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COP26 live blog

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This page will be updated regularly between 31st October and 12th November. Refresh the page to see new content.

Summary and key events

Welcome to the Museum's live coverage of COP26.

Join us as we cover all the action from Glasgow.

Key events:

By Katie Pavid, Josh Davis and James Ashworth

Deal reopened and watered down

Just before the conference was due to close, India has asked for a change to be made to the final text. 

The Indian delegate wants the wording to be changed from 'phase out coal' to 'phase down coal', a move seen to further weaken one of the key commitments of this deal. 

Many countries have stated their astonishment and disappointment that this is being allowed to happen, although most seem to be reluctantly agreeing to it in order to get the deal done. 

Lichenstein's representative has said, 'for the greater good we must swallow this bitter pill.'

COP26 deal reached

The final text for the COP26 deal has been agreed upon. It will now be known as the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Whilst many nations said that they were not happy with the final deal (particularly with India and China's last-minute changing of the text), most said that they will accept it as a compromise.

The key points agreed upon over the past two weeks are:

  • Keeping 1.5C alive. To keep global warming to below 1.5C and thus avoid the worse impacts from the climate crisis will require significant emissions cuts, including being net zero by 2050.
  • The acceleration of the phase 'down' of coal and fossil fuel subsidies. This has been a major sticking point, particularly for those nations which still rely heavily on fossil fuels, such as Australia, India and China, which saw the language watered down to refer only to accelerating 'efforts' to phase 'down' the 'unabated' use of coal and 'inefficient' subsides.
  • Protection of communities and restoring habitats. For the first time, the final text talks explicitly about recognising that climate change and biodiversity loss are implicitly linked, and the crucial role of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems.
  • A $100 billion climate finance fund per year. This was another of the biggest points of contention, as lower-income nations did not feel that the richer countries, namely the US, EU and UK were serious enough as they missed the previous deadline for this fund in 2020. This will be to account for the future adaptations that many developing nations will need to implement as the climate crisis bites, but there has been a lot of contention about who pays for the adaptations which are already having to be rolled out in these countries.
  • An increasing 'ratchet' for climate targets, with nations returning each year with improved emissions targets for 2030. Previously countries were only required to do this every five years, and it is hoped that by upping this to every year it will increase pressure to do more to cut emissions faster, although it has been noted that the language here has also been softened.

Overall, there are many points which have been – and still are – hotly contested, mainly by those nations less responsible but most impacted by the climate crisis. It is certainly a compromise, but many still see it as a tentative step in the right direction.

For the time being at least the UK can argue that it has managed to 'keep 1.5C alive', which was one of their stated aims for COP26. 

Momentum continues to build

As each nation speaks, momentum certainly seems to be growing. While most delegates are not entirely happy with the text, they will agree to the compromises. 

So far, this has been the positions of Nigeria, Palau, the Philippines, Turkey, Colombia, Chile and Indonesia

Japan seems to be one of the more positive about the text, calling it a 'tremendous deal'.

The delegate for Iceland has similarly agreed to the text, saying that there is hope and 'we are keeping 1.5C alive.' Trinidad and Tobago have said that they think there is a fair balance to the text. 

As a major oil producer, it may come as no surprise that Iran is not happy with the passage on the phase out of fossil fuels and requests that it be changed, although it looks like that ship may have already sailed. 

The delegate for New Zealand is far more critical of the text saying it does not go far enough, but is willing to support it as doing nothing is worse. 

Nicaragua and Guatemala are also in support, taking a 'glass half full' perspective. 

High hopes for negotiations to finish tonight

There have been more nation's talking at the plenary. 

The Fiji and Marshall Islands have said that while it is not perfect, particularly where it comes to financing, but the text does represent tangible progress. 

The delegate from Gabon is also concerned about the guarantee of the much talked about $100bn climate finance fund, and how the inevitable instability caused by climate change in Africa will be dealt with. 

Bolivia, Costa Rica and Switzerland have all expressed their disagreement with different parts of the text, but will accept it as part of the compromise. 

Peru spoke on behalf of a number of Latin American countries, including Colombia and Chile, to accept the text. Bhutan also accepts it but raised concerns about the passage on loss and damage, which has been contentious for a number of nations. 

Australia, which was previously accused of using COP to sell 'green' fossil fuels, has also said that it will agree to the text, despite their plans to keep selling coal for decades to come. 

John Kerry has been speaking on behalf of the US, saying, 'It is time to come together for our future generations in a way that many of us really never thought we’d have a way to do.'

Next up was Brazil, which has been seriously criticised as under the government of Jair Bolsonaro deforestation of the Amazon has rocketed. They accept the text as it stands, along with The Maldives

With so many nations backing the text as it stands, it seems highly likely that COP26 will be wrapped up by the end of the day despite objections from some countries.  

Nations state their positions

Source: UN Climate Change/Flickr

Various nations have been taking to the podium to explain where they stand with the current draft. 

First up was the representative of Guinea, who was also talking on behalf of 77 lower-income nations and China. They said that the spirit of the negotiations had been good, and although they were disappointed with some of the text on loss and damage, in the spirit of compromise they would see it as a step in the right direction. 

China's delegate followed up by saying that the text is by no means perfect, and suggests that while the text should not change some edits should be made. 

A delegate from India has taken to the podium and said that they are not happy, particularly with the section about phasing out fossil fuels. 'Every country will arrive at their own emissions targets at their own pace,' he said. 'How can anyone expect developing countries to make promises about coal and fossil fuel?'

This is a position supported by China and, it turns out, South Africa, which earlier in the negotiations stuck a deal with the UK, EU and US to phase out their coal power plants. 

The general consensus from these nations is that it is unfair to ask them to phase out fossil fuels when they have only contributed a small amount to the vast amount of greenhouse gasses released to date. 

The EU negotiator has urged delegates not to fall on the home straight, while Tuvalu's representative has struck a much more positive tone, saying that the conference has been a 'stong message of hope.'


Alok Sharma addresses the deligates

The much delayed plenary has finally started where nations can air their thoughts for the third draft, although it has taken on something of a more informal air. 

Alok Sharma has started by saying that we are a 'moment of truth' and that the 'text is clean'. This means that all the bracketed options which were up for debate in the text have, in theory, been removed although that does not mean the deal has been done. 

'We have arrived at what I believe is the moment of truth,' says Sharma. 'And this is the moment of truth for our planet, for our children, and our grandchildren. And you all know that the world is willing us on to be bold, to be ambitious.

'And so much rests on the decisions that we collectively take today. These texts are now clean. And we believe that they are the product of a transparent, inclusive and policy driven process, and has been founded on listening and the search for consensus.

'As the presidency, we have effectively had to take into account and balance the views of almost 200 parties. And I completely understand that parties sometimes have different priorities. And yet, we all ultimately have to sign up to the same agreement.'


World holding its breath

As if you hadn't noticed by now, 14.30 GMT has been and gone, and the plenary still hasn't started. 

Intense negotiations are still ongoing on the floor at COP, with John Kerry last seen having talks with the Chinese deligation. Face masks make it impossible to lip-read to find out what is actually being said, so it looks like we're just going to have to sit and wait it out. 

The general feeling seems to be that despite Alok Sharma wanting things to be wrapped up by the end of the day, talks will potentially continue late into the night. 

Stocktaking plenary delayed

A stocktaking plenary, in which individual nations give a speech about what they think of the draft so far, was due to start at 12.00 GMT today. But this has so far been delayed to 14.30 GMT. 

According to COP President Alok Sharma, this has been to 'allow a little more time for discussions to take place.'

In the meantime, there has been a lot of activity on the floor this morning. Big crowds have gathered around the US environment envoy John Kerry at one side, while another surrounding EU’s Franz Timmermans

Expect intense discussions to be going on as delegates frantically try and iron out the issues to wrap negotiations up.  

Concern over climate finance

It seems that the biggest issue that has risen to the top this morning is that relating to climate finance. 

Lower-income countries are not happy with the third draft in its current form, saying that it is not going far enough in supporting those nations which will be most affected by the growing climate crisis. 

They say that the language used is too weak as the richer nations are not demonstrating the responsibility they owe for creating this crisis in the first place. 

In addition to that, there is the issue of trust.

Zhao Yingmin, part of the Chinese delegation at COP26, has given an interview in which he states that the failure of the developed nations to meet the $100bn climate fund target set 12 years ago in Copenhagen has damaged the trust that the richer nations will be able to deliver on any financing promised this time around.

First responses to the third draft

Chris Stark, the chief executive of the UK Climate Change Committee, is cautiously optimistic about this third draft.

'I have to say I'm feeling quite good about the way its been brought together,' he told the BBC. 'Language about fossil fuel financing, language about phasing out coal is still in there. The language on returning to the table to make those 2030 targets stronger next year is still in there. 

'Over the course of the next 12 months we will need to see those stronger commitments for 2030. If we do that, there is a path in play to something below 2C, and possibly just hanging on by a thread that 1.5C outcome.'

Tracy Carty, the head of Oxfams COP26 delegation, is less happy with where this deal is going. She has said:

'Here in Glasgow, the world’s poorest countries are in danger of being lost from view, but the next few hours can and must change the course we are on,' she said, echoing the concerns from the lower-income nations about the section of the deal referring to climate finance. 'What’s on the table is still not good enough. 

'We need the strongest possible outcome to ensure governments come back next year with strengthened emission reduction targets that will keep 1.5C alive. And decisive progress on finance to help countries adapt and for the loss and damage endured.'

Third draft text published

The third draft text has been published this morning. 

As we move into the Saturday, a day after the negotiations were due to end, the UN has released another draft of the Glasgow deal. Experts and analysis are pouring over the new document, paying close attention to the wording. 

There have been relatively few changes since the last draft, which shows that the 196 nations have narrowed things down to a few key issues. 

A first glance shows that the section referring to the phase out of fossil fuels has remained, but the document still talks only about phasing out the 'unabated' use of coal and 'inefficient' fossil fuel subsidies. 

This has been a bone of contention for many smaller nations, who claim that this wording offers a loop hole for the big emitters in the global north to carry on burning fossil fuels. 

But others have been arguing that the wording is clear and strong enough, and that the use of 'inefficient' is needed to allow nations to continue subsidising fuel to reduce costs for the poorest people.

Another point that has been noticed is the changing of the language from 'accelerate phasing out' of fossil fuels to 'accelerate efforts'. This is once again seen as a watering down of the deal and gives nations more leeway. 

The 'ratchet' has remained, in which countries have to return in a year's time and reassess their targets. This is a seen as a positive move as it will hopefully mean countries having to make more and more ambitious targets. 

Finally, one of the fiercest fought sections has been that relating to 'loss and damage'. The language here has been subtly changed to include the use if the term 'funds', which many will be hoping to appease those contesting this section.

Low-income nations have been arguing that it is their moral right to be compensated for the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, while the US and EU fear it could open them up to unlimited compensation. 

Saturday 13 November

Good morning, it's Josh Davis here covering the live blog. 

The conference was due to finish yesterday, but as was expected the negotiations have overrun into the weekend. The talks will be tense, as countries try to nail down the finer details of the draft text. 

370 more coal-fired power plants will be closed down after COP26 pledges

Analysis by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air reveals that 370 more coal plants have been given a close-by date. 

Pledges at COP26 mean a total of 750 coal-fired power plants have a phase-out date. Another 1600 plants are covered by carbon neutrality targets. 

90 new coal power projects are likely to be cancelled due to pledges that countries will not finance new fossil fuel projects. That's two-thirds of all planned coal plants outside of China. 

Read the latest headlines

My colleague James Ashworth has created a guide to this week's headlines, as delegates attempt to conclude discussions.

Read more about the big news from the week as we await further updates.

Talks will continue into the night, Sharma suggests

Alok Sharma has suggested that discussions will continue into the night before a final version of the conference text is settled upon.

