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COP26 latest news LIVE: Climate pledges at summit could limit warming to 1.8C as Sharma hails ‘end of coal’

Watch: 'Coal is no longer king' Alok Sharma tells Cop26 conference

Climate pledges made at the COP26 summit could limit global warming to 1.8C, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Fatih Birol, head of the IEA, said the world was on track to keep warming below 2C if countries stuck to the deals negotiated at the conference.

Meanwhile, COP26 president Alok Sharma has said the “end of coal is in sight” as he hailed a deal struck by major economies to phase out the use of the pollutant - despite China and the US refusing to sign the pledge.

However, the deal has been criticised for the absence of major coal users such as India, the US and China, which last year accounted for over 50 percent of coal production worldwide.


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Push to end coal use unveiled at Cop26 but warnings over ‘glaring gaps’

‘End in sight’ for polluting coal with new moves announced at Cop26

World leaders back plans to deliver clean technology worldwide by 2030

Irish tanaiste Leo Varadkar says climate change ‘is happening now'
16:43 , Daniel KeaneTanaiste Leo Varadkar said that climate change is happening now.“Climate change is real. It’s happening now. It’s been happening for decades, but it has become more obvious in the past 10 years.“We see it all around us with hotter summers, milder winters, more storms, more floods, more fires, shocking biodiversity loss.“Need for action is long since past urgent and action has to happen on many levels, individual, community, national and international.“Ireland is a smaller country, we are only five million people but on a per capita basis we had a disproportionately large impact on our climate.”

Countries pledge to end finance for overseas fossil fuel investments
16:27 , Daniel KeaneTwenty-five countries and public institutions have committed to ending finance for fossil fuel energy projects by 2022 and shift to clean energy. The “historical step”, announced at today’s COP26 summit, will help unlock $17.8bn a year for the clean energy transition.At least 23 nations made new commitments to phase out coal power, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, South Korea, Egypt, Spain, Nepal, Singapore, Chile and Ukraine. COP26 President, Alok Sharma said: “Together we can accelerate access to electricity for more than three quarters of a billion people who currently lack access, consigning energy poverty to history as we create the clean power future needed to keep 1.5C alive.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Ocean rebellion protesters dress as dead fish
16:20 , Daniel KeaneProtesters from Ocean Rebellion have led a demonstration in Glasgow dressed as dead fish in pinstripe suits. The activists, who have demanded “no more fishy business in the sea”, demonstrated at Pacific Quay, highlighting the Marine Stewardship Council’s “continued support” of industrial fishing.

Workers must play part in clean energy transition
16:02 , Daniel KeaneA socially-just transition away from coal will depend upon workers, trade unions and local businesses being involved in the process, Alok Sharma has said.Speaking after announcing a declaration from a coalition of 190 countries, businesses and international lenders at COP26, he said: “Specifically in terms of the declaration – the effort for a just transition – that’s been signed, it covers everything from the quality of new jobs created through to international projects.”He continued: “It covers support for local social dialogue mechanisms that bring together all parties and I think, very importantly, local trade unions and businesses.“It is about getting their help, also, to design a green, and what we describe as a fair, future.”He added: “As part of this declaration, there is a commitment to work across businesses, trade unions, workers and representatives to ensure we have this just transition.”

Berry Bros. & Rudd release capsule free wine bottle (Berry Bros. & Rudd)
Berry Bros. & Rudd release capsule free wine bottle (Berry Bros. & Rudd)

The fine wine merchant ‘going topless’ in its journey towards net-zero
15:50 , Laura SharmanBerry Bros. & Rudd is setting the trend and releasing capsule-free wines in its journey towards net-zero.The fine wine and spirits merchant, founded in London, is shedding its iconic capsules from Own Selection products in a phased initiative to reduce packaging, save materials and avoid waste.This could save up to 6,000kg of tin, foil or aluminum every year, given that the company sold approximately 850,000 bottles of own label wines in the previous financial year.It is the first of many changes the company hopes to deliver to be net carbon zero and plastic free across its business by 2030. Lizzy Rudd, Chair of Berry Bros. & Rudd said, “As a company with a heritage of over 300 years, it’s natural for us to look ahead to the needs of future generations. “This is one small but important step in our journey to become net-zero carbon by 2030, and we hope that other wine companies will follow suit and remove superfluous capsules.”Capsules - the wrap on the neck of a wine bottle – were initially created during the 18th century to protect the cork. However, the way that wine is being bought and consumed has evolved drastically in the past three centuries, as have hygiene standards and consumer wine trends.

