COP26 Live Updates: Biden says summit must be the kickoff to “a decade of ambition”
World leaders are traveling to Glasgow as the much-anticipated COP26 climate change summit gets underway, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning of a “one minute to midnight” moment in the fight against global warming and its catastrophic effects.
The hope is that the world’s wealthiest countries are able to strike a deal that dramatically cuts emissions, boosts renewable energy, and helps developing countries – many of which rely heavily on the coal industry – find a new source of energy and income.
Several leaders have already expressed doubts that a deal that meets the 1.5C global warming target will be reached, with many critical countries pledging action but so far refusing to make specific commitments.
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Biden calls for shift to clean energy during a ‘decisive decade’
U.S. President Joe Biden said we are in a “decisive decade” of “ambition and innovation” to fight climate change during his speech at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
“We meet with the eyes of history upon us and profound questions before us,” Biden said. “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? This is the decade that will determine the answer.”
He said climate change “it’s not a hypothetical,” as it is currently destroying lives, causing extreme natural weather events and costing nations billions of dollars.
Biden said we are “at an inflection point in world history,” where we must turn toward clean energy initiatives that will create jobs and bolster “economic resilience,” as outlined in his Build Back Better Framework.
“Every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases,” Biden said. “Let [the COP26 summit] be the start of a decade of transformative action.”
Disruptive demonstrations ‘expected across multiple locations’ in Glasgow ahead
Dr. Liana Semchuk, lead Europe and Eurasia analyst at Sibylline, told Newsweek that “a number of high-profile activist events” – including from Extinction Rebellion (XR) will take place today following the opening ceremony of COP26.
Demonstrations are expected across multiple locations in Glasgow, we anticipate that Millennium Bridge along the River Clyde will be a particular target of XR and other groups given its location near the SEC Centre. Amongst the other key events to watch today will be the arrival of XR’s Red Rebellion Brigade at Glasgow Central station, which will likely grab the headlines for the group’s red costumes and stunts.
Semchuk looked to Edinburgh for a major 10,000+ person protest for both climate justice and Scottish independence.
With over 10,000 participants expected, the rally will likely cause significant knock-on disruption and highlights the linkage between climate and pro-independence activism that is likely to be a recurring theme throughout the Glasgow summit. Finally, also in Edinburgh, protests are planned outside the Intercontinental Hotel from 5.30pm (1.30pm ET), protesting against the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and others. It is set to be only the first of many protests targeting world leaders throughout the summit.
‘A powerful moment’: Scotland’s leader gets selfie with Sir David Attenborough
Nicola Sturgeon called Sir David’s speech at the opening ceremony of COP26 “a powerful moment” and backed his calls for urgent action on climate change.
David Attenborough calls on leaders to reverse the impacts of climate change
David Attenborough delivered a powerful speech at the COP26 summit, urging leaders to be motivated “not be fear, but hope” to reverse the effects of climate change.
“The people most affected by climate change are no longer some imagined future generation, but young people alive today, perhaps that will give us the impetus we need to rewrite our story, to turn this tragedy into a triumph,” he said.
Attenborough said that we are capable of tackling this issue because we are “the greatest problem solvers to have ever existed on Earth.”
“We now understand this problem, we know how to stop the number rising and put them in reverse,” he said. “If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilize our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it.”
Barbados Prime Minister advocates for those on the ‘front lines’ of climate change
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amore Mottley called on world leaders to “try harder” to combat the immediate impacts of climate change affecting countries around the world.
“When will leaders lead?” she asked during her speech at the COP26 summit, telling G7 and G20 leaders that this is a “code red” situation.
Mottley advocated for people “living on the front line” of the present “catastrophic” effects of climate change in the Caribbean, Africa, Latin American and the Pacific.
“Our people are watching and our people are taking note,” she said. “Are we so blinded we can no longer appreciate the cries of humanity?”
She added that keeping the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is “what we need to survive” and reaching 2 degrees “is a death sentence.”
“We don’t want a death sentence,” she said. “Try harder The planet needs our action now.”
Kenya COP26 representative’s heartfelt plea to world leaders
The rep told the conference that her country is already suffering the impact of climate change.
Right now, as we sit comfortably in this conference hall, over two million of my fellow Kenyans are facing climate-related starvation. In this past year, both of our rainy seasons have failed and it may be another 12 months before the water returns again. Our harvests are failing, our stores are empty, our animals and people are dying.
She warned leaders “the decisions you make here will help determine whether children will have food and water” and said they cannot “live on words and empty promises”.
WATCH: Girl holds ‘Save Our Planet’ sign in window
The young girl pushed the sign up against the window of a building next to where thousands of COP26 delegates were queuing.
Prince Charles calls for ‘vast military-style campaign’ to beat climate change
The Prince of Wales, speaking to COP26, emphasized the importance of collaboration between governments and the private sector.
We know this will take trillions, not billions, of dollars. We also know that countries may of whom are burdened by growing level of debt simply cannot afford to go green. Here we need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector with trillions at our disposal, far beyond global GDP, and – with the greatest respect – beyond even the governments of the world’s leaders.
UN General Secretary: ‘Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink’
Antonio Gueterres said the world faces “a stark choice” and accused countries of “treating nature like a toilet”.
Either we stop it or it stops us. It’s time to say enough of brutalising biodiversity is killing ourselves with carbon, we are treating nature like a toilet.
Amazon tribeswoman tells COP26 ‘indigenous peoples are on the frontline of the community’
A representative of an Amazon rainforest tribe said leaders are “closing your eyes to reality” and called on them to listen to those most connected to nature.
My father taught me that we must listen to the stars, the moon, the wind, the animals, and the trees. Today the climate is warming, the animals are disappearing, the rivers are dying, and our plants don’t flower like they used to before. The earth is speaking – she tells us we have no more time.
‘If we fail, they will not forgive us’: British PM warns world leaders
In a nod to future generations, Boris Johnson said they would be “right” to hold contempt for world leaders if they fail to reach a deal.
We mustn’t fluff our lines or miss our cue, because if we fail, they will not forgive us. They will know that Glasgow was the…