Connect with us

World

‘It’s our lives on the line’, young marchers tell UN climate talks

Published

on

November 5, 2021

By Elizabeth Piper, Lucy Marks and Natalie Thomas

GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters) -Thousands of young campaigners marched through the streets of Glasgow on Friday, demanding urgent action from world leaders at the U.N. climate conference to stave off catastrophic climate change.

A week of government speeches and pledges https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/new-promises-glasgow-climate-talks-2021-11-02 at the two-week gathering https://www.reuters.com/business/cop has included promises to phase out coal, slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane and reduce deforestation.

Advertisement

But campaigners and pressure groups have been underwhelmed by the commitments made so far, many of which are voluntary, exclude the biggest polluters, or set deadlines decades away.

“We are in a disaster that is happening every day,” activist Vanessa Nakate said of life in her home country Uganda, which has one of the fastest changing climates in the world. “We cannot keep quiet about climate injustice.”

Some of the marchers and community leaders who addressed the crowd demanded deep-rooted change to the status quo.

“This is a message from indigenous women in the Amazon to keep oil in the ground, to stop mining. That is good for all of us, for indigenous people and for the world,” one speaker said.

Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg said leaders of the global north appeared to be fighting to prevent real change.

Advertisement

“They are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves and to continue profiting from this destruction,” she said. “We need immediate annual drastic annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen.”

Sixteen-year-old protester Hannah McInnes said climate change was the most universally devastating problem: “It’s our lives and our futures that are on the line.”

Inside the COP26 conference venue in the Scottish city, civil society leaders took over discussions.

“We must not declare victory here,” said former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work informing the world about climate change. “We know that we have made progress, but we are far from the goals that we need to reach.”

PROMISES

Advertisement

The talks aim to secure enough national promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions – mainly from fossil fuels – to keep the rise in the average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Scientists say this is the point at which the already intense storms, heatwaves, droughts and floods that the Earth is experiencing could become catastrophic and irreversible.

To that end, the United Nations wants countries to halve their emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, on their way to net-zero emissions by 2050. That would mean the world would release no more climate-warming gases than the amount it is simultaneously recapturing from the atmosphere.

The summit on Thursday saw 23 additional countries pledge to try to phase out coal – albeit over the next three decades, and without the world’s biggest consumer, China.

A pledge to reduce deforestation brought a hasty about-turn from Indonesia, home to vast and endangered tropical forests.

Advertisement

But a plan to curb emissions of methane by 30% did appear to strike a blow against greenhouse gases that should produce rapid results.

And city mayors have been https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/nations-talk-climate-cities-say-we-deliver-2021-11-04 working out what they can do to advance climate action more quickly and nimbly than governments.

The Glasgow talks also have showcased a jumble https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/mission-coalition-cop26-spawns-confusing-clusters-2021-11-05 of financial pledges, buoying hopes that national commitments to bring down emissions can actually be implemented.

But COP26 President Alok Sharma warned time was running short, with too many issues still unresolved.

Efforts to set a global pricing framework https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/glimmers-hope-seen-global-carbon-market-deal-cop26-2021-11-05 for carbon, as a way to make polluters pay fairly for their emissions and ideally finance efforts to offset them, are likely to continue to the very end of the two-week conference.

Advertisement

THE NEW NORMAL

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said a deal at the summit could be reached to settle the final details of the rulebook for how to interpret the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The United States favoured “the most frequent possible” assessments of whether countries were meeting their goals to reduce emissions, he said.

But President Joe Biden’s mammoth “Build Back Better” package, including $555 billion of measures https://www.reuters.com/world/us/what-are-climate-change-provisions-us-budget-bill-framework-2021-10-28 aimed at hitting the 2030 target and adapting to climate change ran into snags on Friday as the House of Representatives was due to vote on it.

The placards and chants of the crowd in Glasgow suggested people’s patience was running out.

Advertisement

“The Earth’s climate is changing!” a schoolchild’s sign read, under a hand-painted picture of a globe on fire. “Why aren’t we?”

