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COP26 latest: US-China deal brings cautious optimism as negotiations enter final leg

John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate speaks at the COP26 UN Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.
John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate speaks at the COP26 UN Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
By Euronews

As COP26 draws to a close, the announcement of a bilateral deal by the US and China to redouble climate efforts has brought cautious optimism to exhausted negotiators.

Here is what you need to know as Day 11 gets underway:

  • The joint statement issued by Washington and Beijing calls for "enhanced climate action in the 2020s", including a new stronger emission cuts target in 2025 and a pledge by China to follow the US lead in slashingmethane emissions.
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and others hailed it as "an important step in the right direction." But some analysts thought the deal "lacked meat" on concrete commitments besides those on methane.
  • Today is Cities Day at COP26. The summit turns its focus to building sustainable urban centres, with 68% of the global population projected to live in cities by 2050.
  • Denmark and Costa Rica launched an ambitious alliance to phase out coal and gas. Six full members, France, Greenland, Ireland, Quebec, Sweden and Wales joined the group known as the 'Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance'.

  • UN chief Antonio Guterres said today that the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C was "on life support,'' with COP26 talks so far not reaching any of the UN’s three goals.

  • Tough negotiations involving almost 200 countries continue in Glasgow after a draft cover deal was released yesterday.

In case you weren't able to follow along on Wednesday, here are five takeaways from Day 10.

Follow our live updates:

11.11.2021
18:11

EU criticised for backing €13bn gas projects

Climate activists slammed the EU for backing €13 billion worth of gas projects in its latest list of Projects of Common Interest. 

“For the EU to be talking about climate leadership while pumping billions of euros of public money into fossil gas reeks of hypocrisy," said Nick Bryer, 350.org’s European Campaigns Director. 

“Exiting out of coal, for a number of member states, will have to happen through an intermediary phase using natural gas,” said the EU's Vice-President Frans Timmermans, adding that the bloc would seek to ensure the pipelines could in future be used for clean fuels such as hydrogen.
11.11.2021
17:43

EU to push for finance pledge to be delivered to poor countries, say bloc's officials 

European Union officials say they will push for a strong signal on financial support for poor countries to cope with global warming, a key sticking point at COP26. 

Frans Timmermans, the EU’s vice-president and top climate official, said Thursday that rich countries “need to make sure we actually do what was promised on the $100 billion” (EUR 86 billion) — a sum they pledged to give poor nations each year by 2020 but have so far failed to do.

Peter Liese, a senior member of the European Parliament, said he and fellow lawmakers would push for the $100 billion to be delivered “definitely next year.”

Timmermans acknowledged poor nations’ gripes that not enough of the aid is earmarked for them to adapt to climate change, but insisted spending on emissions reduction remains important.

With AP

11.11.2021
17:02

Climate pledges 'hollow' with fossil fuels exit: UN chief 

UN Secretary-General Guterres said at COP26 that climate pledges by governments were "hollow" unless fossil fuels end.
His comments came after a number of countries were criticised for staying out of a new alliance led by Denmark and Costa to phase out oil and gas. 
11.11.2021
16:37

Austria minister says talks may enter extra time

Austria’s environment minister says she's preparing for another day or two of tough negotiations at COP26 that is officially scheduled to wrap up on Friday evening.

“We still have two intense days, and likely also at least one intense night, possibly two, ahead of us,” Leonore Gewessler told The Associated Press. 

“We are now in the phase of the conference where many of the papers are already on the table as proposals, with a lot of different options that still need to be talked through,” said Gewessler.

Austria and its EU allies would be pushing for an “ambitious” agreement, she added. “A strong signal on protecting the climate has to be sent from Glasgow.”

With AP
11.11.2021
16:31

Watch live: Leaders outline role of non-state actors in tackling climate crisis

The ‘Racing to a Better World’ event features climate activist Vanessa Nakate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, COP26 President Alok Sharma, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, UN High Level Climate Champions Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Munoz, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and other leaders.
11.11.2021
16:02

WHO tells COP26 it's urgent to reduce emissions for our health

In a video statement to COP26, WHO Europe Regional Director Hans Kluge said reducing emissions was a matter of urgency, not just for the planet but for our health.

"Climate change is already threatening our health, our future survival," he said. 

 The good news however is that reducing emissions would immediately benefit our health through improved air quality. The urgency is clear," he added. 

11.11.2021
15:15

Developing countries accuse North of 'carbon colonialism'

A group of developing nations said that rich countries were trying to shift the burden of combating climate change onto poorer nations.

The ongoing climate talks in Glasgow were at a point  onThursday where two pathways were possible, according to Bolivia’s chief negotiator, Diego Pacheco Balanz: One is good for people and the planet, and the other leads to “carbon colonialism,” he said.

“We need to fight the developed countries against the carbon colonialism,” Balanz said.

Balanz was speaking on behalf of a negotiating block of developing countries called the Like-Minded Developing Countries or LMDC and includes countries from Africa, Latin America and Asia, including China and India.

He said that rich nations were trying to impose new rules like net-zero targets for all countries without taking into account the historic responsibility that richer nations have for climate change. Balanz said poor countries would be “trapped” by such targets because only the rich nations would have the finance or technology to meet them.

With AP

11.11.2021
15:09

READ: The first person to be diagnosed with climate change lives in Canada

150,000 people die a year from climate change. So why has the first diagnosis just been given, and how significant is it?
11.11.2021
15:06

5 EU countries oppose saying nuclear is green

Five European Union countries on Thursday pushed back against efforts to define nuclear energy as a climate-friendly technology in the 27-nation bloc.

The declaration made on the sidelines of COP26 was backed by Austria, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal.

“Nuclear power cannot be a solution in the climate crisis,” German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said.

She argued that nuclear power was too risky, too slow and not sustainable.

The five countries said adding nuclear power to the EU-approved list of climate-friendly technologies risked diverting funds from renewable energies such as wind and solar power.

France and several other EU nations have said they want to use nuclear energy as part of their efforts to phase out fossil fuel plants. 

With AP

11.11.2021
14:29

READ: Denmark and Costa Rica launch ambitious alliance to phase out oil and gas

Our journalist Rosie Frost attended the launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow. 
Read her report below:

Major European countries pledge to phase out oil and gas

Headed up by Costa Rica and Denmark, a number of new members of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance were announced today.

Additional sources • AP, AFP