Nations have been sharing their sticking points and issues this afternoon before a further round of changes to the text is implemented.

We'll keep you informed of the big updates over the weekend as they come in.

Amazon rainforest is being pushed towards an irreversible tipping point, report says

A new report on the state of the Amazon has been published, saying climate change and human activities are pushing the area 'towards a tipping point beyond which lies irreversible loss of the rainforest and its biodiversity, severely compromising human well-being.'

The Amazon Basin holds the most extensive rainforest in the world and the largest river. Its continued health is vital to the wellbeing of the entire planet.

An Amazon Assesment Report was compiled by more than 200 authors and recommends an immediate ban on deforestation in the Amazon.

Alok Sharma press conference

COP President Alok Sharma called for more 'positive spirit' today to finalise agreements, and says officials worked through the night to develop the summary texts which were issued this morning.

He said he wanted a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced set of outcomes by the end of the day.

Countries could be called back to report on national emissions plans next year

In the latest draft conference text, countries will be asked to get back round the negotiating table next year with improvements to their national plans on cutting emissions.

After COP25 in Paris, countries were required to create their own national emissions-cutting targets – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

It is crucial that governments around the world make and stick to these promises if we're to keep global warming under the 1.5C target.

The new summary text would keep some pressure up on countries to stick to their plans.

The Guardian has a useful explanation of the text as it stands.

Draft text has been weakened, says Museum researcher

Prof Andy Purvis, an expert on biodiversity based at the Museum, says the new text does not go far enough.

Greenpeace International executive director Jennifer Morgan is also disappointed.

In a statement, they said, 'Right now the fingerprints of fossil fuel interests are still on the text and this is not the breakthrough deal that people hoped for in Glasgow.

'The key line on phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies has been critically weakened, but it’s still there and needs to be strengthened again before this summit closes. That’s going to be a big tussle and one we need to win. Meanwhile we’ve gone from ‘urging’ countries to strengthen their 2030 emissions targets in line with the 1.5C goal to merely ‘requesting’ they do so by 2022. It wasn’t good enough before, it’s even weaker now and that needs to change.'

Second draft of summary text published

A second draft of the conference's summary document has been published, with mixed reactions. You can read the full text on the UNFCCC website.

The new draft calls for countries to accelerate 'the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.'

Many are considering this as a weakening of the language used in the first version of the text, as it doesn't ask countires to end all fossil fuel subsidies completely. However, some seem to be pleased that a mention of coal is still in the text at all. Ridiculously, none of the previous 25 annual COPs has had a mention of fossil fuels at all.

Friday 12 November

Good morning, it's Katie Pavid here bringing you updates from the final day at COP26. Things are scheduled to be wrapped up today, although there is a chance that negotiations could run on into the weekend.

Funding for green cities announced

The UK has announced the launch of the Urban Climate Action Programme (UCAP) to provide cities and regions in developing country with support to go green.

£27.5 million has been put towards the programme, which will see cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America receive funding to develop low-emissions public transport, greener buildings and build renewable energy sources.

Urban buildings are responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions, and it is estimated that 1.6 billion people will be regularly exposed to extreme heat by 2050 if emissions continue as they are.

The UK Government is also investing £3.9 billion to help decarbonise homes and public sector buildings.

'We are drowning in promises'

Vanessa Nakate, pictured at a protest last month, called for leaders to 'prove activists wrong' by taking action on climate change. Image © Federico Fermeglia/Shutterstock

Youth climate activist Vanessa Nakate has demanded countries and businesses put their money where their mouth is in the fight against climate change.

Speaking at COP26, the Ugandan said that countries in the southern hemisphere would face lethal temperatures if the world warmed by over two degrees. She said the world was 'drowning in promises' from leaders, but that action was harder to come by.

'There have been 25 COPs before this one,' she said. 'And every time, leaders come to these climate negotiations with an array of new pledges, commitments and promises. And as each COP comes and goes, emissions continue to rise. This year will be no different.

'So, I hope you can understand why many of the activists who are here in Glasgow - and millions of activists who could not be here - do not see the success that is being applauded within these halls.'

She said that activists 'begged' leaders to prove them wrong, and take 'immediate and drastic action.'

'The truth is that the atmosphere doesn't care about commitments,' she said, 'it only cares about what we put into it or stop putting into it. Humanity will not be saved by promises.'

UN chief demands greater ambition from countries of the world

UN Secretary General António Guterres, pictured speaking earlier at COP26, said that the 'credibility gap' between words and actions must be bridged. Image © UNclimatechange, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

The UN Secretary General has said the world 'cannot settle for the lowest common denominator' in tackling climate change.

 António Guterres, speaking ahead of a panel on the involvement of non-state bodies in reaching net zero, said that governments 'need to pick up the pace' on providing mitigation, adaptation and finance equitably around the world.

'Climate action struggle requires all hands on deck,' he says. 'It is everyone's responsibility.'

He said he was inspired by climate activists, and that concrete action was needed now from governments, businesses and other groups around the world.

'Promises ring hollow when the fossil fuel industry receives trillions in subsidies or when countries are still building coal plants,' António Guterres said, 'or when carbon is still without a price or markets.

'Every country, city, company and financial institution must irrevocably, credibly and verifiably reduce their emissions and decarbonise their portfolios starting now.

He continued, 'The announcements here in Glasgow are encouraging but they are far from enough. The emissions gap remains a devastating threat and the finance gap represents a glaring injustice for the developing world.

'We need even more ambition in future revised Nationally Determined Contributions and we need pledges to be implemented with commitments to become concrete.

'We need to bridge the deep and real credibility gap.'

London mayor calls for more help for cities to tackle climate change

The Mayor of London has called for more powers and funding to be given to cities to help tackle climate change.

Sadiq Khan said that local communities need to be given the ability to take their own steps to keep the path of global warming on track to 1.5°C. Cities such as London are particularly at risk of flooding from climate change as a result of rising sea levels.

Speaking to Sky News, he said, 'I worry that national governments are delaying taking action which we desperately need. Unlike national governments that appear to be delayers, cities are doers, and what we have shown around the globe is that cities are taking action now.'

He referred to a study by the C40 group of the world's largest cities, which found that 54 cities around the world, including Mexico City, Melbourne and Rio de Janeiro. London is also on the list, and has recently expanded its ultra-low emissions zone.

Sadiq Khan called on leaders to devolve more powers and funding to cities and regions to tackle climate change, saying, 'Cities across the globe, including in the UK, have given governments ideas on how they can invest in solutions to climate change that create jobs and reduce fuel bills. It's frustrating that leaders across the world aren't seizing these opportunities to have a green recovery.'

Poll suggests environment is one of the top three concerns for UK residents

The UK's general public is significantly more interested in the environment than it used to be, polling has suggested.

Polling for YouGov in November found that 40% of those surveyed said that the environment was one of the top three issues facing the nation. This is the highest it has ever been on the poll, having languished at around 10% for many years before climbing steadily since 2018.

While it dropped during the early days of the pandemic, it has now rebounded. It is now on a par with the other top two topics of the economy and health, which were rated highly by 43% and 48% of the public respectively.

Another poll by the organisation found that the majority of the population are in favour of cutting carbon emissions regardless of the actions of other nations. Of 3071 adults surveyed, two thirds said the UK should cut its emissions as much as possible, which 21% said that the country should only cut as much carbon as other nations do.

The polls follow marches attended by hundreds of thousands across the country calling for action on climate change.

Countries aiming to phase out oil and gas launch alliance

A group aimed at phasing out the production of fossil fuels has officially launched at COP26.

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, led by Denmark and Costa Rica and set up earlier this year, announced new members including France, Sweden and Ireland, as well as associate members such as New Zealand.

However, the group does not number any of the world's top five oil producers – the USA, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada and China – among its members. The highest producing country of the group is Denmark, which was the 44th biggest producer of oil in 2020.

That said, the group does have the states of California and Quebec, which are parts of both the USA and Canada respectively.

The UK, Europe's second biggest producer of oil after Norway and COP26 host, said earlier this week that it would not be joining the group at this time.

COP President 'dissatisfied' with draft agreement

The President of COP26 has said he isn't satisfied with the draft climate agreement as it currently stands.

Alok Sharma MP was summarising the situation during a meeting this morning when he made the remarks, saying 'there is a lot more work to be done.'

He said, 'I'm under no illusion that any party in this room is currently satisfied with where the text [of the agreement] currently stands.

'Having listened to your interventions, I am fully aware of the breadth of your national circumstances and positions and your commitment to championing them.'

He said that he was 'concerned' over outstanding issues surrounding climate finance to fund developing nations in the face of climate change as well as agreement on how carbon markets will be established.

His comments follow criticism of the draft deal for a lack of ambition from campaigners, scientists and politicians.

Iran says it will ratify climate deal in return for end of sanctions

Iran will ratify the Paris Agreement if international sanctions against the country are lifted, the country's environmental head has said.

Ali Salajegheh told the BBC that the nation, the world's eighth largest emitter of carbon dioxide, would implement the pact to cut carbon if trade embargos by nations around the world were ended.

Iran is one of the world's largest producers of oil and gas, but has been hit by sanctions targeting the country for its record on human rights and its development of nuclear weapons. The Climate Action Tracker says that at present, Iran is on track to double its carbon emissions by 2030.

While the nation has signed up to the Paris Agreement, it is yet to ratify it and bring it into effect. Ali Salajegheh said that ending sanctions would allow Iran to receive investment in developing green infrastructure in the country.

Big names missing from cars pledge

Though China and the USA have both agreed to work together on climate change, neither was a signatory on a declaration to phase out polluting vehicles by 2040.

Nations including the UK, India and Canada were among 33 countries to say they would end the sale of non-electric and non-hydrogen vehicles by the date, with 'leading economies' vowing to stop sales by 2035.

While the USA did not sign up to the pledge, some of their regional governments did, such as New York City. American car firms such as Ford and General Motors also said they would only manufacture zero emissions vehicles by 2035 or earlier.

However, a number of big names in the automotive world were also absent. This includes Volkswagen and Toyota which are the largest manufacturers of cars in the world.

A spokesperson for Volkswagen told the BBC they were 'just being realistic' while Toyota said it was committed to providing 'the most suitable vehicles' to consumers around the world.

Morning briefing

The conference has been shaken up by a surprise announcement yesterday evening that the world's two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, China and the USA, will work together to tackle climate change.

The relationship between the two nations has been difficult lately, with US President Joe Biden having criticised China's leader Xi Jingping for not attending the conference in person last week.

However, some of these differences appear to have been put aside as the countries said they will co-operate to achieve 1.5⁰C of global warming, including by the reduction of greenhouse emissions this decade. The countries also intend to work together to develop carbon capture technology, reduce deforestation and promote green energy.

While the announcement has been welcomed, campaigners have called for its promises to become concrete action.

Meanwhile, negotiators continue work on the draft agreement while COP26 turns its attention to cities, regions and built environment as the theme of the day.

Events today, including a musical, aim to look at how local government can play its role in tackling climate change, as well as how the construction industry can reduce its carbon footprint.

Thursday November 11

Good morning, it's James Ashworth here bringing you live updates from the penultimate day of COP26.

The negotiators are still working to finalise an agreement for the conference, amid increased pressure for the world to cut back on its carbon emissions.

Boris Johnson gives press conference on return to Glasgow

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has returned to Glasgow as the COP26 negotiations draw to a close. The Prime Minister gave a press conference in which he urged fellow leaders to make a final effort, warning that failing to come to an agreement will cause an immense backlash from around the world. 

'Here in Glasgow the world is closer than it has ever been to signalling the beginning of the end of anthropogenic climate change, and it’s the greatest gift we can possibly bestow on our children and our grandchildren and generations unborn,' said Johnson. 'We just need to reach out together and grasp it.