Commitment to end fossil fuel investment 'has significant drawbacks’
15:32 , Daniel KeaneThe commitment to end fossil fuel investment at the COP26 summit has “significant drawbacks”, world leaders have been warned. David Knipe, Partner, Energy and Natural Resources, at Oliver Wyman, said that while the pledge to halt finance for fossil fuels overseas demonstrated “commitment” to “accelerate” green energy, it could unintentionally suppress growth for developing economies. He said: “By ending financing for overseas fossil fuels, but not at home, the commitment risks being inconsistent with a just transition to a net zero future or simply protecting domestic fossil fuel industries that will export gas to developing economies who will continue to need it. “Developed economies have the greatest capacity to switch to green energy, while for developing economies, fossil fuels such as gas can be a critical transition fuel en-route to green alternatives.“This pledge could have the unintended consequence of suppressing growth and prosperity for developing economies, or forcing them to adopt other less climate friendly and cheaper solutions such as domestic coal or other primitive fuels, such as wood.”

Watch: It's the end of coal, UK tells climate summit

Activists urge world leaders to listen to marginalised women
15:13 , Daniel KeaneWorld leaders must listen to marginalised women and people of colour who are on the front line of the climate crisis, young activists have said.Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and fellow campaigners Vanessa Nakate and Leah Thomas spoke at a New York Times fringe event near the Cop26 conference in Glasgow.Ms Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for education, said: “As the climate risk increases, we could see more and more girls dropping out of their schools. “So climate, gender equality and girls’ education are not separate issues. They are all interlinked.Speaking by video link, she added: “The consequences of climate change are not equal. Some of us are more vulnerable to the climate disasters than others.“Marginalised communities, especially women and girls, minorities, and indigenous communities are more vulnerable to climate disasters.”

Sharma wants ‘more details’ from China on coal plans
14:57 , Daniel KeaneAlok Sharma has said he would like “more details” from China on plans to reduce coal use. Asked about China’s snub of a major coal deal at COP26, he mentioned the country’s commitment at the UN General Assembly to end financing for coal. “I think that was a significant statement that was made,” he told Sky News.

Cop26 brings in $18 billion for clean energy switchover
14:26 , Laura SharmanAlok Sharma said so far $18bn has been pledged at Cop26 to help deliver the transition from coal to clean energy.The Cop26 president said the amount, equivalent to £13.3bn, said “this transition must be just”.“We know this transition must be just and new tools for delivering the transition are emerging,” he said.“We have seen over the last day or so an announcement of around $18bn in new support so far this Cop for the transition from coal to clean power.”Mr Sharma said that since the Paris Agreement in 2015, there has been a 76% cut in the number of new coal plants planned globally.“That is more than 1,000 gigawatts of planned new plants cancelled - the end of coal is in sight,” he said.

Why Scottish Greens will never back new oil and gas extraction...
14:18 , Laura SharmanContinued oil and gas extraction in an independent Scotland is not the position of the Scottish Greens, the party’s co-leader has said.It comes after Scotland’s Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson said it would likely continue.As part of the co-operation agreement that gave the Greens two ministers in the Scottish Government, the future of oil and gas is a position where the two sides do not have to agree.“We’re still some way off from decarbonising our society and we will still require an access to a level of hydrocarbons,” Mr Matheson said.Speaking at Cop26, Patrick Harvie stressed the rift between his party and the SNP on oil and gas.“This is one of the issues where we’ve been very clear in the co-operation agreement. It’s an issue where the Greens and the SNP don’t have a fully shared position,” he said.

