(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 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
Nov 08, 5:23 pm
Obama addresses COP26, endorses Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ bill
During his speech at Monday’s COP26 events, former President Barack Obama shined a spotlight on the upcoming midterm elections and called upon young Americans to consider climate when deciding how to vote.
“Saving the planet isn’t a partisan issue,” Obama said, frustrated over the divided government.
Obama endorsed President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill and drew a comparison to when “one of our two major parties” made climate change a partisan issue back during his tenure.
On climate change, Obama harkened back to the Paris Agreement, saying, “We have not done nearly enough to address the crisis.”
He called for countries to push for ambitious action and acknowledged that while older generations have failed the young, they “can’t afford hopelessness.”
Addressing the youth participating in protests outside COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the former president encouraged them to get more involved to deal with their anxiety over climate change.
“Protests are necessary to raise awareness. Hashtag campaigns can spread awareness,” Obama said. “But to build the broad-based coalitions necessary for bold action, we have to persuade people who either currently don’t agree with us or are indifferent to the issue.”
Nov 05, 1:23 pm
Greta Thunberg leads youth activist march
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, 18, was among thousands of young people demonstrating outside of COP26.
Thunberg spoke at the Fridays for Future march, the group she founded in 2018, criticizing politicians and labeling the conference as a “failure.”
“It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place,” Thunberg said.
Many of the demonstrators who spoke to ABC News said they attended the rally to see Thunberg speak.
Some demonstrators said they did not trust their leaders to create real change but were encouraged to see how many other young people were fighting for climate action.
Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate, 24, also spoke at the protest, where she said Africa was experiencing some of the harshest effects from climate change.
Nakate said she envisions a future when “the world is green again.”
ABC News’ Maggie Rulli
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