COP26 latest news LIVE: We must protect forests, says Boris Johnson as Leonardo DiCaprio spotted

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LIVE – Updated at 15:04

© REUTERS COP26 in Glasgow

President Joe Biden has announced a “game-changing” pledge to cut global methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

It is one of the most potent gases and is responsible for a third of current warming from humans.

Meanwhile, more than 100 world leaders backed a “landmark agreement” to end deforestation by 2030 in the first major deal of the COP26 conference.

Jair Bolsonaro and Xi Jinping are among global leaders who will commit to the declaration on Tuesday to help protect vast areas from land-clearing, which significantly contributes to emissions.

Follow the latest updates below

Solar energy key to powering planet, says Modi

15:04 , Daniel Keane

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has hailed the transformative power of solar energy.

He told delegates: “Energy from the sun is completely clean and sustainable.

“The only challenge is that this is only available during the day and dependent on weather conditions.

“The One Sun, One World and One Grid initiative is the only solution for this challenge.

“A worldwide grid will enable us to provide energy to all countries. This creative initiative will not only reduce our carbon footprint, it will also open up new avenues for cooperation between different countries.”

Boris hails ‘Promethean power of human invention’

15:00 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has begun his speech hailing the “Promethean power of human invention” that has enabled the creation of green technology.

He said: “I think we can crack the problems on climate change and technology.

“For me there are five key areas where technology can help: transport, hydrogen, steel, agriculture and power generation.

“You may not like the weather in the UK – certainly it hasn’t been up to Kenyan standards – but there are many days where we produce up to 50 per cent of our energy from renewables.

“What we need is the support and the finance to share this across the world.”

Clean technology panel begins

14:52 , Daniel Keane

Dana Strong, the chief executive of Sky, has opened this afternoon’s clean technology panel.

Prince William and Boris Johnson are expected to address the crowd, as well as business leaders.

Sturgeon says steps taken at summit are ‘positive’

14:38 , Daniel Keane

Nicola Sturgeon has said the steps taken in the first days of the COP26 summit are “positive”.

Scotland’s first minister told reporters there was a “sense of momentum” from the beginning of the talks after two major announcements on deforestation and methane emissions.

“I think all of these steps forward are positive and I think it’s really important to retain a sense of optimism and forward momentum,” she said.

“I think it’s really important … to look at the announcements that are being made at the moment and assess the extent to which they move forward from commitments that had already been made, or are they re-statements of commitments?

“I think yesterday there was a sense of momentum but where that momentum will take us over the next couple of weeks remains to be seen.”

© Provided by Evening Standard (AP)

Boris Johnson calls 5pm conference

14:25 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson will give a press conference at the COP26 summit today.

The PM is expected to field questions from journalists about the string of significant announcements made at the conference.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman earlier struck a positive tone about the direction of the conference, hailing the “big breakthrough” on deforestation.

He said: “While there’s a long two weeks ahead of us and a good deal to nail down, some of the commitments we’ve seen over the last day and a half are very encouraging and building that momentum.”

COP26 is ‘Paris moment’ for forests, says expert

14:13 , Daniel Keane

A climate expert has branded today’s announcement to end deforestation a “Paris moment” for forests, in reference to the climate accords agreed in the French capital.

Yadviner Malhi, professor of ecosystem science at the University of Oxford, said: “In Paris in 2016 the world’s leaders committed to recognise the concept of net-zero, to draw a line in the sand around how much greenhouse gases can be allowed into the atmosphere.

“Now in Glasgow they have committed to a similar aspiration for deforestation and land degradation, to stop and start reversing these by 2030.”

Labour MP proposes wet wipe ban

13:56 , Daniel Keane

A Labour MP is proposing a new law to ban all wet wipes that contain plastic.

Putney MP Fleur Anderson’s Bill to prohibit the manufacture and sale of wet wipes containing plastic will have its first reading on Tuesday.

“As a mother of four children, I completely understand the pressures that parents are under and the difficulties that can bring when trying to cut down on plastic and make the right choices for the environment,” Ms Anderson said.

“I know that parents want to do the right things and all I am saying is that we can make it easier on them and on everyone who relies on the use of wet wipes every day.

“Everyone should bin and not flush wet wipes, but, either way, they contain plastic which gets in the environment and kills wildlife.”

