British prime minister Boris Johnson has warned there is “a huge way still to go” at the COP26 climate summit, after G20 leaders agreed to stop financing coal power overseas but not to phase it out at home.
In a summit in Rome to pave the way for progress at the COP26 gathering in Glasgow, G20 leaders agreed to end international financing of coal power. They also pledged to take steps to limit global warming to 1.5C — the first time that target had been mentioned in a G20 leaders’ communiqué.
But they stopped short of agreeing to end the use of coal in their own countries.
“I think we have made reasonable progress at the G20 all things considered. But it is not enough,” Johnson said at a press conference yesterday evening. The prime minister, who will host the COP26 talks, said the “commitments, welcome as they are, are drops in a rapidly warming ocean”.
Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here’s the rest of the news — Gary
Five more stories in the news
1. Ukraine urges Europe to resist Russian pipeline pressure Kyiv says Russian president Vladimir Putin is using gas as a “geopolitical weapon” by insisting extra supplies go via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine to supply Germany directly via the Baltic Sea.
2. City stockpickers divided over THG value. The recent volatility in the shares of the Manchester-based ecommerce group has left City stockpickers puzzled, with many analysts opting to leave target prices unchanged at levels several times the current stock price.
3. Lloyd’s of London facing ‘fundamental change’ The centuries-old insurance market is built on face-to-face trading. In the post-pandemic era, the value of that tradition is now being questioned.
4. Joe Biden hails EU-US steel deal In a deal swiftly criticised by China, the US and EU have agreed to work jointly on a “global arrangement” to support sustainable steel and aluminium to reduce overcapacity and encourage greener production.
5. Big Tech loses nearly $10bn after iPhone privacy changes Apple’s decision to change the privacy settings of iPhones caused an estimated $9.85bn of revenues to evaporate in the second half of this year at Snap, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as their advertising businesses were shaken by the new rules.
Train services were cancelled from London Euston to Glasgow because of storm damage as transport chaos overshadowed arrivals at the climate summit.
With 38,895 registrants, COP26 is expected to rival the famous Paris summit for the biggest attendance despite the pandemic and last-minute rail disruptions.
The day ahead
Manufacturing PMIs Data will be reported from several countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Russia. See the full list here.
World leaders summit A two-day COP26 event starts today, welcoming heads of state and inviting them to put forward their proposals for keeping the 1.5C temperature increase target within reach (UNFCC)
What else we’re reading
Will ailing Turkish economy bring Erdogan down? Opposition parties are becoming bullish about defeating Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a leader who appears unwilling to change his idiosyncratic approach to running Turkey’s $765bn economy.
Post-Brexit utopia or red tape-strangled region? Brexit was billed as a win-win bonanza for Northern Ireland: access to not one but two single markets — the UK and the EU. But the new trade rules have left at least one UK seafood catcher and processor contemplating whether to cut the region out of its supply chain altogether.
Sunak has ‘no clear plan for faster, greener growth’ What was most striking in British chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget speech, writes Martin Wolf, was the absence of an integrated response to the UK’s many challenges.
Scientists warn of ‘near-unliveable’ conditions Up to 3bn of a projected world population of 9bn could be exposed to temperatures on par with the hottest parts of the Sahara by 2070, according to scientists from China, the US and Europe.
How green politics went mainstream The UN’s COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow will showcase the pace at which traditional parties and leaders are adopting green policies that many have previously overlooked or even disparaged. Still, the plethora of net zero pledges has yet to put a serious dent in global carbon emissions.
Meet the journalist: Leslie Hook
Leslie Hook is the FT’s environment and clean energy correspondent and will be attending the UN climate conference, COP26, this week. Ahead of the summit we put some of your questions to Leslie and a few of our own.
FFT: Why is COP26 so significant?
LH: It’s the biggest climate summit in many years — and the biggest gathering of heads of state since the beginning of the pandemic. Six years after the Paris climate accord was approved, the Glasgow summit has to finalise the rules and details of exactly how that pact will be implemented — which will be a difficult job. COP26 is also a crucial moment for the UK politically, as its post-Brexit diplomatic muscle is being put to the test.
FFT: Are there any notable world leaders who won’t be at COP26?
LH: It is a bit of a blow that Xi Jinping of China, which is the world’s largest emitter, won’t be there — particularly since he was one of the champions of the 2015 Paris accord. Also Vladimir Putin of Russia, one of the world’s biggest carbon producers, won’t be there but he has recently changed his tune on climate change. He’s even started talking about a “carbon neutral” goal by 2060. We don’t really know what that goal means though, and without him in Glasgow, we probably won’t find out.
FFT: What’s the best-case and worst-case scenario for the talks?
LH: A best-case scenario would be a clear agreement on the rules of the 2015 Paris climate accord. That pact agreed on a broad goal — limiting global warming to well below 2C, ideally 1.5C — but it didn’t iron out the details. A poor outcome would be if the final conclusion is a set of weak rules that allow for wiggle room and inconsistencies. There is also a big wild card: Covid-19. UK infection rates are high and people are travelling from all over the world to Glasgow, and then back home. Organisers are requiring daily lateral flow tests, mask wearing and social distancing, but there’s still a health risk.
FFT: Would it be practical to invite drivers to reduce their speed to 20 per cent below limits during the conference to reduce emissions, asks DJ van Rest, from Amersham, southern England.
LH: Transport emissions will be one of the themes of the conference and we can expect to see a lot of news about electric vehicles. The UK has been working with car companies and countries on an EV pact (still under wraps) and will be putting on a bit of a show with world leaders arriving in electric Jaguar SUVs. As for reducing driving speeds, I’m not aware of a COP-related initiative, but we’ll be hearing a lot about cars, particularly on transport day on November 10.
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