13:46 , Daniel Keane Watch: Giant pikachus make coal protest in Glasgow

‘Coal’s got to go’, says Starmer
13:26 , Daniel KeaneSir Keir Starmer said the Cop26 climate conference needed to reach a global agreement to set out how to reduce emissions by 2030 because if those targets were missed, he would fear that goals for 2050 would not be achieved either.He told Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2: “Cop is very, very important. Obviously, the most important conference we’ve had in many, many years.“We all want it to succeed. There’s a long, long way to go.“I’m afraid we do have to put our foot down and say coal’s got to go. And the sooner we do that, the better and some of the advances on deforestation the other day and on coal are a step in right direction.”

Cop26 pledges could limit warming to 1.8C, says energy boss
12:55 , Laura SharmanPledges made at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow could help limit global warming to 1.8C above pre-industrial levels, the boss of the International Energy Agency has said.Fatih Birol called progress at the talks “extremely encouraging” and said that if countries live up to their promises they could help limit the damage to the planet.“In the last few days we have heard several pledges and commitments from countries, in terms of their net-zero emissions by 2050 - some of them are a bit longer term,” he told an audience at Cop26 on Thursday.“We also heard that more than 100 countries have pledged to reduce their methane emissions.“If all the pledges on carbon neutrality and methane pledges were to be fully implemented we would have a temperature increase trajectory which is 1.8C. This is excellent.”

Kwarteng: Global transition to clean power must be 5 times faster
12:05 , Daniel KeaneKwasi Karteng has told COP26 delegates that the transition to clean energy must be five times faster. He said: “The global transition to clean power needs to progress at roughly five times the current rate.“We don’t underestimate the scale of this challenge. But the UK’s own experience is a good model. Only nine years ago 40 per cent our electricity came from coal. Today it is less than 2 per cent and we’ll phase out completely by 2024.“We cannot tackle climate change without revolutionising the way we power our world.”

Government accused of ‘looking both ways’ on climate
11:35 , Daniel KeaneMr Miliband added: “Whether it’s flirting with a new coal mine or licensing a massive oil field here at home, too often the government has been looking both ways on climate.“Rather than driving the ambition we need, as COP President the government has let others off the hook.“We need to phase out fossil fuels and ensure a just transition for workers.”

XR protests planned for Home Office building in Glasgow
11:19 , Daniel KeaneExtinction Rebellion are planning further protests outside the Home Office building in Glasgow for Thursday afternoon. Police Scotland said five arrests had already been made at the demonstration. Two officers were sprayed with paint during protests. Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “We will provide a proportionate policing response to any protest and it is therefore extremely disappointing that officers were assaulted by having paint sprayed in their faces.“These officers were simply doing their job and trying to protect people and keep them safe.”

Maldives minister: This summit is our lifeline
11:04 , Daniel KeaneA minister from the Maldives has told delegates at the COP26 summit that the summit is “our lifeline” as the country faces disastrous consequences from climate change. Shauna Aminath said: “The Maldives climate and energy challenges are enormous - we depend almost entirely on imported fossil fuels for meeting our needs. The diesel costs are enormous.“The government’s policy is to quit fossil fuels as quickly as possible and replace them with something the Maldives has in abundance - sunshine. Today 12 per cent of our energy is coming from renewables.“The difference between 1.5C and 2C for a country like the Maldives is a death sentence.”

‘I am obsessed with green jobs’, says US energy secretary
10:52 , Daniel KeaneJennifer Granholm, the US secretary for energy, has spoken of her passion to create green jobs through the clean energy transition. She told delegates at the COP26 summit: “In 2009 the great recession tore through the US auto industry. “Hundreds of thousands lost their jobs in Michigan where I was governor. The pain that I saw in the eye of workers has seared my soul... I became obsessed with how we can create jobs in clean energy to diversify our economy.“And with large federal and state and private sector investment we began focusing on electric vehicles and employment rebounded. “Today Michigan is a national leader in electric vehicle manufacture. Line workers who once assembled gas powered vehicles are now building electric trucks.”

Grant Shapps: Insulate Britain protests at parliament ‘completely unacceptable’
10:39 , Daniel KeaneTransport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the Insulate Britain protests targeting parliament are “completely unacceptable”.He told the Commons: “When it gets to the point that protesting against climate change prevents members from this House getting here to hold ministers to account and be heard it is clearly counter-productive.“Contempt of court can lead to unlimited fines, and prison sentences. “And we will be acting where the law has a gap in it through the Police and Crime Bill to resolve the gap that has led to this.”Mr Shapps said 475 injunctions have been served to Insulate Britain protesters at their homes for contempt of court.