(Additional reporting by Katy Daigle in Glasgow; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Janet Lawrence and Philippa Fletcher)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Germany’s Free Democrats back coalition agreement

Published

on

December 5, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – Members of Germany’s pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) voted on Sunday by a large majority to back a coalition agreement with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens, paving the way for the three-way alliance to form a new government next week.

The coalition, the first at federal level between the environmentalist Greens, the FDP and Olaf Scholz’s centre-left SPD, will end 16 years of conservative governments led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The SPD approved the agreement on Saturday and the Greens are due to announce the outcome of a member survey on the deal on Monday. The three parties hope the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, will vote Scholz in as chancellor on Wednesday.

Advertisement

The “traffic light” alliance, named after the parties’respective colours, will usher in a new era of relations with Europe, and plans to speed up digitalisation of the continent’sbiggest economy and put a focus on fighting climate change.

(Reporting by Alexander Ratz; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Continue Reading

World

Gambian President Barrow on course for resounding election win

Published

on

December 5, 2021

By Bate Felix

BANJUL (Reuters) – Gambia’s incumbent president, Adama Barrow, was on course for a resounding election win on Sunday, partial results indicated, that could help to draw a line under recent political turmoil.

Saturday’s vote was the first in 27 years without disgraced former president Yahya Jammeh, who lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea after refusing to accept defeat to Barrow in 2016.

Advertisement

Jammeh, whose 22-year rule over the tiny nation of 2.5 million people was characterised by killings and torture of political opponents, had tried to persuade supporters to vote for an opposition coalition in telephoned speeches that were relayed to campaign rallies.

But his lingering influence was not enough to dent Barrow’s showing. The president, who only needs to win more votes than the second-placed candidate, won 36 of the first 41 constituencies announced, taking 315,547 votes.

His nearest rival, political veteran Ousainou Darboe, had 133,177 votes, with four other candidates far behind.

Only 12 constituencies remained to be announced.

The election was seen as a test of Gambia’s democratic progress and its ability to leave the Jammeh era behind.

Advertisement

Barrow’s first term was marked by the coronavirus pandemic, which damaged an economy that relies heavily on tourism, as well as exports of peanuts and fish.

(Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Continue Reading

World

S.Africans protest against Shell oil exploration in pristine coastal area

Published

on

December 5, 2021

By Siyabonga Sishi

PORT EDWARD, South Africa (Reuters) – South Africans took to their beaches on Sunday to protest against plans by Royal Dutch Shell to do seimsic oil exploration they say will threaten marine wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and penguins on a pristine coastal stretch.

A South African court on Friday struck down https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/shell-wins-court-case-start-seismic-surveys-offshore-south-africa-2021-12-03 an application brought by environmentalists to stop the oil major exploring in the eastern seaboard’s Wild Coast, rejecting as unproven their argument that it would cause “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, especially migrating hump-back whales.

Advertisement

The Wild Coast is home of some of the country’s most undisturbed wildlife refuges, and it’s stunning coastal wildernesses are also a major tourist draw.

At least 1,000 demonstrators gathered on a beach near Port Edward, a Reuters TV correspondent saw.

“It’s just absolutely horrendous that they are even considering this. Look around you?” said demonstrator Kas Wilson, indicating an unspoilt stretch of beach. “It’s unacceptable and … we will stop it.”

Shell officials were not immediately available for comment, but the company said on Friday that its planned exploration has regulatory approval, and it will significantly contribute to South Africa’s energy security if resources are found.

But local people fear the seismic blasting conducted over 6,000 square kilometres will kill or scare away the fish they depend on to live.

Advertisement

“I don’t want them to operate here because if they do we won’t be able to catch fish,” said 62-year-old free dive fisherwoman Toloza Mzobe, after pulling a wild lobster from the ground. “What are we going to eat?”

Environmentalists are urging Shell and other oil companies to stop prospecting for oil, arguing that the world has no chance of reaching net zero carbon by 2050 if existing oil deposits are burned, let alone if new ones are found.

Earlier this year, a Dutch court ordered Shell to reduce its planet warming carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels, a decision it plans to appeal.

South Africa’s environment ministry referred Reuters to a statement late last month that “the Minister responsible for environmental affairs is … not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorisation of the seismic survey.”

(Writing by Tim Cocks;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending