Barack Obama arrives to cheers at COP26

Half of climate finance should go to adaptation – UN deputy leader

COP26

The deputy secretary general of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, tells the summit rich countries should ensure at least 50% of money pledged to developing countries goes towards helping them adapt to the consequences of climate change.

She says: “The signs are all around us – floods, drought, heat, and catastrophic storms.

“The human toll is devastating – lost lives and livelihoods, displacement and migration and young people losing hope in the future.

“The burden will fall disproportionately on the poor and vulnerable who contributed least to this problem.”

She says the latest report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows just over $20bn (£14.8bn) – about 25% of total climate finance – goes to adaptation.

“This is a fraction of the expected $300bn needed by 2023,” she says. “That’s why the secretary general continues to call on all donors to allocate at least 50% of their climate finance to adaptation.”

Fiji PM warns COP26 agreements are ‘inadequate’

COP26

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama follows Barack Obama and tells the conference “the legacy of leadership” from the Paris accord is at risk in Glasgow, adding that “so is the very existence of Fiji’s low-lying neighbours”.

He says he welcomes the new commitments made last week but says they are “timid and inadequate”.

He adds that several major players are “missing in action” while others have turned up with “insufficient commitments”.

Bainimarama says 13 cyclones have hit Fiji since the Paris agreement and says that although his country’s carbon emissions are negligible they are still embracing net zero and green jobs.

He says the country is also breaking ground “In tragic ways”, including offering refuge to nearby islands if their nations are “lost to the rising seas”.

Obama: We all have to row in unison

COP26

Barack Obama closes his speech with an old Hawaiian proverb which he says means “unite to move forward”.

“It’s a reminder that if you all want to paddle a canoe you better all be rowing in the same direction and at the same time, every oar has to move in unison, that’s the only way that you move forward,” he says.

“That’s the kind of spirit that we need to protect our island resources, that’s the kind of spirit we need to protect our people,” he says.

‘Our islands are threatened more than ever’ – Obama

COP26

Barack Obama goes on to say he doesn’t think there would have been as ambitious an agreement in Paris in 2015 if it was not for island nations being heard.

“As was true five years ago we have not done enough and our islands are threatened more than ever,” he says, adding he is proud the US government and President Joe Biden is giving the issue “the attention that it deserves” by committing to provide $3bn to support those most vulnerable to climate change.

Obama says that “all of us have a part to play, all of us have work to do, all of us have sacrifices to make” but adds “those of us who live in big wealthy nations… have an added burden to make sure we are working with and helping and assisting those who are less responsible and less able but more vulnerable to this oncoming crisis”.

Obama: If we don’t act now it is going to be too late

Former US president Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii, is speaking at a panel on island resilience at COP26.

He begins his speech by declaring he is “an island kid” and says he is proud of the work he did as president to work with island nations “who are most vulnerable to changing climate, even if they did less than the larger nations in actually causing the climate crisis”.

He says the islands are “in many ways the canary in the coal mine” and says they are sending a message that if we don’t act now it is going to be too late. -BBC

Crowds wait for Obama

BBC

We are here waiting to see former US President Barack Obama.

I haven’t seen crowds like this at a climate conference since Greta Thunberg appeared in Madrid in 2019.

By David Shukman,Science editor, BBC News

Can Obama stardust help the COP26 talks?

The ministers and officials here aren’t exactly household names so attracting a global star like Barack Obama is meant to bring much-needed momentum.

And he’s credited with being a driving force behind the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015 – the world’s first accord on climate change – so that helps too.

But Mr Obama also knows how bruising international climate talks can be.

Back in 2009, he tried to salvage something from the chaos and mismanagement of a summit in Copenhagen.

The US and others made a dramatic promise to the poorest nations that they’d be getting $100bn a year in climate aid by now.

But this crucial finance has yet to be delivered and some of the disappointment and anger about that are being directed his way now.

So although the Obama presence brings glamour and energy, it’s also a reminder that climate negotiations involve a long and painful journey.

By David Shukman,Science editor, BBC News

‘There can be no more hollow promises’ – former UN head

COP26C

South Korea’s Ban Ki-Moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations, is addressing ministers at the climate summit.

He says: “We have been failing the world and we have been failing the most vulnerable communities living on the front lines.”

