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COP26 latest: Five takeaways from Day 1 of crucial climate talks

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the opening ceremony of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the opening ceremony of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. Copyright Alastair Grant/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Copyright Alastair Grant/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
By Euronews with agencies
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As crucial climate talks kicked off in Glasgow with "doomsday" warnings, here are five key takeaways from Day One of the COP26.

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COP26 got underway on Monday with “doomsday” warnings from world leaders and environmentalists. But there were also renewed commitments to tackle climate change.

Here are five key takeaways from Day One of the COP26 :

1. World leaders resort to end-of-the-world rhetoric to highlight climate emergency

Opening the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson compared global warming to “a doomsday device'' strapped to humanity.

“We are digging our own graves,'' added UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, speaking for vulnerable island nations, warned leaders not to “allow the path of greed and selfishness to sow the seeds of our common destruction.”

2. Countries set out national commitments to tackle climate crisis

Scores of heads of state spoke about what their country is going to do about the threat of global warming.

India's PM Modi said that his country will achieve net-zero by 2070, two decades later than the summit’s target. India is the world’s fourth-biggest carbon emitter and before now had not announced a plan to reach net-zero.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that his government would increase its climate funding by 50 per cent in the next few years.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the introduction of global carbon pricing.

3. Leaders from top polluting nations skip summit

Xi Jinping, president of top carbon polluting nation China, and Russian President Vladimir Putin were not in Glasgow.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pulled out of the conference at the last minute.

Several other major emerging economies are also skipping Glasgow, including those from Russia, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa. That leaves Modi the only leader present from the so-called BRICS nations, which account for more than 40% of global emissions.

Several small nations from the Pacific islands couldn’t make it because of COVID-19 restrictions and logistics.

4. Climate activists put pressure on world leaders at COP26

Outside the negotiations, youth climate activist Greta Thunberg accused world leaders of “pretending to take our future seriously.”

“Change is not going to come from inside there,” Thunberg said, “We say no more blah-blah-blah.”

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Kenyan campaigner Elizabeth Wathuti urged world leaders to take action, describing the devastation wrought by climate change in her community.

"Over two million of my fellow Kenyans are facing climate-related starvation," she said.

5. Expectations remain low after vague G20 climate pledges

G-20 leaders in Rome only offered vague climate pledges, saying they would seek carbon neutrality "by or around mid-century.''

In their final communique, the Group of 20 leaders also agreed to end public financing for coal-fired power generation abroad, but set no target for phasing out coal domestically — a clear nod to top carbon polluters China and India.

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According to the communique, the G-20 reaffirmed past commitments by rich countries to mobilise $100 billion (€86.50) annually to help poorer countries cope with climate change, and committed to scaling up financing for helping them adapt.

A key sticking point remained the deadline for nations to reach carbon neutrality or “net-zero” emissions, meaning a balance between greenhouse gases added to and removed from the atmosphere.

Follow the latest developments on our live blog here:

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