'And so my question to my fellow world leaders this afternoon as we enter the last hours of Cop is – will you help us do that, will you help us graph that opportunity, or will you stand in the way?'

He went on to criticise countries that clapped and cheered Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley at the start of the conference, saying that they cannot now sit on their hands. 

'The backlash from people will be immense and it will be long-lasting, and frankly we will deserve their criticism and their opprobrium. Because we know what needs to be done, and we all agree what needs to be done.'

Australia accused of pushing 'green' fossil fuels at COP26

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Image © UNclimatechange, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

The Australian government has been heavily criticised for its approach at COP26, where its official stand is being sponsored by the fossil fuel company Santos. 

Patrick Walkden, is a PhD student at the Museum researching how to tackle both the climate and biodiversity crisis in tandem and is currently at COP26. 

'Australia came to COP saying that they had no intentions to close any coal power plants, or even stop the selling of coal to other countries,' says Patrick. 'They are looking at the market as an opportunity.

'As other countries scale back their coal, they are looking to ramp it up and advertise to the rest of the world that they will exploit the market.'

'The Australian pavilion is sponsored by a massive oil and gas company from Australia, and it just speaks to promoting their industry to the world. They have come here more as a trade fair than anything else.'

Australia relies heavily on coal both for domestic energy and as an export. Currently, 65% of the country's electricity comes from burning the fossil fuel, while coal is Australia's second-largest export. 

The Australian government has apparently been promoting the use of 'green' fossil fuels at COP26, which uses unproven carbon capture and storage technology to capture the carbon released from burning coal. According to Patrick, all this amounts to is 'smoke and mirrors.'

The nation refused to sign up to the pledge to phase out coal within decades and another one to reduce emissions of methane. This is despite the nation suffering devasting impacts of the climate crisis, from wildfires and heatwaves to mass coral bleaching. 

Australian resource minister, Keith Pitt, said, 'We've said very clearly, we are not closing coal mines and we're not closing coal-fired power stations. If we aren't filling that market somebody else will.

'We need to stick to the facts, Australia produces 4% of the world's thermal coal. It's some of the world's highest quality and that's why we'll continue to have markets decades into the future. And if they're buying...then we're selling.'

Even the former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has been critical of the Australian pavilion at COP26, calling the sponsorship by Santos 'a joke.'

'Look at the Australian stand – you’ve got a gas company highlighted apparently at the insistence of the energy minister, who thinks that our energy policy should be all about burning gas,' said Turnbull.

'The whole object is to stop burning fossil fuels.'

Youth activists file legal suit to the UN

Source: Shutterstock

Youth climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, have filed a legal petition to the UN secretary-general António Guterres to urge him to declare a 'system-wide climate emergency'.

The aim is to compel the UN to match the level of response they levied for the coronavirus pandemic, by declaring the climate emergency as a 'level 3 emergency'. 

This, they hope, would see technical expertise and resources moved quickly to those countries most at risk from the climate crisis.

The group contains 14 climate activists, including Ranton Anjain and Litokne Kabua from the Marshall Islands, Ridhima Pandey from India, Alexandria Villaseñor from the US, Ayakha Melithafa from South Africa and Greta Thunberg from Sweden. 

The petition has already been received by the UN and is currently under review, although a spokesperson for Guterres has refused to say whether or not it will be implemented. 

COP26 President Alok Sharma to address the conference

Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, will address delegates today at 12:30 GMT in the wake of the initial first COP26 draft which was published this morning. 

First reactions to COP26 draft deal

With the draft COP26 deal published early this morning, there has been some immediate reaction to what is currently suggested. It should probably come as no surprise that most of this has been critical. 

Ed Miliband MP, the UK shadow business secretary has said:

The last 24 hours have been a devastating reality check on what has actually been delivered at this summit. We are miles from where we need to be to halve global emissions this decade. Today, Boris Johnson needs to stop the spin and confront the reality. Given this summit will not deliver anything like what we needed, now he has to turn to plotting a path out of Glasgow that can keep 1.5C alive.

While the executive director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan, has also been pulling no punches:

This draft deal is not a plan to solve the climate crisis, it’s an agreement that we’ll all cross our fingers and hope for the best. It’s a polite request that countries maybe, possibly, do more next year. Well, that’s not good enough and the negotiators shouldn’t even think about leaving this city until they’ve agreed a deal that meets the moment. Because most assuredly, this one does not.

COP26 draft published overnight

A draft for the COP26 negotiations has been published overnight. 

It is urging countries to strengthen their 2030 targets by the end of next year in a bid to close the emissions gap which, according to analysis of current pledges, will see the planet warming by between 1.8 - 2.4C, well above the stated goal of limiting warming to 1.5C. 

Despite this, however, the draft only refers to the Paris climate agreement. This aimed to keep warming to below 2C rather than the 1.5C which has been the main talking point these last two weeks. This will be certain to attract a large amount of criticism throughout the day. 

It states that countries should agree to phase out the use of coal and subsidies for other fossil fuels. This is possibly the first time that a UN agreement has acknowledged the central role of fossil fuels in the climate crisis, but is in stark contrast to yesterday when many of the richest countries refused to sign a commitment to phase out coal.

The draft document has also noted that developed countries need to step up their commitment to the climate finance fund for adaptation, saying that it is currently insufficient and needs to be scaled up.

This draft will form the basis of the negotiations over the next few days, as delegates drill down into the finer details of the document. 

Morning briefing

As we enter the last few days of COP26 expect the news to pick up a little as world leaders return and deals are finalised. 

The key headlines this morning:

  • Overnight, a draft COP26 deal was published. There hasn't been enough time for experts to read it in detail yet, so expect plenty of updates throughout the day. But standout passages refer to the phasing out of fossil fuels, keeping warming to the Paris target of 1.5C and criticising countries on failing to meet the $100bn climate finance fund. 
  • It has also been announced that a leaders have committed to an annual global checkpoint process, which will review high-emitting sectors annually. 
  • Boris Johnson has returned to Glasgow and is expected to give a speech at 16.30GMT.
  • Today will focus on transport, with the agenda including a focus on increasing the uptake of electric vehicles, the establishment of 'green shipping corridors' and sustainable aviation. 

Wednesday 10 November

Good morning, it's Josh Davis here covering the live blogs this morning. 

As we turn the corner on the home straight, I'll be keep you all up to date with all the key headlines that come out of COP26 today. 

Boris Johnson returning to COP26 negotiations

Downing Street has announced that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will return to Glasgow and rejoin the negotiations tomorrow. 

A Number 10 spokesperson said:

The prime minister is going up to meet negotiators, to get an update on progress in the talks and encourage ambitious action in the final days of the negotiations.

On the brighter side...

While today at COP26 has made for quite depressing reading, there have been some positive announcements.

Mission Innovation, a coalition of 23 governments, announced it would invest into research for carbon capture and the production of renewable fuels.

Meanwhile, the Adaptation Research Alliance has been launched, which sees 90 organisations work together to increase resilience against climate change. A programme aimed at adapting to rising temperatures has been launched alongside it, with the UK and Canada investing in support for the communities most at risk of extreme weather.

Outside research, 47 countries are committing to adapting their health systems to withstand the impact of climate change, while reducing their impact on it. 12 countries have already committed to a net-zero health system by 2050 or earlier.

Quarter of all emissions may go unreported

While an analysis suggesting the world is on track for 2.4⁰C of warming is sobering, an investigation by The Washington Post suggests the situation could be even more severe.

They found that a number of countries were significantly under-reporting their emissions to the UN. For instance, the newspaper found that Malaysia claimed its forests are four times as efficient at absorbing carbon as similar areas in neighbouring Indonesia, which reduced its net emissions by three quarters.

Cumulatively, the investigation suggests that the gap could be as large as a quarter of the entire planet's emissions. The UN has said it is working to improve the capacity of nations to report their emissions more accurately.

World heading towards 2.4⁰C if climate targets aren't improved

Scientists say that Glasgow has narrowed the emissions gap between the 1.5⁰C pathway and reality by 15-17%, but that more ambitious cuts will be needed to get to the climate target. Image © Climate Action Tracker

The world is paying 'lip service' to 1.5⁰C, a new analysis has warned, which predicts the world is heading towards 2.4⁰C of warming if countries don't improve their current pledges.

The Climate Action Tracker, an independent scientific analysis of the climate policies of the world, calculated that this level would be hit by 2100 if nations continue on their short-term paths.

Dr Bill Hare, the founder of Climate Analytics which carried out the analysis, said, 'It's all very well for leaders to claim they have a net zero target, but if they have no plans as to how to get there, and their 2030 targets are as low as so many of them are, then frankly these net zero targets are just lip service to real climate action. Glasgow has a serious credibility gap.'

In line with a study released last week, the analysis found longer-term 'optimistic' targets that nations have committed to will bring the rise down to 1.8⁰C, which is still above the 1.5⁰C goal that is critical to avoiding the worst of climate change.

Professor Niklas Höhne, the founder of NewClimate which was also involved in the analysis, said, 'Not a single country has the short term action planned to take them to net-zero. Assuming all countries take all the steps they have put on the table, we will emit roughly twice as much as we should in 2030 if we want to get to 1.5⁰C.

'All countries have to go back and rethink what they can do. The only way to do that is to go into emergency mode and do something substantially different.'

He called on the nations of the world to update their targets annually, rather than every five years as the Paris Agreement currently stipulates.

UK will not join group aiming to phase out fossil fuels

The UK will not join a group seeking to set a date for the end of oil and gas.

Bloomberg reports that the country's government will not join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, which seeks to phase out the production of fossil fuels. Led by Denmark and Costa Rica and set up earlier this year, the alliance is expected to announce new members tomorrow.

However, the UK has said it will continue to use oil and gas over the coming years to prevent energy shortages while new renewable sources come online.

The sector is also a profitable one for the government, which makes billions of pounds from North Sea oil drilling. Though revenue has been falling over time, in 2018/2019, the last year unaffected by Covid, it made just under £1.2 billion.

The UK Government has committed to decarbonising the North Sea oil fields with a plan to reduce production emissions by 50% in the next decade and invest in the development of carbon capture technologies, which are yet to be rolled out at a large scale globally. 

Pelosi urges world to invest in women

Nancy Pelosi is attending COP26 along with a US congressional delegation. Image © UN Climate Change

US Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that climate change is the 'existential threat of our time' and 

As part of discussions on COP26's gender day, she said that climate change amplified existing inequalities in society and in the economy which must be tackled.

In the USA, she said that changes in the economy such as medical leave would 'liberate women to play a more important role.'

She added that if she could change one thing in the world, she would invest in the education and empowerment of women and girls.

'It makes all the difference in the world not just to those women but to their families, communities and the world,' she says.

Her address follows US President Joe Biden announcing a number of climate actions his country would take while attending COP26 last week.

'The world should think like women'

Indigenous women see the impact of climate change daily, Angelica Ponce said. Image © UN Climate Change

Indigenous women have called for their inclusion in decision-making processes.

The director of the climate organistion the Plurinational Authority of Mother Earth, Angelica Ponce, said that women 'want to be in the corridors of power.'

The Bolivian described seeing the impacts of global warming first hand, saying, 'As Indigenous women, we live day by day in the cruel reality of climate change in our land. We are the ones which harvest our crops, feed our families and look after our medicinal plants.'

She said that involving women in decision-making would transform policy decisions, continuing, 'Our great promise as women should be to struggle together and create alliances so the rest of the world thinks as we do, as we are sensitive to nature. We should recognise that the world as designed by men has destroyed many things and the world should begin thinking like women.

'At the moment, the world is divided and many of us are forgotten. We don't want this. We have the same rights as everyone and I think it's very important that women become part of political decisions.'

Climate change will stop the education of 4 million girls

The President of COP26 has said that efforts to tackle climate change must also combat gender inequality.

Alok Sharma MP was speaking during a panel aimed at 'Advancing Gender Equality in Climate Action'.