According to the MP, 90 per cent of the 11 billion wet wipes that are used in the UK each year contain some form of plastic which, when broken down, turn into microplastics which can be ingested by wildlife.

13:49 , Elly Blake

Canadian PM says no achievable way to reach 1.5C goal without slashing methane emissions

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, says: “We all want to build a cleaner and healthier future for our kids.

“That means taking real climate action.”

He tells Cop26 there’s no achievable global pathway to reach the 1.5C target “without deep cuts to methane over the next decade”.

13:42 , Elly Blake

US President Joe Biden says methane “one of the most potent greenhouse gases there is”

The US President described the pledge to cut global methane emissions as a “game-changing commitment”.

He says one of the most important things we can do is to keep 1.5 degrees in reach and reduce methane emissions “as quickly as possible”.

Mr Biden said the collective agreement to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 had been signed up to by nearly 100 nations.

He also announced two initiatives that would see the US cut its individual methane emissions.

13:36 , Elly Blake

Ursula von der Leyen is on stage with US President Joe Biden to announce pledge on methane emissions

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has said “we need big structural changes” to meet climate neutrality by 2050 but the world “cannot wait” until then.

Cutting methane emissions is one of the most effective things we can do to prevent global warming, she told the climate summit.

Ms von der Leyen has announced the ‘Global Methane Pledge’ to cut global methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030.

More than 80 countries have signed up.

13:14 , Elly Blake

Police sorry after women walk through dark park as parts of city cordoned off for Cop26 reception

Police have apologised after women were forced to walk through a dark park while part of Glasgow was cordoned off for a reception for world leaders and the Royal family at Cop26.

Diversions were put in place around Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow on Monday evening.

Local residents told how they were forced to take long detours through the park to reach their homes due to road closures, with one person describing coming across a young student in tears because she had to walk through the park alone.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “We understand and apologise for the concern these changes caused and for the inconvenience to those diverted.

“We do, in particular, recognise and acknowledge the commentary from some women who had to walk through the park on their own last night, we want to keep everyone safe and we know that the onus is on us to recognise when we could provide some more support and visibility to reassure people in our communities.

“The diversion is no longer in place and there are no plans to reintroduce it.”

13:00 , Elly Blake

Prince Charles speaks to indigenous leaders at Cop26

© Provided by Evening Standard (REUTERS)

The Prince of Wales has been speaking to indigenous leaders at the climate change summit in Glasgow.

Speaking to the summit on Tuesday, he warned it was “a real matter of priority and justice” to safeguard and “honour” the rights of the local communities who depend on the forest.

Long queues hit conference on second day

12:51 , Daniel Keane

Cop26 has suffered a second day of queues, with those trying to get into the venue waiting outside for more than an hour.

A large crowd had built up by 9am as people sought to enter the conference campus in Glasgow.

By midday hundreds of people were still queuing outside.

Each person attending Cop26 must show proof of a negative coronavirus test and their accreditation ID before they can pass through turnstiles into the campus.

‘Stop playing games’, says organiser of Squid Game protest

12:36 , Daniel Keane

The organiser of this morning’s Squid Game-themed protest has said the “time for climate games is over”.

“World leaders need to agree a plan to keep warming well below 1.5 degrees Celsius and put up money to fund a just transition across the global south,” says Andrew Nazdin, director of the Glasgow Actions Team.

Malcolm White of the Glasgow Actions Team, dressed as Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said: “We’re here playing the Squid Game in order to highlight that the climate leaders are playing games with the planet.

“They’re here, they’re using lots of rhetoric, but they’re not actually, so far, engaging with the discussion process at the level which we think is in keeping with the climate crisis we are all facing.”

Leonardo DiCaprio spotted in Glasgow

12:25 , Daniel Keane

Leonardo DiCaprio has been spotted in Glasgow following weeks of speculation about whether he would attend the COP26 conference.

The Hollywood actor was seen entering the SEC building for the conference wearing a black mask.

Last night, the A-lister participated in an event held at The Engine Works event space in the Maryhill area.

Mr DiCaprio has been a longtime advocate of reducing carbon emissions and given considerable donations to forest conservation initiatives.

He set up The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998, which helps give money and grants to various conservation projects.

© Provided by Evening Standard (PA)

Israel’s energy minister finally given access to conference

12:13 , Daniel Keane

Israel’s energy minister has finally been given a ramp to access the building after complaints that it was not wheelchair-accessible.

