COP26: World Leaders in Glasgow for ‘last, best hope’ climate summit

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GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 31: President for COP26, Alok Sharma, speaks on stage during the opening ceremony of COP26 at SECC on October 31, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. The procedural opening ceremony marks the start of negotiations at COP26 and the appointment of its President Alok Sharma, the handover of the Presidency from COP25 President Carolina Schmidt and remarks from Alok Sharma and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

More than 120 world leaders meet in Glasgow on Monday in a “last, best hope” to tackle the climate crisis and avert a looming global disaster. “It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to tell them, according to extracts from his speech.

“If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.” Observers had hoped a weekend meeting in Rome of leaders of the G20 nations, which between them emit nearly 80 percent of global carbon emissions, would give a strong impetus to the Glasgow COP26 summit, which was postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

The G20 major economies committed on Sunday to the key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — the most ambitious target of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement. They also agreed to end funding for new unabated coal plants abroad — those whose emissions have not gone through any filtering process — by the end of 2021.

But this did not convince NGOs, the British prime minister, or the United Nations.

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