He said that 4 million girls will be unable to complete their education this year due to climate action, describing it as 'an absolute travesty.'

'Gender and climate are profoundly intertwined,' he says. 'We know that the impact of climate change affects women and girls disproportionately.'

Announcing a number of investments by the UK, he added, 'equality cannot be a casualty of climate.'

Climate change 'amplifies gender inequality'

Little Amal depicts a 10-year-old refugee girl, and brought a bag of seeds to represent hope for women and girls. Image © UN Climate Change

Female climate activists have called for more women to be involved in making decisions about the future of the world.

Samoan campaigner Brianna Fruean took to the stage alongside the puppet Little Amal to call for gender equality to be made a key objective of climate action.

She said that the impact of climate change on women and girls 'will amplify already existing societal inequalities.'

Referencing a bag of seeds brought by Little Amal, she called on negotiators to 'plant hope that will turn into justice and plant seeds that will turn into change,' adding: 'These seeds will not grow without work.'

Denmark leads the world in tackling climate change, report finds

Scandinavia, the UK and Morocco are the leaders in cutting their impact on climate change, a report has found.

The Climate Change Performance Index, compiled annually by a group of NGOs, saw Denmark claim the highest rank for 2022 followed by Sweden and Norway. No country was deemed to be worthy of a place in the top three, which requires high performance across areas including greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy.

The UK was placed seventh on the list, receiving the highest score for cutting its greenhouse gas emissions. However, it was downgraded on its renewable energy rank, with the report's authors calling for greater detail on energy efficiency and the use of carbon credits going forward.

Among other major polluters, India remained in 10th, while China fell four places to 37th amid its decision to continue building domestic coal power stations. Australia, which has been criticised for its decision to continue using fossil fuels on the route to net zero, was said to have 'fallen behind' other countries as it dropped to 58th.

Meanwhile, the USA climbed six places to 55, but remained in the very low category. The authors noted that 'political divisions in Congress remain a substantial barrier to implementing any ambitious national policies' on climate in the country.

While the report covers nations responsible for over 92% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it has a number of issues. It covers just four African nations, as well as having significant gaps in its coverage of South America and southeast Asia.

How will net-zero change the world?

Museum scientists have been at COP26 offering their expertise on the latest announcements coming out of the conference.

The Head of Earth Sciences, Professor Richard Herrington, is set to lend his insight to a panel discussing the future of investment, innovation and influence as the world moves from fossil fuels to other forms of energy.

You can listen in to his thoughts as part of a discussion hosted by The New York Times, which starts in 20 minutes time at 11am GMT. You can watch it live on the NYT YouTube channel.

A billion will face 'extreme heat' with 2⁰C temperature rise

The Met Office also modelled the impacts of a 4⁰C temperature rise, which are displayed in this map. Image © Met Office

The UK's Met Office has warned that over a billion people could face extreme heat stress if the climate warms by two degrees.

The national weather service has released a report warning of the impact of climate change, looking at the areas of the world which could regularly hit 32⁰C or higher. Nations in Africa and South America are among some of the worst affected, as well as India and China which are home to almost a third of the world's population between them.

At these temperatures, outdoor workers and vulnerable people, as well as the young and old, will be at 'extreme risk' of damaging health effects. There are also risks of greater flooding, wildfires, droughts and crop failure under the high heats.

Dr Andy Wiltshire, the head of Earth System and Mitigation Science at the Met Office, says, 'Any one of the climate impacts presents a scary vision of the future. But, of course, severe climate change will drive many impacts, and our maps show that some regions will be affected by multiple factors.

'Perhaps unsurprisingly, parts of the tropics are most affected with countries like Brazil and Ethiopia potentially facing impacts from four of the hazards. Rapid emission reductions are required if we are to avoid worst consequences of unmitigated climate change.'

Morning briefing

A variety of events are on the agenda today at COP26, with many focusing on the themes of gender, science and innovation.

Gender equality is set to be promoted through the spending of £165 million by the UK Government on getting more women and girls involved with taking climate action. While roughly half the world's population is female, women are likely to be disproportionately affected by climate change.

Issues of female representation also extend to official bodies. For instance, most of the organisations established by the UN to monitor and tackle climate change do not have gender parity, and in some cases as little as 15% of their membership may be female.

The majority of the UK's funding is to be spent in Bangladesh, where £120 million will be spent to support women's leadership and education as well as other green initiatives. Meanwhile, up to £45 million will be spent on women's groups and local communities in Asia and Pacific nations to tackle gender inequality.

There will also be an announcement of a policy commitment by the Foreign Office to develop a girls' education and climate policy to promote positive action in nations around the world.

Today will also see Little Amal, a 3.5 metre tall puppet, arrive in Glasgow after beginning its journey from the Turkey/Syrian border. The puppet, which represents a 10-year-old refugee, is making the journey from Manchester to the summit to be part of the UK's Gender Day event.

A number of prominent female leaders are also due to speak, including climate activist Brianna Fruean, US Politician Nancy Pelosi and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 

Tuesday 9 November

Good morning , it's James Ashworth covering COP26 today as the climate summit heads into its final days.

Today's theme at the conference is not one, but two. The first is gender, which aims to promote gender equality and the participation of women and girls in climate action. The second is science and innovation, which looks at how science and technology can bring new approaches to help limit global warming. 

Fashion charter calls for brands to reach net zero faster

A new Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action has been launched by the UNFCCC.

The fast fashion industry is a major part of the climate problem, contributing huge amounts to global emissions and often posing a threat to biodiversity across the world.

The purpose of the charter is to bring the fashion industry along on the world's journey to net zero.

The charter was launched in 2018 but has been strengthened for COP26.

It calls for companies to set science-based targets or to half their emissions by 2030. It also calls for companies to eliminate coal from their supply chains by 2030, and recognises most brands' climate footprints are embedded in their supply chains.

Signatories include Adidas, Burberry, Chanel, H&M Group and Nike.

Hear from Museum scientists at COP

Riches from extractive activities and access to resources have been the lifeblood of international order in the twentieth century. Now, sources of influence are changing, and international competition is not about getting the most resources, but rather the best resources.

As the world moves away from fossil fuels, what new types of influence and innovation will emerge?

Hear Museum scientist Richard Herrington speak on this topic during a panel disucssion from The New York Times. It's tomorrow (9 November) at 11.00 GMT and you can watch on the NYT YouTube channel.

Barak Obama: 'We can't afford anybody on the sidelines'

Barak Obama has criticised a lack of international co-operation on climate, saying he was disappointed that leaders from China and Russia declined to attend the summit.

He said not enough had been done since the Paris Agreement six years ago: 'We are nowhere near where we need to be yet. Most countries have failed to meet the action plans they set six years ago.'

He added that 85% of the global population has experienced weather events that were more severe because of climate change, and parts of the world are becoming more dangerous to live in.

He said, 'Not only did we not hit all our targets that were pledged. Paris was supposed to only the beginning, not the end point, of our joint effort to control climate change.

'Paris were designed to be a framework for countries to constantly rachet up their ambitions.'

On co-operation, Obama said, 'We need advanced economies leading on this issue. We also need China and India and Russia leading on this issue…we can't afford anybody on the sidelines.

'I recognise we're living in a moment where international co-operation has waned, a moment of greater geopolitical tension.'

He cited the rise of nationalism around the world, but said climate change should transcend day-to-day politics and called on citizens to push governments and companies to meet the climate challenge.

Baraka Obama starts second speech

Former President Barack Obama is speaking again.

He was introduced by Sheila Jack Babauta, a politician who was born and raised in the Mariana Islands, next to the Mariana Trench, the deepest point of the world's ocean.

She reminded listeners that Indigenous communities are the first stewards of the land and ocean.

She said, 'We are not passive victims. I am here to amplify the voices of those who live on the front lines. On my island storms are now unpredictable and frequently turn into super typhoons, strong enough to impact our economy, destroy our homes and create fear.'

More than 500 reps from fossil fuel companies have attended COP


Analysis has shown today that more than 500 delegates representing fossil fuel companies have attended the climate summit. It means the sector has a bigger delegation than any single country.

The Press Association reported that 503 people are either directly affiliated with fossil fuel companies or are part of country delegations but are affiliated to oil, gas or coal firms.

The analysis was completed by campaigners at Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), Glasgow Calls Out Polluters and Global Witness.

Young activists have also complained at their lack of access to the summit.

COP26 President Aolk Sharma and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UNFCC, were challenged on both points at a press conference this lunchtime.

Sharma said, 'It is up to parties and observers who gets accredited as part of their delegation.'

On the point about lack of access for young people, he added, 'We are restricting numbers in rooms because of Covid safety. We have tried to ensure the process is as inclusive as possible.'

Espinosa said the UNFCC doesn't have a formal partnership with fossil fuel companies. However parties may accredit people who linked to the industry. She said, 'It is the sovereign right of every government to accredit…the persons it deems appropriate.'

'Having said that…we always say this is an inclusive process. The process of transformation we need to see requires transformation in that’s sector, it requires a just transition everywhere in the world.'

First draft of the Glasgow final decision text is critiqued

Countries are hoping to agree a summary document for the end of the summit setting out discussions and pledges, and a first draft has been produced by published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The campaigning network Greenpeace has responded to it, calling it 'exceptionally weak'.

In a statement, the organisation said the document 'completely fails to mention fossil fuels, despite expert consensus on the need to end new coal, oil and gas immediately'.

They added, 'Campaigners are gravely concerned because ordinarily, the first draft of a COP text is relatively ambitious, and becomes weaker over the second week as countries work in caveats for themselves. For the first draft to be so weak does not bode well.'

Barack Obama - every degree counts for island nations

BBC Science Editor David Shukman captures Barack Obama's arrival.

Barack Obama has delivered a speech at a COP26 event, calling out the dangers posed to island nations across the world. He said islands are the 'canary in the coal mine' for action on climate.

The former US President said 'every degree counts' when it comes to mitigating global warming.

Morning briefing

The agenda for today includes meetings about loss and damage caused by climate change, which the world's poorest nations are likely to bear the brunt of.

Former US President Barak Obama is also on the bill, due to give a speech this afternoon.

Ahead of the day's action, the UK Government announced a pledge of £290 million from the foreign aid budget to help poorer countries cope with the fallout of climate change.

£274 million of it will be earmarked to help countries across Asia and the Pacific plan and invest in climate action, improve conservation and deliver low carbon development.

Developing countries have previously said they'd need closer in the region of $100 billion per year in climate finance to help them adapt for the future and reduce their own emissions.

This sum was promised by wealthy countries more than a decade ago, but the plans to have it in place by 2020 have fallen short.

Monday 8 November

Good morning everyone, it's Katie Pavid updating the blog today as we enter the second week of the COP26 climate summit.

Today's theme is adaptation, loss and damage.

'Last chance to solve a very serious crisis'

Presenter and conservationist has been speaking to Museum colleagues in Glasgow, and called for leaders to roll out solutions to the planetary crisis with urgency. 

Catch up on this week's headlines

It's been a busy week at COP. Contributor James Ashworth has produced a short run-down of the biggest headlines. Read the summary of COP's first week.

Morning briefing

Yesterday saw citizens across the UK take to the streets in protest, seeking to put pressure on leaders' negotiations behind the closed doors of Glasgow's conference rooms.

In Glasgow, thousands marched across the city centre to voice their concerns at historic climate inaction on the Global Day for Climate Justice. Others attended protests in their home cities, including London and Bristol.

Today, announcements are expected to be few and far between, as the middle Sunday during COP is a rest day for delegates.


Sunday 7 November

Good morning, it's Katie Pavid in London here this morning and I'll be taking you through today's headlines from the summit, with my colleague Josh Davis in Glasgow.