Energy expert on coal: It’s time to move on
10:27 , Laura SharmanToday is Energy Day at Cop26 and delegates hope that the world will soon be waving goodbye to coal power after the UK government secured a commitment from 190 countries and organisations to phase out coal use.Crucially the coalition includes countries that are highly coal-dependent nations such as Poland, Chile, Morocco, Vietnam and Egypt.The Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement will see 18 countries committing for the first time to phase out and not build or invest in new coal power.What are energy experts saying?
Chris Harvey, energy expert for Stelrad, said now is the time to move towards cleaner, renewable energy.“There is no doubt that in the past coal has served us well in the UK, providing jobs, keeping us warm and powering our economy, allowing us to become the prosperous nation that we are today, but it’s time to move on,” he said.“This momentous commitment to phase out the investment in coal power has come at a critical time for the climate, and it’s good to see the UK leading the way in the push to end the use of fossil fuels and move towards cleaner renewable energy.”

Alok Sharma (PA)
Alok Sharma (PA)

Cop26 president says coal will soon be history
10:22 , Laura Sharman Cop26 President Alok Sharma told an event launching the coal to clean power transition statement that he believed the end of the most polluting energy sources was in sight.It comes from 46 countries, including 23 who were making commitments on ending coal for the first time.And the “powering past coal alliance” was celebrating new members, including seven new countries and 14 major financial private sector and financial institutions including NatWest, Lloyds Bank and HSBC, he said.“I do believe we’re getting to a point where we consign coal to history.“A brighter future comes ever closer, a future of cleaner air, cheaper power and good green jobs, but we must continue to work together over this vital decade to finish that job.“The prize is to keep the Paris temperature goal within reach,” he said.

Commons speaker claims Insulate Britain ‘interfering with democracy'
10:07 , Daniel KeaneCommons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said it is “totally unacceptable” Insulate Britain are “interfering with democracy”, after Conservative MP Darren Henry was unable to enter Parliament due to being “trapped outside” by the group.He told MPs: “We have got a slight problem. Darren Henry is trapped outside because Insulate Britain have blocked the access to the House.“This is totally unacceptable. This is interfering with democracy. “This is not what should happen and it is a tragedy that those constituents are not going to be represented by the member for Broxtowe.”

Renewables are ‘booming’, says Sharma
09:51 , Daniel KeaneMr Sharma hailed the “boom” in renewable energy, highlighting commitments made by India and China in recent days. He added: “This will help power the world to Net Zero. “These Net Zero commitments now cover 90 per cent of global GDP, including countries like Russia and Thailand. “That is up 30 per cent since we took over the COP presidency.”

Alok Sharma: ‘The end of coal is in sight'
09:45 , Daniel KeaneAlok Sharma, the president for COP26, has begun his address to delegates at the summit. He says: “We have to decarbonise our power sectors. When we took on the COP26 presidency, we were clear we would make a big push on power. “We wanted countries to phase out coal at home. we wanted to build a collaboration to support the transition to clean power. “We knew if we achieved all of this, we would not just benefit the environment - we would help create good green jobs and clean up the air. “I think we can say today that the end of coal is in sight.”

Watch: Insulate Britain block Parliament Square
09:29 , Daniel KeaneAround 40 Insulate Britain protesters have blocked Parliament Square in their latest rush-hour road protest on Thursday morning.Police have surrounded the activists who are sitting in Parliament Square, blocking MPs from driving into the House of Commons.You can read more here.

Demand for new cars fell 24.6 per cent last month, new figures show
09:18 , Daniel KeaneDemand for new cars fell by 24.6 per cent last month compared with October 2020, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.Some 106,265 new cars were registered last month, making it the industry’s weakest October since 1991. However, the industry has seen a surge in demand for electrified vehicles in a boost for Britain’s clean energy transition. SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The current performance reflects the challenging supply constraints, with the industry battling against semiconductor shortages and increasingly strong economic headwinds as inflation rises, taxes increase and consumer confidence has weakened.“Electrified vehicles (EVs), however, continue to buck the trend, with almost one in six new cars registered this year capable of zero-emission motoring, growth that is fundamental to the UK’s ability to hit its net-zero targets.”