It is time for change and we all have a responsibility to make it happen, he says.

“Young people are accusing us of not acting with the sense of urgency the climate crisis requires. We must assure them we understand there can be no more hollow promises.”

He says he is “pleased to see” the UK has made adaptation a priority and that more than 30 countries have now submitted national adaptation plans, representing 2bn people.

How climate change is exacerbating mass migration

As the dignitaries gather in Glasgow, there’s a timely reminder in a south-eastern corner of Mexico of the migratory pressures created by climate change.

Frustrated over unanswered asylum claims in Mexico, around 4,000 immigrants – most from Central America – recently pushed past a heavy police cordon to begin an arduous 3,000 km-long journey to the border with United States.

There’s a variety of factors pushing them north, of course. Some are political, others are economic or linked to violent crime in their home nations. But many are environmental.

Thousands have fled rural regions battered by severe weather events in recent years, a situation exacerbated by climate change. Indeed, in the very month that President Biden was elected, two huge storms wrought havoc in Guatemala.

The result is entire communities abandoning their fields in search of a more stable income up north. It’s a journey fraught with danger.

Earlier this year, 16-year-old Anderson Antulio – exhausted at toiling the unfertile soils of the Guatemalan highlands – left his family behind to reach the US. However, he was among a group of 16 migrants who were murdered close to the border with Texas. A dozen local police officers, with suspected links to violent cartels who control the migration routes north, were charged with the killings.

By Will Grant, BBC News Central America correspondent

BBC

“I knew I shouldn’t let him go but nor could I tie him to the bed,” his father, Marco Antonio, told me from their impoverished village.“Every single young person has the right to a life, has the right to pack their bags, to try to fulfil their dreams.”

Anderson’s tragic story is unlikely to feature in any of the speeches at COP26. Nor will most of the Central American migrants carrying their kids in their arms as they walk or sleep in public plazas in Chiapas state.

But for activists, the link between these journeys and inaction on climate change couldn’t be clearer.

How women are helping India recover from drought

COP26

Ministers have been shown a video from India explaining how international aid is helping communities to recover from drought.

Naseem Shaikh has worked as an associate programme director at Swayam Shikshan Prayog for 30 years in seven disaster-prone states of India.

“In 2009 we realised after the serious drought in our Marathwada region, women are struggling for food, livelihoods, security because their man farmers are giving more priority to the cash crops and women are not having any say in agriculture planning or decision making,” she says.

The group used money from a community resilience fund to create a model that meant women could be recognised as farmers.

It also diversified crops to improve food security and started a water management scheme, she says.

‘Sometimes we don’t find any food or water’ – Kenya’s drought experience

COP26

There’s a presidency event under way at the COP26 summit in Glasgow where ministers are hearing from communities at the frontline of climate change.

Delegates are shown a video from Kenya in which Anatacia Philan from Baringo County explains how during droughts the men migrate with their animals and women stay to look after the children and elderly.

The men are gone for many months with no communication at all, she says.

“The women and children left at home have no food, no water. We walk long distances to look for food and water, sometimes we don’t find any.”

Dr Wilber Ottichilo, the governor of the Vihigar County is at the summit and says “it is the local people that are suffering the brunt of the climate change”.

Obama arrives in Glasgow ahead of COP26 appearance

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You could be excused for thinking the most high-profile visitors to COP26 were long gone as we move into week two of the summit.

But then who should arrive in Glasgow but former US President Barack Obama.

He will be speaking to the summit about the road ahead in the battle against climate change and what young people can do.

You will be able to follow his press conference with us from about 12:45 BST, before he addresses delegates at 14:00.

The community trying to save its forest

Developing nations often say they are unfairly targeted by wealthy countries to curb economic growth to protect the planet.

This debate is playing out in central India’s Buxwaha forest – where billions of dollars’ worth of diamond reserves lie in the ground.

The Madhya Pradesh state government has given permission for 200,000 trees to be cut down for a mine – threatening thousands of animals and local tribes.

Current pledges put global warming cap at 1.8C – minister

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The world is making “huge progress” towards the 1.5C cap on global warming – one of the major focuses of the COP26 summit – but needs to do more to get there, a cabinet minister says.