''Nature and climate are interlinked'

Alok Sharma MP held a press conference to update on discussions at COP26. Image © UNclimatechange, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

The COP26 President has announced that 134 countries, representing 91% of the world's forests, have signed up to end deforestation by 2030.

Alok Sharma MP made the announcement during today's press conference, where he warned of the impacts climate change could have on biodiversity, noting that 68% of global wildlife populations have been lost since 1970.

'Nature and climate are interlinked and both our people and our surroundings are facing the very real impact of rising temperatures,' he said. 'As an example, if we reach global warming of 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels, 70% of our coral reefs are lost. If we get to 2⁰C, they are gone.'

He said that the UK was committing £500 million to protect over five million hectares of tropical rainforest, as well as a £65 programme to help rural farmers become more sustainable.

Bringing his comments to a close, he said that he 'expects negotiators to close as many items as possible' over the coming days, though noted that issues such as climate finance would still need to be confirmed by ministers.

Thousands march for climate action

Marches for the Global Day of Climate Action are now well underway in many major cities around the world.

Those in Glasgow will soon be arriving in Glasgow Green where a rally is expected to be held.

Celebrities call for action on climate change

Along with Emma Watson leaving climate activism books around Glasgow, plenty of other famous faces have been in and around COP26.

Josh Davis caught up with singer Ellie Goulding to discuss what inspires her in the natural world

Global marches begin

Protests are beginning all over the world to mark the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, which was named by the COP26 Coalition.

It says more than 250 protests will take place around the world to mark the occasion, such as this one in the Netherlands.

What's happening at COP26 today?

A number of events are set to take place this Saturday as negotiations continue in Glasgow. 

This morning, Indigneous knowledge holders have been sharing their views with the technical body that provides scientific advice at the event. This is in addition to less technical events, such as a meeting looking at how football can promote climate action.

Elsewhere, informal negotiations on climate finance are also taking place, with funding for developing countries to protect themselves from and adapt to climate change having proved one of the sticking points of previous climate negotiations.

This afternoon, it is time for Monaco, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the UK to face the music when they undergo the process of multilateral assessment. This is where the countries will be judged on how well they are keeping the climate targets they committed to in 2020. 

At 13:45, there is also due to be a press conference, though the topic is not yet known. 

These events are just a few of the countless number taking place at COP26 today as work continues to bring the world closer to 1.5⁰C of warming.

Morning briefing

Though it might be the weekend, negotiations continue at the climate summit as COP26 moves into a day themed around nature.

Once again, however, the biggest announcements for today's activities focus on events taking place outside the SEC.

Today has been named as the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice by the COP26 Coalition, a partnership formed of a diverse range of groups. It says more than 250 protests will take place around the world later today to mark the occasion.

In Glasgow, the march will once again begin in Kelvingrove Park at 12:30. It will then proceed to Glasgow Green via George Square, with tens of thousands expected to attend. Speeches are then expected on the green from 15:00, with Greta Thunberg likely to take to the stage once again.

Meanwhile, five of the UK's largest supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Co-op and Marks & Spencers – have said they will work to halve their environmental impact by 2030. They aim to reduce their carbon emissions, non-recyclable packaging and impact on deforestation to achieve this, with their progress to be monitored by the WWF.  

Saturday 6 November

Good morning, it's James Ashworth here in London and Josh Davis in Glasgow with the Museum's live coverage of COP26 as we head into the first weekend of negotiation.

Follow along with us for a summary of the headlines and we'll also try to answer your questions, which you can submit via Twitter.

UN report finds world will miss 1.5⁰C rise target in 2030

The world is currently set to miss its 2030 emissions targets, a new UN report has found.

Following more optimistic reports that the world is set to warm below 2⁰C for the first time, the report from the UN Climate Change Secretariat says that total greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 will have increased by 13.7% from 2010.

In order to keep the world to 1.5⁰C of warming, this figure needs to have fallen by around 50% within the decade.

The figures are based on the emission cutting plans submitted by countries under the Paris Agreement to date.

Protest winding down

Youth climate activists are now leaving George Square

The speeches in George Square are now winding down, with the event having started in Kelvingrove Park this morning.

Our reporter on the ground says that the activists may be back again tomorrow as another protest is planned.

Greta Thunberg takes to the stage

Climate activist Greta Thunberg began the Fridays for Future group, which organised the event today

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has taken to the stage following Vanessa Nakate.

Addressing the crowds, she criticises world leaders, saying, 'It is not a secret that COP is a failure it is not a secret that we can solve the crisis with the same message. The leaders are not doing nothing. They are actively creating loopholes to carry on making a profit.

'The COP has turned into a PR event to give fancy speakers. The leaders of the northern countries are taking no action, they are maintaining the status quo. This is no longer a climate conference, but a greenwash.'

Accusing rich countries of seeking to prioritise their economies over climate change, she continues, 'It's much easier for them to ignore the historic debt that most effects people in the southern areas. What are we fighting for? To save ourselves and the planet, or try maintain business as usual? Our leaders think we can do both but this is not possible.

'History will judge then poorly and we will not accept it. We don't need any more empty promises, yet that is all we are getting. They have had decades of "blah blah blah" and where has that got us.

'Time and time again the media has failed to hold them to their actions. This is shameful. Out here we speak the truth. The people in power are scared of it, but they cannot escape it. They cannot ignore us. We are tired of their "blah blah blah."

'Our leaders are not leading, this [climate activism] is what leadership looks like.'

Nakate addresses the crowds

Vanessa Nakate gives her speech in Glasgow

Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate is now speaking to the activists in George Square.

She says, 'People are dying, children are dropping out of school, farms are dying. We are in a crisis, we are in a disaster every day.'

Vanessa adds that Africa is being disproportionately affected by climate change, despite being responsible for a very small amount of climate emissions.

'Today we shall continue to fight,' she says. 'We cannot give up now, we cannot stop holding leaders to account. No action is too small to make a difference, no voice is too small.'

Speeches in the square

Speeches are being given in George Square while COP26 negotiators work across the city

Activists are watching as Colombian activists take to the stage in George Square, highlighting climate activists who have been murdered while campaigning for change and calling for justice for them.

According to a UN report, Colombia is at high risk from climate change, as its residents live mostly in the mountains and on the coasts where they are at risk of extreme weather. 

However, in the past year, 65 Colombian land and environmental campaigners have been murdered according to campaign group Global Witness.


Australian activism

Australia hopes to hit net-zero while still supporting its fossil fuel industry

These activists are calling for actions to reduce Australia's reliance on fossil fuels. At present, 65% of the nation's electricity comes from coal, which is also its second largest export.

While the country has committed to net-zero, the country has said it will not reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, instead focusing on investment in technologies such as carbon capture and storage. While it is hoped this technology will play a significant part in the fight against climate change, it is yet to be rolled out at a large scale globally. 

George Square speeches

Activists have gathered in George Sqaure for speeches from campaigners including Greta Thunberg and other speakers from all over the world

Josh Davis is in George Square now following the march through Glasgow.

Youth climate activists march in Glasgow

Climate activists have marched through Glasgow to demand leaders commit to limiting the effects of climate change by transitioning to a greener future.

The march went from Kelvingrove Park to George Square after beginning this morning, with crowds now gathering for speeches in the square. Among those at the march is campaigner Greta Thunberg, whose Fridays for Future movement began with her school strikes in 2018.

Josh is at the event and will be bringing us the highlights as they happen.

Harry Potter star hides books around Glasgow to promote climate activism

Though COP26 may be making decisions based on science, a touch of magic is being brought to Glasgow by a Harry Potter actor.

Emma Watson, best known for playing Hermione Granger in the films, is hiding books around the city as part of a national campaign by the 'Book Fairies'.

As part of their COP26 initiative, the group are hiding over 300 books around the UK discussing climate activism, with Emma Watson secreting titles including Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui and The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde.

The books are free to anyone who finds them, while the full reading list is available online for members of the public who miss out.

The Book Fairies were set up in March 2017 for individuals to share their favourite books with strangers and currently has around 9000 members across 100 countries.

Catch up on the week's headlines

As COP26 heads into its fifth day, find our roundup of the week's headlines by clicking here, including:

  • World in uncharted territory
  • Queen warns 'time for words has moved on'
  • India commits to net-zero emissions
  • Methane to be slashed in the next nine years
  • Green technology to be made more accessible
  • Small territories to join the Paris Agreement
  • 85% of the world's forests to be protected by 2030
  • New ocean sanctuary to be one of the largest in the world

Rich are hindering efforts to limit global warming, report suggests

The world's richest people may drive efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C off course, a report has suggested.

A joint paper by the Institute for European Environmental Policy and the charity Oxfam found that the richest 1% are set to have emissions almost 30 times the amount each person should have by 2030.

They are estimated to each produce around 67.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year in a decade's time through activities such as using superyachts, owning large houses and even space tourism. This amount is much higher than the 2.2 tonnes per person that the world should be moving towards.

The report describes the current disparity as 'untenable', warning that a failure by the rich to cut their emissions will either lead to global warming of over the 1.5°C target, or require deeper cuts by everyone else. 'There is no other alternative,' the authors add.

The greatest emissions cuts in the next decade are expected to come from the middle classes, who will reduce their emissions by around 10% but still be over the 2.2 tonne limit. Meanwhile, the poorest 50% of the world will increase their emissions by 17% and still be under the target.

Morning briefing

Today is youth and public empowerment day at COP26, which aims to focus on how young people can help fight climate change.

Inside the summit, the UK Government has announced a series of steps aimed at climate change in schools. A Duke of Edinburgh-style award named the Climate Leaders award will be created to improve knowledge of sustainability and biodiversity.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi also told the BBC that efforts to help schools decarbonise will see the piloting of 'energy pods' to replace gas-fired boilers, and that all future school buildings will be net-zero over the course of their lifetime.

In addition to the conference itself, many eyes are looking outside the venue to a large youth climate march in Glasgow.

Thousands of young people are expected to join the march alongside climate activist Greta Thunberg. She has also invited striking council workers in Glasgow to join the march, tweeting that 'climate justice also means social justice.'

The march will go from Kelvingrove Park to George Square and is due to begin at 11am. 

Friday 5 November

Good morning, it's James Ashworth here in London and Josh Davis in Glasgow with the Museum's live coverage of COP26.

Follow along with us for a summary of the headlines and we'll also try to answer your questions, which you can submit via Twitter.

Emissions will rebound after pandemic, study finds

Carbon dioxide emissions fell during the Covid-19 pandemic but will rebound back to their previous levels, a study has found.

Fossil fuel emissions fell by 5.4% in 2020 as the pandemic kept the world at home. However, a report released by the Global Carbon Project predicts they will rise by 4.9% this year.

Chinese coal use was a particularly large driver of the global rebound. 

The study is not yet peer-reviewed.

West Papua launches first ever 'green state'

Indigenous leaders in West Papua have released a Green State vision for 'making peace with nature in the twenty-first century'.

Thy say they will be driven by the needs of society and the environment, and not the economy.

The plan also involves making ecocide a criminal offence, offering asistance to Pacific Islanders affected by climate change, and devolving guardianshhip of the natural environment to Indigenous communities.

The document states, 'The Green State will combine features of the modern democratic State with this customary and community based approach.'

West Papua is covered in virgin rainforest that is under threat from land use change.


Indigenous voices 'don't have a seat at the table', says leader

The leader of Indigenous Environmental Network, Tom Goldtooth, told The Independent that Indigenous People remain at the fringes of COP events.

He also criticised carbon offsetting schemes, calling them a 'new form of colonialism'. Carbon offsetting allows business and individuals to buy carbon credits that 'compensate' for your emissions. For instance, companies may invest in tree planting schemes that reduce carbon in the atmosphere to make up for their own greenhouse gas emissions.

Tom Goldtooth says, 'It allows polluters to buy and sell permits to pollute instead of cutting emissions at the source. It lets governments and corporations pretend they are doing something about climate change, when they are not.