Activists dressed as Pikachu protest against Japan’s coal industry
09:07 , Daniel KeaneActivists dressed as the Pokemon character Pikachu have began a protest against Japan’s support of the coal industry near the COP26 Summit. Demonstrators unveiled a banner with a message reading: “Japan. Time To End Coal.”Japan ranks sixth in the world for coal consumption and accounts for around 18.5 per cent of world’s total consumption, according to figures analysed by Worldometer.The country also snubbed a pledge announced at the summit today for major economies to phase out coal-based energy by the 2030s.

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

John Kerry: Climate talks ‘have more energy and focus'
08:55 , Daniel KeaneUS Climate envoy John Kerry has said that the COP26 talks have “more ambition” and energy than previous climate summits. “I think we are going to have the greatest increase in ambition we’ve ever had, we probably do in these first 36 hours, and the real issue is going to be follow-up, working with them,” Mr Kerry said on Wednesday.

Transition away from coal ‘gathering momentum’, says think tank
08:39 , Daniel KeaneThe transition away from coal-based energy is “gathering pace”, a leading think tank has said. It comes after today’s announcement that 190 countries will commit to ending the use of the polluting fuel, which is responsible for a significant chunk of global emissions. Leo Roberts, fossil fuel transitions research manager at European environmental think tank E3G, said: “The tranche of country commitments has been enabled by serious donor money, combined with new mechanisms and tools to help the world’s coal-burning countries turn their back on the most polluting fossil fuel and begin to implement a clean energy transition.“The breadth and depth of announcements and initiatives being announced on Thursday are an indication of how rapidly the shift away from coal is gathering pace.“Many countries are decisively choosing to end investment in new coal power stations. Many are also beginning to address the necessary retirements of their coal fleets.”

Kwarteng defends PM’s decision to fly back to London
08:24 , Daniel KeaneMr Kwarteng defended Boris Johnson’s decision to fly back to London from the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.Kwasi Kwarteng told the ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “So he’s travelled back like many world leaders did, they came here for world leaders day, I think we had 120 heads of governments on Monday, and many of them flew back to their countries and went back.”He said: “What is completely without question is the fact that in the UK, the Prime Minister is leading a Government that’s totally focused on net-zero, and as I’ve said, we’ve had huge successes, we had 40% of our electricity was generated by coal 10 years ago, and today that’s 1%.”

Progress is being made despite China snub on coal, Kwarteng insists
08:13 , Daniel KeaneMr Kwarteng insisted that progress is being made at the summit on coal despite China and the United States snubbing major pledges on clean energy. He told the BBC: “Well, of course, they’re engaging in negotiations as well.“The US, certainly under President Biden, is very much behind the net-zero agenda, and has got lots of pledges to reduce natural gas, to reduce methane.”He added: “And of course, in China, they’ve made a commitment not to invest in overseas coal mining and they’re looking also to phase out coal in their own electricity production.“It’s a shame they haven’t signed up to the pledge, but that’s something that we’re working on trying to get agreement.”He said: “Certainly in the last two years, only a year ago, the Chinese committed themselves to net zero by 2060, I was told only two years ago that that would never happen. So there’s a lot of progress being made.”

Minister claims Whitehaven coal mine was a ‘planning decision'
08:00 , Daniel KeaneKwasi Kwarteng insisted the Whitehaven coal mine was a “planning decision” as he fended off criticism over the controversial energy project. The £165 million mine, in Cumbria, would be Britain’s first deep coal mine in three decades and wants to extract coking coal — a type used to make steel rather than for fuel. Ministers have been accused of hypocrisy after failing to rule out the building of the mine - despite their Net Zero pledge. Mr Kwarteng told Sky News: ““That was a process that was started some years ago, and at the moment it’s something...that’s an independent planning decision, and it would not be right for me as a minister to comment on the rights and wrongs of it.”