Karine Elharrar tweeted that it was “sad” that the UN “does not provide accessibility to its events”.

However, she was seen finally gaining access to the venue this morning alongside Israeli PM Nafatali Bennett.

It followed a formal complaint from a member of Mr Bennett’s team to the organisers of the summit.

George Eustice, the environment secretary, said this morning that the incident was “deeply regrettable” and that the government had apologised to Ms Elharrar.

Nicola Sturgeon urges world leaders to ‘make sure history judges us fairly’

12:03 , Daniel Keane

Nicola Sturgeon has urged world leaders to take action at the COP26 summit to ensure that “the eyes of history judge us fairly”.

Speaking at a breakfast reception in the blue zone of the conference in Glasgow, Scotland’s first minister said the industrial past of the city means confers a “particular responsibility to help lead the world into the net-zero age”.

Following the meeting, Ms Sturgeon said: “Glasgow has the opportunity to be a city which helps propel the world into the net-zero age.

“Given our industrial past – an industrial past shared by not all but many of the countries represented here today – we also have a particular responsibility to help lead the world into the net-zero age.

“As leaders here, you have that weight of responsibility on your shoulders.

Watch: Boris Johnson says climate change & diversity is ‘two sides of the same coin’

11:50 , Daniel Keane

‘We’ve had enough talking’, says Charles

11:43 , Daniel Keane

Prince Charles says the world has done “enough talking” and it is time to put “our words into practice”.

He says that the world must build a more “circular, resilient economy”, adding: “We want to see tangible and rapid results on the ground… Certainly I do after years of frustrated efforts.

“I hope we can inspire a whole generation of humanity who are equipped to implement the changes we so desperately need.

“I cannot believe how many times I have ended speeches like this to no avail – but I pray that this time, this session will provide us with a knowledge of the systemic shifts required for change.”

He urged delegates to move forward with “implacable resolve and determination”.

Prince Charles: We must reengineer global economic system

11:30 , Daniel Keane

Prince Charles has begun his address to delegates as part of today’s forestry event.

He said: “So many communities are already suffering from the dire impacts of climate change.

“Now that we know what the problem is, we simply must talk about the solutions and the actions we can start taking today.

“The first action is to reengineer the world’s economic system to disincentivise deforestation and reward countries for creating a forest-positive economy.”

China claims Xi was given no option for video address

11:18 , Daniel Keane

China has claimed that President Xi Jinping was not given an opportunity to deliver a video address to COP26.

Xi, who is not attending the conference in person, delivered a written statement offering additional climate pledges, while urging countries to “strengthen mutual trust and cooperation”.

“As I understand it, the conference organisers did not provide the video link method,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters at a regular briefing.

China’s absence from the conference is seen as a loss at the talks – with environmentalists fearing it signals that Beijing is unwilling to offer further concessions on the climate.

Beijing has already pledged to bring emissions to a peak by 2060 and raise total solar and wind capacity to 1,200 gigawatts by 2030.

Activists begin Squid Game protest

11:00 , Daniel Keane

Activists outside the COP26 conference have begun a bizarre Squid Game-themed protest.

Dressed up as characters from the hit Netflix show, demonstrators assembled under the banner of Glasgow Actions to perform a series of stunts.

The protesters, who wore masks with the faces of world leaders, based their stunts on games from the hit show.

© Provided by Evening Standard (Jeremy Selwyn)

Bezos: We must conserve what we still have

10:44 , Daniel Keane

Mr Bezos continued his speech by emphasising the importance of conservation.

He added: “We must conserve what we still have, we must restore what we’ve lost and we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come.

“Two thirds of the land in Africa is degraded, but this can be reversed.

“Restoration can improve soil fertility, raise yields and improve food security, make water more reliable, create jobs and boost economic growth, while also sequestering carbon.”

Jeff Bezos: Trip into space made me realise ‘how fragile Earth is’

10:33 , Daniel Keane

Jeff Bezos has said that his trip into space made him realise “how fragile Earth is”.

The Amazon founder told delegates that from orbit, the “atmosphere seems so thing” and the world “so finite… so fragile”.

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Bezos announced a $2.6 billion pledge from his Earth Fund to aid conservation efforts.

He also pledged to make transform Amazon into a Net Zero company by 2025.