'In our traditional knowledge we know that we cannot own the sky, we cannot trade Mother Earth in a market system.'

The news comes the day after Indigenous islanders marched on COP in protest at their homes sinking due to climate change.

Groups from Panama, Amazonia, Patagonia, Alaska and the wider USA were joined by activists in the streets of Glasgow.

Fridays for Future protest planned tomorrow

A huge protest will take place in central Glasgow tomorrow.

Starting at Kelvingrove Park at 11am, thousands of people are set to march through the city streets.

Greta Thunberg has confirmed her attendance, alongside young activists from all over the world. Council workers striking over pay and conditions are also expected to attend.

Hear from Museum scientists

Museum scientists are in Glasgow to discuss the impacts of COP26 pledges and promises.

The Museum is collaborating with The New York Times Climate Hub – a physical and virtual space where influential leaders and thinkers join forces with the wider community to debate, discuss and discover actionable climate strategies.

This morning, Professor Andy Purvis, who is researching the biodiversity crisis, is in the NYT Forum discusing biodiversity and green finance. His session starts at 11.00 GMT and you can watch it online.

Emissions pledges could keep warming to 1.8C

The International Energy Agency says that all emissions pledges so far, if governments stick to them, could limit global warming to 1.8C above pre-industrial temperatures.

Countries pledge to phase out coal for the first time

Eighteen countries have committed for the first time to phase out coal power. They have also promised to stop building and investing in new coal power projects, the UK government has said.

Big coal-using countries including Poland, Vietnam and Chile are included in the pledge.

However, there are some notable countries missing, including Australia and the US.

Twenty-eight new members have also signed up to the world’s largest alliance on phasing out coal, the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA).

It takes the total PPCA membership to 165 countries, cities, regions and businesses.

Notable new additions include Ukraine, a major coal user which has now committed to end coal power by 2035, and Singapore, the first country in Asia to join.

Morning briefing

It's energy day at COP26, which means countries will declare their efforts to phase out coal use, one of the worst contributors to greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

A global transition to green energy is vital if the world is to stop the worst effects of climate change, so deals announced today could be huge milestones in the negotiations.

Thursday 4 November

Good morning and welcome to the Museum's live blog. Katie Pavid in London and Josh Davis in Glasgow will be bringing you all the updates from the conference.

South Africa to recieve funding to end reliance on coal

In what has been called by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa a 'watershed moment', the US, UK and EU have agreed to a deal that will see £6.2bn worth of funding given to the nation to help end its reliance on coal. 

South Africa is currently the 12th largest emitter of carbon dioxide as it generates 80% of its electricity by burning coal.  

The new deal will help the nation ease off of the fossil fuel much quicker than was already planned, a move seen as a big moment not only for cutting carbon emissions but also in helping to radically improve the air pollution that currently hangs over much of the country. 

Interestingly, Indonesia has also raised the possibility that if a similar deal was struck they could phase out the use of coal by 2040.  

Police seize the Loch Ness monster

Away from the main proceedings going on at COP26, in which delegates have been discussing how to finance the transition away from fossil fuels, police have apparently been arresting the Loch Ness monster. 

Videos have been posted on social media showing the police seizing an inflatable Loch Ness monster, which campaigners were planning on floating down the River Clyde which runs through Glasgow and past the climate conference. 

India's pledge puts world on track for under 2°C of warming for the first time

Image: Climate Resource

At the beginning of the week India, for the first time, declared a target for net-zero emissions, which it aims to achieve by 2070. 

While much of the initial reaction to the pledge was of dismay as most science now suggests that we need to reach net-zero by 2050 to limit warming to below 1.5°C, new analysis shows that it might still make a difference. 

The University of Melbourne has been looking at the numbers, and by their calculations India's pledge could be enough to bring the world's emissions trajectory to below 2°C for the first time. 

This is still well above the 1.5°C needed to limit the devastating effects of climate change, but it is also a significant moment and offers a glimmer of hope.   

Fossil fuel finance

The major talking point this morning has been the UK chancellor Rishi Sunak giving a speech about the UK's plans to move the financial system towards net-zero. 

He has announced that the UK will become the 'first-ever net-zero aligned global financial centre'. Sunak says that companies will have a mandatory duty to disclose how they will meet the net-zero targets. This will include 450 firms controlling 40% of global assets, which is equivalent to around £95tn. 

But already, these plans have come up against strong criticism. While firms may have to disclose their plans for net-zero, Sunak is not making it mandatory for them to actually meet these targets. 

Sunak also told the audience that the G20 will hit the target of $100bn a year for climate finance for developing countries, but he failed to give a timeframe for when this will be. In the lead-up to COP26, it was noted that this fund was $20bn short. 

Morning briefing

We are onto day three of COP26 which, as I'm sure many of you know by now, is currently taking place in Glasgow.

Here are the main headlines from the past 24 hours:

The majority of big UK firms and financial institutions will now be forced to show how they are intending to move to a low-carbon future. This will in theory mean that, for example, bank loans that would have gone to an oil field will now be diverted to renewable energy. 

Panama, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica have committed to creating the Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor initiative, which will be one single, interconnected area of marine reserves. Covering more than 500,000 square kilometres, it will be one of the largest protected areas in the world. 

US president Joe Biden gave a final speech before leaving the conference. In it, he hailed the progress already made, while also criticising leaders such as Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin for not attending.

Indigenous activists have condemned COP26 for putting 'big business' above the lives of environmental and land rights defenders. They have called the conference a 'continuation of colonialism' as indigenous voices have been shut out of the discussions. 

Wednesday 3 November

Good morning, it's Josh Davis here with the Museum's live coverage of COP26 as it moves into its third full day of negotiations. 

Follow along with us for a summary of the headlines and we'll also try to answer your questions, which you can submit via Twitter.

Also, please let us know what you think of the live blog - what you like and what can be improved!

Prime Minister 'cautiously optimistic' on summit

Following his comments at the weekend, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the opening days of COP26 have boosted confidence in tackling climate change.

Speaking at a press conference, the Prime Minister spoke about the successes of COP26 so far, comparing it to a game of football.

'If this was a football match, we would be 5-1 down in humanity's match against climate change,' he said. 'We've pulled back a goal, perhaps two, and I hope we can take this to extra time.'

He addressed concerns that developing countries were not receiving enough funding, noting that 'the developed world will still be late to £100 billion a year target.'

'Countries are going to have to do more,' Boris Johnson said. 'What we need is to see more cash and more movement on issues such as cars. A huge effort is needed, and I think we have the tools and, in theory, the finance to do it.

'In the remaining days of this COP, the world has a lot more to do.'

The Prime Minister of the UK is set to make an announcement in the next 10 minutes.

Follow our coverage along on this live blog.

Countries to work together to make green technology affordable

41 countries and the EU have announced the launch of the Breakthrough Agenda which aims to make green technologies more affordable and accessible.

Countries including China, India and the USA signed up to the agenda, which covers a number of areas including power, road transport, steel and hydrogen technologies. Projects include the Green Grids initiative, which aims to link power networks across the world to provide renewably-generated electricity to all.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says: 'By making clean technology the most affordable, accessible and attractive choice, the default go-to in what are currently the most polluting sectors, we can cut emissions right around the world.

'The Glasgow Breakthroughs will turbocharge this forward, so that by 2030 clean technologies can be enjoyed everywhere, not only reducing emissions but also creating more jobs and greater prosperity.'

In order to achieve their goals, countries are pledging to co-ordinate their investments and align their standards to make green technologies a more attractive investment than fossil fuel alternatives. The countries will meet every year from 2022 in order to review their progress.

Prince Charles calls for restructuring of economy to protect nature

Prince Charles has called for 'urgent action' to restructure the world's economy to protect forests and other habitats across the world.

The future monarch called for action while addressing delegates at COP26, saying that deforestation should be disincentivised while communities and nations that protect forests should be rewarded.

'Action on forests and land use is vital,' the prince said. 'It is here we will explore the scale of the systemic shifts that need to happen really urgently if the world is to succeed in delivering a positive future for people and nature alike.

'And I mean urgently, as so many people and communities are already suffering seriously from the increasingly dire impacts of climate change. We also have to act before the hydrological cycle breaks down altogether.

'Now we know what the problem is, and having done our best to test the world to destruction in the meantime, we simply must start talking about the actions and solutions we can start taking today.'

Prince Charles added that he had made many speeches like this in the past 40 years 'to no avail', and urged leaders to take the actions needed to protect the planet. 

USA pledges raft of green measures

President Joe Biden has announced a range of steps the USA will take to improve its green credentials.

In addition to the Global Methane Pledge, the country will plug oil and gas wells, in addition to remediating abandoned mining land, as part of steps to reduce emissions and restore nature.

It has also announced a range of international partnerships and initiatives, such as the First Movers Coalition, which aim to accelerate investment from private firms into green energy.

There is also a focus on food security, with measures to promote a sustainable ocean economy and investment by farmers into more environmentally-friendly practices.

Countries to slash methane emissions by 2030

More than 90 nations have agreed to slash their methane emissions by the end of the decade.

The Global Methane Pledge, spearheaded by the USA and the European Union, agrees that the countries will cut their emissions of the gas by 30% by 2030 compared to 2020. Announced back in September, more nations have now joined the pact including half of the top 30 methane emitters.

Speaking at COP26, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that reducing methane is 'the lowest-hanging fruit' on the route to reducing the impact of climate change.

While climate pacts often focus on carbon dioxide emissions, methane has a warming potential 28 times greater than it, though it persists for less time in the atmosphere. The majority of methane emissions come from the oil and gas industry, as well as landfill and agriculture.

A recent UN report found that a cut of almost 20% could be achieved with 'low-cost mitigation measures' by 2030, while moving to a plant-based diet would cut another 15% of emissions.

These cuts could reduce the impact of global warming by up to 0.4⁰C by 2050.

Some nations intend to go further than the 30% cut, with Canada already having pledged to cut 75% of its methane emissions in 2012 by 2030.

'We are not drowning, we are fighting'

A climate activist from Samoa has made waves online after her speech at COP26 became a social media hit.

Brianna Fruean, the youth representative for the Pacific Climate Warriors Council of Elders, addressed the conference about the issues her nation is facing, saying, 'When I was a little girl, I was taught the important impact of words. In my culture in Samoa, there is a proverb that goes "E pala ma’a ae le pala upu." It means that even stones decay, but words remain.

'It is a lesson in knowing how words can be wielded. How text can change everything. How each word you use is weighted. How switching one word or number can reframe words. How climate action can be vastly different from climate justice. How two degrees could mean the end and how 1.5 could mean a fighting chance.

'You all have the power here today to be better, to remember that in your meeting rooms and drafting documents are more than just black and white objects. That in your words, you have the weapons which can save us or sell us out. I don't need to remind you what climate change is doing to vulnerable communities.

'If you are here today you know what climate change is doing to us. You don't need my pain or my tears to know that we're in a crisis. The real question is whether you have the political will to do the right thing, to wield the right words and to follow it up with long-overdue action.'

Brianna spoke as part of a Museum event for Our Broken Planet, which you can watch in the video above or by clicking here.

Greenland to join Paris Agreement

The nation has not yet committed to any emissions cuts, but has taken steps such as banning future oil and gas exploration. Image © Naalakkersuisut

The territory of Greenland is set to sign up to the Paris Agreement on climate change, its Prime Minister has announced.

Múte Bourup Egede made the announcement that his nation, a self-governing part of Denmark, would join 194 others (and the European Union) in having signed the agreement at the Nordic Pavilion at COP26.

'I am proud of the fact that the new Naalakkersuisut, the Government of Greenland, has reached the decision that Greenland should join the Paris Agreement,' the Prime Minister said.

'I can now inform the Danish Government that the work in ratifying the decision to join the Paris Agreement will be submitted to Inatsisartut – the Greenland Parliament.