“The latest review of all the pledges and the commitments and the level of investment that we are seeing coming through assessed by independent voices say we think we are nearer 1.8C at the moment,” International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan tells BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“So that’s a huge step forwards, we think we were somewhere around 3C plus before this year so huge progress there,” she says.

But the UK must hold other rich countries to account to make sure the most vulnerable countries get the money they need to become more resilient to the climate shocks that are coming, she says.

“Even if we fix this year to emissions challenge today you’ve got 100 years of climate disruption that will continue to come,” she says.

A note on those projections that Trevelyan mentions.

The International Energy Agency has indeed said that new climate targets could limit warming to 1.8C if promises are fully implemented – a big caveat. However the group also says that although many countries have pledged to reach net zero by 2050, many are not taking enough action in the short term to keep 1.5C in reach.

Scotland’s commitment to climate damage fund ‘a massive breakthrough’

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A leading climate expert has welcomed a decision by Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to donate to a compensation fund

for countries whose economies have been damaged by climate change

Saleemul Huq, who is the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh, has hailed the £1m contribution as a massive breakthrough.

Developing countries share a deep resentment that they suffer from climate change that rich nations have caused.

Rich nations are already helping vulnerable countries protect themselves from the ravages of global heating, by building sea walls for instance.

But wealthy nations have never acknowledged legal liability for the impact of their emissions – because the bill could run into trillions.

Professor Huq has been pushing for decades for a fund to compensate poor nations for the damage to their economies and their development from events such as floods and wildfires.

That so-called loss and damage fund now has its first donation, with the £1m from Nicola Sturgeon.

The sum has been mocked by some as trivial. But Professor Huq says it’s the first time any developed nation has tacitly admitted responsibility for contributing to overheating the world – and he believes it won’t be the last.

The struggle to recover from deadly German floods

BBC

Three and a half months on, Germany’s Ahr Valley has still not recovered from devastating floods that brought the reality of climate change home to many in the country.

More than 130 people died there on 14 and 15 July, when the heaviest rainfall in a century, which scientists have linked to global warming, turned the normally placid River Ahr into a raging torrent.

Today, many survivors who moved into holiday homes or caravans after their houses were flooded have not yet returned. Hundreds whose kitchens were destroyed are still dependent on meals provided by volunteers in big tents erected in village centres.

Wilhelm Hartmann left his gardening business in Fulda, 250km away, to co-ordinate volunteer operations the day after the flood – and is still working in the valley. He says it will take weeks more to dry out damaged homes – and some will not have electricity and plumbing fully re-installed until March next year.

In the early days, he says, “we worked 18-19 hours a day, but we couldn’t sleep at night, because of everything we’d seen”.

“Many had to go to psychiatrists,” he adds, “Older people here told us it was worse than the war.”

Tim Whewell

BBC Radio 4

Fossil fuel industry has largest delegation at climate summit

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There are more delegates at COP26 associated with the fossil fuel industry than from any single country, analysis shared with the BBC shows.

Campaigners led by Global Witness assessed the participant list

published by the UN at the start of this meeting.

They found that 503 people with links to fossil fuel interests had been accredited for the climate summit.

These delegates are said to lobby for oil and gas industries, and campaigners say they should be banned.

“The fossil fuel industry has spent decades denying and delaying real action on the climate crisis, which is why this is such a huge problem,” says Murray Worthy from Global Witness.

“Their influence is one of the biggest reasons why 25 years of UN climate talks have not led to real cuts in global emissions.”

About 40,000 people are attending the COP. Brazil has the biggest official team of negotiators according to UN data, with 479 delegates.

Minister gives sea speech to highlight climate threat

Tuvalu’s Ministry of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs

A minister from the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has recorded a speech to COP26 standing knee-deep in the ocean to highlight the threat of rising sea levels.

Foreign Minister Simon Kofe recorded the message last week to be shown at a conference event on Tuesday.

Images of the speech have been widely shared on social media – with many praising the effective message it sends.

“The statement juxtaposes the COP26 setting with the real-life situations faced in Tuvalu due to the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise and highlights the bold action Tuvalu is taking to address the very pressing issues of human mobility under climate change,” Mr Kofe said about the speech.

Tuvalu’s Ministry of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs

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