© Provided by Evening Standard (AFP via Getty Images)

Biden: Forests plan is ‘first of its kind’

10:24 , Daniel Keane

Mr Biden said his forests plan is the “first of its kind”, and his administration would work with Congress to mobilise up to $9 billion through to 2030 to conserve and restore forests.

He added: ““We’re going to work to ensure markets recognise the true economic value of natural carbon sinks and motivate governments, landowners and stakeholders to prioritise conservation.

“The United States is going to lead by our example at home and support other forested nations and developing countries in setting and achieving ambitious action to conserve and restore these carbon sinks.

“I’m confident we can do this. All we need to do is summon the will to do what we know is right.”

Biden hails forests’ ability to reduce carbon

10:19 , Daniel Keane

At the forestry event, President Biden hailed the ability of the world’s forests to reduce carbon emissions.

He said: “Forests have the potential to reduce carbon globally by more than one third globally.”

Mr Biden pledged to launch a new plan to conserve forests in the US, adding: “Let’s do this. It will have a generational impact.”

Pictured: Boris and Modi share a fist-bump

10:12 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson and Indian president Narendra Modi shared a fist-bump during a press conference on Tuesday.

Mr Modi on Tuesday pledged to cut emissions to Net Zero in India – but this misses a key goal of the summit for countries to reach that target by 2050.

© Provided by Evening Standard (Getty Images)

President Widodo highlights importance of social forestry

10:08 , Daniel Keane

Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, highlighted the role of social forestry during his speech to delegates.

He said: “Indonesia puts climate action within the context of sustainable development.

“Sustainable forest management policy should combine environmental with economic and social considerations.

“Partnerships with communities must be prioritised.”

Colombian president announces new commitments on protected areas

09:56 , Daniel Keane

Ivan Duque, the president of Colombia, has announced a set of new commitments on protected areas.

He told the conference: “We are today committing ourselves to protecting 30 per cent of our territory as a protected area by 2022.

“We must act now. We are working to achieve this with sound regulation – we have approved an anti-deforestation bill that increases the punishment for environmental crimes.

“We have also committed to planting 180 million trees by August 2022.”

PM hosts breakfast with 40 other world leaders

09:43 , Daniel Keane

Prior to the beginning of today’s speeches, the PM hosted a summit with 40 other world leaders.

Speaking after the breakfast, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I thought the breakfast was a very good event, it did what we hoped it would do, it brought all the leaders of the four nations of the United Kingdom together on a single stage.

“It gave us all an opportunity to re-emphasise the fact that, while we discharge our own responsibilities, we understand that unless you link those with the responsibilities other people have, you’ll never have the impact you want to have.

“We were able to do that in front of about 40 leaders from other parts of the world, so we can make that global connection as well.”

PM unveils ‘roadmap for sustainable trade’

09:37 , Daniel Keane

The prime minister has unveiled a “roadmap for sustainable trade”, signed by 28 countries, which he says will “grow our economies whilst reducing the pressure on our forests”.

He says: “This deal means that cocoa farmers in West Africa will receive a better return for protecting their forests.

“As consumers, we will all be able to enjoy guilt-free chocolate, safe in the knowledge that we have not just helped to reduce deforestation but also invested in renewable trade.”

Boris Johnson: We must become nature’s custodian

09:32 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has joined Colombian president Ivan Duque and Indonesian president Joko Widodo for the ‘World leader’s session on forest and land use’.

Delivering his introductory remarks, he said: “Climate change and biodiversity are two sides of the same coin.

“We can’t deal with the devastating loss of habitats and species without tackling climate change, and we can’t deal with climate change without protecting our natural environment.

“We must become nature’s custodian rather than nature’s conqueror. We must protect and restore the world’s forests, and I believe we can do it.”

Funding coalmine is ‘hard to justify’ for banks aiming for Net Zero

09:28 , Daniel Keane

Mr Carney said he would be “very surprised” if banks involved in the GFANZ initiative decided to fund a new coalmine in Cumbria.

Asked if being on the list means that a company cannot finance a new coal mine, Mr Carney told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s ultimately their decision to make but it will be very hard to justify doing that.

“I’d be very surprised if they did because, after all, they have to be financing consistently with where the world needs to go, and, as you know, we can’t have new coal in so-called advanced economies any more, and we need to help the developing world and emerging world get off coal by 2040 at the latest.”

