It has been a long week at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow and after a flurry of big announcements in recent days, the theme for Friday was the impact of climate change on future generations.
Here’s what happened if you missed it.
“Green wash festival”
Attention shifted from the costumes and briefcases from the conference venue to the city center, where thousands of children made sure their voices were heard as they walked through the city.
Young activists from around the world have flocked to Glasgow, demanding leaders at a Fridays for Future protest.
Event headliner Greta Thunberg called the COP event a “global northern greenwashing festival” and said “it should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis the same way. which prompted us to do so in the first place “.
A word on the “good news” from the IEA
Several analysts have poured cold water on the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) assessment that global warming could be limited to 1.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100, if all the COP26 commitments made on Wednesday evening are kept on time. COP26 President Alok Sharma asked the IEA to keep an eye on the commitments.
Mark Maslin, professor of earth sciences at University College London, was not convinced. “This is irresponsible, because it is only true if all of the country’s commitments are kept and their policies are 100% effective – which they never are,” Maslin told CNN. “It’s almost as if the IEA wants to tell everyone that the job is done and that we have solved climate change, when we climate scientists know that we are still very far from 2 degrees let alone 1.5 degrees. “
Al Gore says the tools are in our hands
Former US Vice President Al Gore praised the young people who marched in Glasgow on Friday. Speaking at the official conference, he said world leaders must “legitimize their expectations for a future that is worthy of them”.
“We can do it, but we have to put the period of delay, distraction and opportunity in the past, recognize that we have entered a period of consequences and make it a period of solutions,” he said. .
Gore, a strong advocate for climate change, said humanity has the power to save the world, if the political will can be mustered. “It’s like we can flip a switch and save the future of our civilization,” Gore said. He also highlighted a common theme this week: that promises are big, but must be kept to have an impact.
“We have the tools we need to resolve the crisis. We have heard promises that will move us in the right direction towards those solutions. We need to make sure those promises are kept,” Gore said.
The US plan to make carbon capture cheaper
US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced Friday that the Department of Energy has a new goal: to dramatically reduce the cost of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Granholm told COP26 on Friday that the DOE’s goal is to reduce the cost to $ 100 per tonne of carbon by 2030. At present, the department estimates it costs around $ 2,000 per tonne.
Scientists say removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is crucial to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. But the technology is still relatively young and incredibly expensive. It also needs to be dramatically increased in order to reduce what humans have already emitted.
Negotiators at work
The first week of the COP26 summit will end on Saturday and negotiations on some of the key aspects of the Paris Agreement are well advanced. National delegates are still trying to figure out how to implement article six of the treaty, which defines the need for carbon emissions trading.
They are also trying to reach agreement on transparency rules for emission reductions, which include questions such as how often countries must report on their progress and how to avoid double counting.