

The Fight for the Forest: In the countdown to CoP26, EIA was proud to support a special event on Saturday to give indigenous peoples in Myanmar speak out about the threats to the forest following February’s military coup.

An escalation in armed conflict in the country has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and put new pressures on the forests as the junta attempted to consolidate its control.

Saturday’s panel discussion saw brave indigenous leaders from across Myanmar speak out on both the challenges they face and the ways in which the international community can support the struggles of indigenous people to protect forests.

Our Forests campaigners followed up the event on Monday when they staged a public demonstration to highlight the problems with teak imported from Myanmar.