He added: “I actually cannot see any of these institutions financing a new coal mine. Full stop. First point. I think that’s an extreme.”

Mark Carney: Financial institutions will commit to net zero

09:13 , Daniel Keane

Former governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said a list of more than 450 companies on the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) will come out on Wednesday.

Mr Carney, who set up GFANZ, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is focused on providing the financing that’s needed globally to make the investments that we need to get to a net-zero economy.

“And it means bringing together financial institutions, whether there’s banks, insurance companies, pension funds, from around the world, and having them commit to net zero.

“So, all of their money, whether they invest in a company or lend to a company, that those companies, those underlying companies, will themselves be reducing their carbon emissions transitioning to net zero.”

He added: “There’s a list coming out on Wednesday, tomorrow, because it’s finance day. So a list of over 450 of these financial institutions, many of the leading British ones.”

Pictured: Boris heads for Glasgow at sunrise

09:01 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has been pictured leaving for the COP26 conference at sunrise this morning.

It comes ahead of a busy day for the prime minister, who will address leaders at an event to announce a landmark deforestation deal.

Downing Street said the pledges were backed by £8.75 billion of public funding with a further £5.3 billion in private investment.

© Provided by Evening Standard (Jeremy Selwyn)

Labour says deforestation deal ‘doesn’t have any teeth’

08:48 , Daniel Keane

The Labour party has criticised the deforestation deal agreed at the COP26 conference, claiming it “doesn’t have any teeth”.

Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard told Sky News: “The Brazilians haven’t stuck to any of the deals on deforestation they’ve signed to date so there is a concern about this.”

He also stressed that the commitment was not legally binding.

“This agreement has been in the bag for quite some time. It doesn’t really change the outcome of COP,” he added.

“It’s a welcome one but it doesn’t have any teeth, it doesn’t have any urgency to it. In a couple of weeks’ time, will we still see the amazon being chopped down? I think we will. That’s the real test for agreements like this.”

Watch: Queen calls on world leaders to tackle climate change

08:35 , Daniel Keane

The Queen has issued a rallying cry to world leaders attending Cop26 urging them to work together in “common cause” to tackle climate change and “solve the most insurmountable problems”.

Watch her video message below.

A busy day for Biden…

08:29 , Daniel Keane

President Biden has a packed schedule today, and will deliver remarks at four separate events.

At 9.40am, he will speak about his administration’s plan to preserve global forests at the ‘Action on Forests and Land-Use’ event. Shortly later at 11.15am, he will participate in a meeting on the Build Back Better World initiative.

This will be followed by an address at 1pm where he will speak about the progress of the Global Methane Pledge.

Then at 2.30pm, the President will make a speech at the ‘Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment’ event.

Later on at 7.30pm, he will hold a press conference.

© Provided by Evening Standard (AP)

Environment minister says he doesn’t own a heat pump

08:20 , Daniel Keane

George Eustice, the environment secretary, has said he doesn’t own an electric car or heat pump – despite the government pushing for a switch to green technologies in the next decade.

He told Sky News: “I have got a small Mini that has a green mode on it but I don’t yet have an electric vehicle.”

Asked if he has a heat pump, he said: “No, I don’t have a heat pump at the moment but it’s certainly something that I would look at.

However, Mr Eustice insisted that he tries to “pay attention to the dividing of waste and making sure we recycle as much as possible”.

“I’m going to be going to Cop by train and whenever I travel to the constituency I generally do so by train,” he added.

Day two begins

08:06 , Daniel Keane

Good morning, and welcome to the Evening Standard’s live coverage of the second day of the COP26 climate conference.

It’s set to be another busy day of negotiations and speeches, with Boris Johnson expected to unveil a landmark deal on deforestation alongside other world leaders.

Leaders covering 85 per cent of the world’s forest will commit to an agreement to protect and restore the Earth’s forest, the UK Government has said.

Meanwhile the US and EU are launching an initiative that aims at driving global efforts to cut emissions of methane, a powerful but relatively short-lived greenhouse gas which comes from sources including fossil fuel extraction and livestock farming, as a significant short-term contribution to climate action.

Dozens of heads of state will take part in the launch of the pledge, which commits countries to cut their emissions of the gas by 30 per cent by 2030.

Cop26: What has happened at the conference on day one
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