'The Arctic region is one of the areas on our planet where the effects of global warming is felt the most, and we believe that we must take responsibility collectively. That means that we too, must contribute our share.'

The government, however, is yet to commit itself to any emissions targets under the agreement, and its decision to join must be ratified by both the Greenlander and Danish parliaments.

The announcement follows a number of moves to make Greenland more green, including the banning of future oil and gas exploration. 

Ecuador to expand marine reserves

The South American nation of Ecuador has pledged to expand its Galapagos marine reserves to around one and a half times its current size.

The country's president, Guillermo Lasso, said that the reserve, already one of the largest in the world, will be expanded from its current size of 133,000 square kilometres, Reuters has reported.

At a conference at COP26, he said, 'I announce the declaration of a new marine reserve in Galapagos. It will be nothing less than 60,000 square kilometers to be added to the existing reserve.'

The Galapagos reserve is home to some of the most biodiverse waters in the world as several currents come together and bring an abundance of nutrients for plankton. In turn, this feeds a range of animals from fish all the way up to whales.

The expansion will take in Cocos Ridge, an undersea area that is a feeding and migration area for endangered species such as the Giant Manta Ray.

The move is to be funded by a debt swap, where Ecuador's debt will be taken on by investors in return for it pledging to protect the waters. It follows a landmark deal in 2016 by the Seychelles, who swapped 5% of its national debt in return for protecting 30% of its national waters.

The Ecuadorean president said it would be 'the biggest debt swap for conservation that has taken place globally' but details have not yet been announced.

Queen says 'time for words has moved on' as she calls for action on climate change

Her Majesty the Queen has called on leaders to turn their words into actions in an address to COP26.

Queen Elizabeth II was due to address the conference in person, but pulled out after she was advised by doctors to rest.

In a pre-recorded address, the monarch said, 'In the coming days, the world has the chance to join in the shared objective of creating a safer, stabler future for our people and for the planet on which we depend.

'None of us underestimates the challenges ahead: but history has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope. Working side by side, we have the ability to solve the most insurmountable problems and to triumph over the greatest of adversities.

'It is the hope of many that the legacy of this summit will be that you did not pass up the opportunity and answered the call of future generations. That you left this conference as a community of nations with a determination, a desire, and a plan, to address the impact of climate change; and to recognise that the time for words has now moved to the time for action.

'Of course, the benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today: none of us will live forever. But we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps.

'And so, I wish you every good fortune in this significant endeavour.'

Reaction to commitment to end deforestation by 2030

Countries such as Indonesia have pledged an end to forest exploitation under a declaration announced today.

The country's president, Joko Widodo, says 'Indonesia is blessed as the most carbon rich country in the world on vast rainforests, mangroves, oceans and peatlands. We are committed to protecting these critical carbon sinks and our natural capital for future generations.

'We call on all countries to support sustainable development paths that strengthen the livelihoods of communities - especially Indigenous, women and smallholders.'

A representative of rainforest communities in Africa, Latin America and Indonesia also welcomed the declaration, but wanted to see actions rather than words.

Tuntiak Katan, Coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, said: 'We welcome the announcement at COP26 of the Joint Statement on Advancing Support for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities that has raised to an unprecedented level their visibility as a climate solution.

'At the same time, we will be looking for concrete evidence of a transformation in the way funds are invested. If 80 percent of what is proposed is directed to supporting land rights and the proposals of Indigenous and local communities, we will see a dramatic reversal in the current trend that is destroying our natural resources.'

UK PM on pledge to end deforestation

The UK's Prime Minister has discussed a pledge to end deforestation by 2030 by half the world's nations.

Boris Johnson took to the stage at the first Action on Forests and Land Use event, saying, 'Climate change and biodiversity are two sides of the same coin.

'We can't deal with the devastating loss of habitat and species without tackling climate change, and we can't deal with climate change without protecting our natural environment and respecting the rights of Indigenous People who are its stewards.

'It is the ambition of the UK's COP presidency that we act now and end humanity's role as nature's conqueror and instead become nature's custodian.

'We have to stop the devastating loss of our forests. These great teeming ecosystems, these three trillion-pillared cathedrals of nature are the lungs of our planet and their destruction, together with agriculture and other change of land use accounts for almost a quarter of global emissions.

'Forests support communities, livelihoods and food supply, and absorb the carbon we pump into the atmosphere. They are essential to our very survival. If we want to keep the 1.5⁰C goal of Paris in sight, we must protect and restore the world's forests.'

Activists arrive in Glasgow after sailing squabble

(L-R) Fridays for Future youth climate activists Jakapita Faith Kandanga, Farzana Faruk, Maria Reyes and Edwin Moses Namakanga sailed to COP26 on the Rainbow Warrior. Image © Suzanne Plunkett/Greenpeace

Among those at COP26 today will be a group of four youth climate activists who arrived yesterday evening on board Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior ship after initially being told to turn back.

Jakapita Faith Kandanga, Farzana Faruk Jhumu, Edwin Namakanga and Maria Reyes hail from Namibia, Bangladesh, Uganda and Mexico respectively. They represent the areas and people of the world who will most be affected by climate change.

The group set sail for Glasgow from Liverpool on October 30 without having received permission to dock at the venue, which is a restricted area controlled by the United Nations.

However, after arriving in the Firth of Clyde, port authorities have allowed them to dock on the Clyde on November 1 so they could attend the conference.

In a joint statement, the activists said: 'The authorities have seen sense and now understand that our presence at the climate summit is too important to shut out. It's ridiculous to think that climate talks could be held without the most affected people there and it's positive that the police and port authorities have changed their minds.

'World leaders attending the talks could learn a lot from this cooperation. We have been ignored long enough, and now with a safe passage to Glasgow our voices must be heard at COP26.'

COP President's message to Scouts

The President of COP26 has thanked the scouting movement for their work in promoting awareness of climate change.

Alok Sharma MP thanked the organisation and their 57 million members for taking part in the Promise to the Planet initiative, where members choose to carry out eco-friendly actions such as planting trees, eating less meat or reducing waste.

These pledges are being recorded so that they can be presented to world leaders, as well as the general public, to 'make it clear that it’s their responsibility to make decisions in the Earth’s best interests.'

The Scouts intend to continue their campaign at COP26 itself, where the group has a delegation representing its members.

Nations pledge to stop deforestation within a decade

The first major agreement to come out of COP26 will see over half of the world's nations commit to end deforestation by 2030 and begin the process of regrowing the world's forests.

The declaration, due to be signed later today, pledges that the nations, which are home to around 85% of the world's forests, will work towards six goals. These include developing sustainable agriculture, investing in and facilitating trade which prevents land use change, and supporting communities across the globe.

Among the nations on the list are some with the largest forests in the world, including Brazil. In total, 104 countries are due to sign the declaration, in addition to the European Commission.

Dr Sandra Knapp, Merit Researcher in plants at the Museum, says, 'If countries really stick to the COP26 agreement to stop deforestation by 2030, this is big for climate and for biodiversity.

'I'm excited but also a bit apprehensive that if might turn into a race to convert land before the end date. However, I remain optimistic it will be good for the climate and good for biodiversity.

'Let's keep trees in the right places - in forests full of life.'

Minister claims she was unable to access summit

A delegate to COP26 was unable to access the summit because she is a wheelchair user, it has been claimed.

Karine Elharrar tweeted her disappointment that she was unable to access the summit. It has been reported that this was due to her being unable to use a shuttle that was suitable for wheelchairs.

She said, 'In the climate crisis, it is sad that the UN, which promotes accessibility for people with disabilities, does not provide accessibility to its events.

'Hopefully lessons will be learned so that tomorrow green energy promotion, the removal of barriers and energy efficiency will be the things I will deal with.'

The UK's ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, has apologised 'deeply and sincerely' over the alleged incident, while James Cleverly, Minister of State for the Middle East, said, 'I am deeply disappointed and frustrated that Minister Karine Elharrar could not access COP today.

'The COP venue is designed to be accessible for all. I have spoken to the minister about this and I look forward to meeting her tomorrow.'

Morning briefing

As the conference continues, here are the key headlines from the first day of the conference:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged that the country will meet net-zero emissions by 2070. While the news has been welcomed, it puts the nation two decades behind the goal set by the UN.

Sir David Attenborough has urged nations to 'restore the wild' as he took to the stage on the first day of the conference

President Joe Biden announced the US would be making a contribution to the Adaptation Fund, an investment pot that aims to provide funding to countries so that they can adapt to climate change.

President Xi Jinping, who is not attending COP26, pledged China would 'vigorously develop renewable energy' as part of steps to go green, though made no new pledges in his written speech. 

Tuesday 2 November

Good morning, it's James Ashworth here with the Museum's live coverage of COP26 as it moves into its second full day of negotiations. 

Follow along with us for a summary of the headlines and we'll also try to answer your questions, which you can submit via Twitter.

Also, please let us know what you think of the live blog - what you like and what can be improved!

All major polluting countries have now set net-zero targets


With India announcing its pledge for net-zero emissions, that means for the first time all the largest polluting countries have made commitments:

1. China - 2060

2. United States - 2050

3. India - 2070

4. Russia - 2060

5. Japan - 2050

This comes just after - and at slight odds to - the G20 agreeing that the planet needs to achieve net-zero by the middle of the century. 

Despite this, there are suggestions that even though India's new pledge is 20 years after the planet needs to be climate neutral, it will likely hit this mark before this date. It has been suggested something similar may also happen with China as they ramp up their investment in green technologies. 

China makes no major new climate pledge

China's president Xi Jinping, who is also not attending COP26, has delivered a written speech. 

While he made no major new pledges, he did call on all governments to take stronger actions to tackle climate change and that China would 'speed up the green and low-carbon energy transition, vigorously develop renewable energy, and plan and build large wind and photovoltaic power stations.'

Xi also used his speech to call on developed countries to provide more help to developing countries so that they can do more in dealing with climate change. 

India sets target of zero emissions by 2070

The Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has told those gathered in Glasgow that the country will meet net-zero emissions by 2070. 

Modi has pledged that India will get half of all its energy from renewables by 2030, while simultaneously reducing its projected carbon emissions by a billion tonnes by the same date. 

This is the first time that India has announced a net-zero target, and as one of the largest global emitters of greenhouse gasses is seen as a significant move. 

World leaders take to the stage

A number of world leaders have used the first day to make opening speeches. 

United States president Joe Biden announced the first-ever US contribution to the Adaptation Fund, which aims to help developing countries face the growing threat of climate change. He also said that the US would be releasing its vision to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

'This is the challenge of our lifetimes,' said Biden. 

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau referred to the deadly wildfires that have swept the country to make his point about the impact climate change is already having. He says that most Canadians support action to tackle climate change such as a pollution tax. 

'Just as globally we've agreed to a minimum corporate tax, we must work together to ensure it is no longer free to pollute anywhere in the world,' said Trudeau. 'What's even better than pricing emissions is ensuring they don't happen in the first place.

'What happened in Lytton can, and has, and will, happen anywhere. How many more signs do we need? This is our time to step up and step up together.'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also mentioned the need for a price on CO2 emissions. She said that industry and business can develop the technologies needed to achieve climate neutrality.  

Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has made a speech, despite not being at COP26. Despite the devastating wildfires which have swept the country and the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest under Bolsonaro's presidency, he has claimed that Brazil is a 'green powerhouse'. 

'When it comes to fighting climate change, we have always been part of the solution, not the problem,' said Bolsonaro. 'We will favour actions and projects for forest conservation, rational use of natural resources, mitigation of greenhouse gases emissions and, mostly, the creation of 'green jobs'.'

Bolsonaro's speech has already been criticised by environmental groups who urge COP26 delegates not to fall for his 'greenwashing' promises. 

Another world leader who has not attended the talks, China's president Xi Jinping, is also expected to release a written speech this afternoon. 

All eyes on India

India's prime minister Narendra Modi has been tipped to make an important announcement this afternoon. 

Sir David Attenborough urges governments to 'restore the wild'

Sir David Attenborough took to the stage to give those present a short history of the climate crisis, showing how over the last few centuries we have altered Earth's stability. 

'Everything we’ve achieved in the last 10,000 years was enabled by the stability during this time,' says Attenborough. 

'Our burning of fossil fuels, the destruction of nature, our approach to industry and construction are releasing carbon into the atmosphere at an unprecedented scale. We are already in trouble, the stability we all depend on is breaking.

'This story is one of inequality as well as instability. Those who’ve done the least to cause this problem are being the hardest hit.'

He went on to highlight how everyone around the planet is being affected by the climate crisis. Young people alive today are already living with the impacts.

Is this how the story will end? By the smartest species doomed by that all too human characteristic of failing to see the bigger picture in pursuit of short-term goals?

But Attenborough then went on to remind everyone that humans are the greatest problem solvers that have ever existed on Earth. We know how to understand the problem and put it into reverse. 

This should be a 'new industrial revolution' powered by sustainable innovation, in which we will all share in the benefits. 

'Nature is a key ally. Whenever we restore the wild it will capture carbon and help to bring back balance to the planet,' says Attenborough.

'In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed a terrible decline. In yours, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery.' 

COP26 is offically open

The opening ceremony of COP26 saw a number of speakers take to the stage this afternoon, including the UK prime minister Boris Johnson, secretary-general of the UN António Guterres and climate activists Brianna Fruean and Txai Surui. 

Boris Johnson opened the conference by welcoming the delegates and speaking of the urgency of action. 

'The longer we fail to act, the worse it gets and the higher the price when we are forced to act,' Johnson said. 'If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.

'All those promises will be nothing but blah, blah, blah, to coin a phrase.'

He was followed by Brianne Fruean, a campaigner who was born in Samoa and is now based in New Zealand. Fruean urged politicians to keep the fate of small islands in mind over the next two weeks.

'The real question is whether you have the political will to do the right thing, wield the right words and follow it up with long-overdue action,' says Fruean.

Up next was Txai Surui, an indigenous activist from Rondonia in Brazil. Surui emphasised that it is still possible to turn things around while urging delegates to not forget about indigenous peoples. 

Secretary-general of the UN António Guterres announced that the UN will establish a new team of experts to come up with standard ways to measure and analyse net-zero commitments. He also says that all donors to climate funds must now put half of their finance towards climate adaptation.

COP26 opening ceremony

The COP26 opening ceremony has started. You can watch it live here. 

People around the world overwhelmingly back climate action

An analysis carried out by The Guardian has found a clear mandate for dramatic action to tackle the climate crisis. 

The biggest opinion poll on climate change, conducted for the UN Development Programme, found that two-thirds of respondents said that climate change is a 'global emergency', while a separate poll for the BBC showed that 56% of people want their governments to set stronger targets. 

Within the UK alone, an Ipsos Mori poll found that 80% of people think that the ongoing climate crisis is a global emergency, while the number of people who are 'extremely worried' about climate change increased by 20% between 2016 and 2020. 

The aspects of climate change that most people around the world want action on are protecting and restoring forests, renewable energy and sustainable farming.

Cassie Flynn from the UN Development Programme said:

The voice of the people is clear – they want action on climate change.


Watch the COP26 opening ceremony live

Image licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The opening ceremony for COP26 will take place today in Glasgow at 12.00 GMT, during which the UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles will address the attendees.  

You can watch it live through the official COP26 YouTube channel or on their Twitter page.  

Boris Johnson opposes UK coal mine

I'm not in favour of more coal. But it is not a decision for me, it is a decision for the planning authorities.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has said that he is against opening a controversial new coal mine in Cumbria, UK, but that ultimately the decision is down to the planning authorities.

Morning briefing

The leaders from 122 countries have gathered in Glasgow this weekend to start what is considered one of the most important conferences ever hosted by the UK.

Here are the key headlines from this morning:

There has been travel chaos on the first day of COP26, as bad weather led to train services from London to Glasgow being cancelled and causing long delays. 

UK prime minister Boris Johnson made it to Glasgow and will warn world leaders during the opening ceremony, which will take place at 12.00 GMT, that humanity has 'long since run down the clock on climate change'. 

Prince Charles, who will also be speaking at the opening ceremony, will say that a 'war-like footage' is needed to tackle the climate crisis. 

The Turkish president, Recep Erdoğan, 'pulls out of summit last-minute' over security arrangements.

Monday 1 November

Good morning, it's Josh Davis here covering the Museum's live coverage as COP26 starts its first full day of negotiations. 

Follow along for a summary of the headlines.

If you have questions, submit them via Twitter. Plus, please do let us know what you think of the live blog - what you like and what can be improved.

Climate promises 'starting to sound hollow'

Boris Johnson today urged world leaders to make faster progress at COP26 then they have done during negotiations so far, saying, 'If Glasgow fails, then the whole thing fails.'

In a press conference, Johnson said today, 'Six years ago the Paris Agreement made an historic commitment to end the destruction and devastation caused by climate change.

Together they agreed to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees with a view to keeping that increase at 1.5 degrees.

But hundreds of summits, speeches, press conferences like this later, those words and promises are starting to sound, frankly, hollow.'

Politicians whose countries are part of the G20 have been in talks this weekend ahead of COP. The G20 is a group of 19 countries plus the European Union and it was formed in 1999. It is supposed to work to solve major crises, including climate change and financial instability.

Johnson today criticised the group's climate talks so far, saying, 'We have made some progress at this G20. We have had a reasonable G20, but there is a huge way still to go.'

Glasgow bin strikes will go ahead

Cleaning and refuse workers in Glasgow will strike during the climate summit, GMB union has confirmed.

The strike will begin just after midnight on 1 November.

GMB Scotland Secretary Louise Gilmour says, 'The council has failed to give our members the proper time and space to consider the 11th hour offer from COSLA, and the fact the council moved to block strike action in the Court of Session using anti-trade union legislation, means there is too much bad faith among members towards the employer.  

'Therefore, our members in cleansing have informed us that they will still proceed with the planned strike action from 00.01 hours Monday 1 November.  We are calling for an urgent meeting with the council as soon as possible and we will work until one-minute to midnight tonight to try and fix this.  

'We have also made the Scottish Government aware of the situation and are liaising with the First Minister’s Office, but without any further dialogue the cleansing service in Glasgow City Council will take strike action from tomorrow and throughout the first full week of the COP26 summit.'

Earth is in 'uncharted territory' says World Meteorological Organization

A report released today by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says that greenhouses gasses have 'propelled the planet into uncharted territory, with far-reaching repercussions for current and future generations'.

The past seven years are on track to be the seven warmest on record, according to the provisional WMO State of the Global Climate 2021 report, based on data for the first nine months of 2021.

Global sea level rise accelerated since 2013 to a new high in 2021, with continued ocean warming and ocean acidification.

The report combines input from multiple United Nations agencies, national meteorological and hydrological services and scientific experts. It highlights impacts on food security and population displacement, harming crucial ecosystems and undermining progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

'From the ocean depths to mountain tops, from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events, ecosystems and communities around the globe are being devastated. COP26 must be a turning point for people and planet,' says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Alok Sharma - 'Act now to keep 1.5C alive'

Image licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

COP President Alok Sharma opened the conference this afternoon, saying the next two weeks are the 'last, best hope' to keep global warming limits to 1.5C.

He said, 'the window to keep 1.5C in reach is closing.'

The world needs to keep warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures to evade the worst effects of climate change, including famines, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfires.

Sharma said, 'Six years ago in Paris we agreed our shared goals. We said we would protect people and nature from the effects of climate change, we said we would get finance flowing to climate action and we said we would limit the rise in global temperature to well below 2C, persuing efforts towards 1.5C. The rapidly changing climate is sending an alarm to the world to step up on adaptation, to address loss and damage, and to act now to keep 1.5C alive.'

You can watch his full opening address on the UN website.

Activists arrive in Glasgow

Activists from across the world have arrived in the UK, alongside the world's political leaders.

Protests and demonstrations are planned for the next two weeks as members of the public pile pressure on governments to agree meaningful action on the climate.

High-profile activist Greta Thunberg arrived in Glasgow on Saturday evening, and was recieved by huge crowds.

COP26 begins

World leaders, scientists, activists and members of the public have gathered in Glasgow for the opening of the COP26 negotiations.

Alok Sharma, President of COP26, will open the conference this morning.

The agenda today includes the ceremonial opening of the two-week conference, speeches from UN members and representatives and a report on the state of the climate released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Sunday 31 October

COP26 begins today in Glasgow. It's Katie Pavid here, kicking off the Museum's live coverage on the first day of the conference.

Follow along for a summary of the headlines.

If you have questions, submit them via Twitter. Plus, please do let us know what you think of the live blog - what you like and what can be improved.

What's at stake?

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and it demands global collaboration.

COP meetings provide an organised environment for governments to gather and discuss how best to tackle climate change together. It brings together rich and poor countries, high emitters and low emitters. 

This week, the UN found that the world is on course to warm by 2.7⁰C this century.

Ideally, humanity needs to ensure that the global temperature doesn't rise by more than 1.5⁰C compared to pre-industrial levels.

If we're going to keep below that 1.5⁰C target, the UN report estimates that the world needs to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years.

At meetings like COP26, leaders need to find a way of achieving those big reductions. 

Current pledges by countries around the world will shave just 7.5% off predicted greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, rather than the 55% needed to hit the 1.5⁰C target. 

Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, says,

Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem. To stand a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, we have eight years to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions: eight years to make the plans, put in place the policies, implement them and ultimately deliver the cuts. The clock is ticking loudly.

Greta Thunberg visits the Natural History Museum ahead of COP26 opening

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has visited the Museum and explored its display dedicated to the planetary emergency - Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It.

She also met the beetle which was named in her honour in 2019Nelloptodes gretae.

The beetle, less than one millimetre long, belongs to the Ptiliidae family of beetles which includes some of the smallest insects in the world.

The beetle was first collected in samples of soil and leaf litter from Nairobi, Kenya, by Dr William C Block in the 1960s. Dr Block's collection was donated to the Museum in 1978.

Dr Michael Darby, a Scientific Associate at the Museum who named the beetle, says, 'I chose this name as I am immensely impressed with the work of this young campaigner and wanted to acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues.'

The beetle was found by Dr Darby whilst studying in the Museum's Spirit Collection, which houses over 22 million animal and plant specimens.

Dr Max Barclay, Senior Curator in Charge of Coleoptera at the Museum, says, 'There are likely hundreds of exciting new species still to be discovered around the world as well as in the vast collections of the Museum.

'The name of this beetle is particularly poignant since it is likely that undiscovered species are being lost all the time, before scientists have even named them, because of biodiversity loss - so it was appropriate to name one of the newest discoveries after someone who has worked so hard to champion the natural world and protect vulnerable species.'

Our Broken Planet is a free display that explores how humans have transformed the natural world. Through more than 40 objects chosen by Museum scientists, it reveals the consequences of our actions and examines some of the solutions that could mend our broken planet.

The countdown to COP is on

There are just two days to go before COP26 opens in Glasgow and negotiations begin.

We've created a guide to the conference: its history, who is going and what to expect.

We'll be covering all the major announcements coming from COP26 over the next fortnight. If you have questions for us or the Museum's scientists, drop us a line over on Twitter using #COP26. 

Welcome to the Museum's coverage of COP26 in Glasgow

One of the world's most important international conferences, the Conference of the Parties, is being hosted by the UK this year in Glasgow. The event will see representatives from across the globe come together to negotiate the best ways of tackling climate change.

We'll be bringing you the latest developments from Glasgow as they happen, throughout the two-week conference.

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