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Negotiations continue at COP26 as focus turns to women’s role in climate fight

Ministers are also set to speak on their countries’ approach to tackling crisis.

A protester holds up a sign on a climate rally in Glasgow
A protester holds up a sign on a climate rally in Glasgow
Image: Jane Barlow via PA Images

NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE AT the UN COP26 talks in Glasgow as events focus on efforts to boost women’s equality and the climate fight.

The climate summit will see the appearance of Little Amal, a 3.5-metre puppet travelling 8,000km in support of refugees, and hear from the likes of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking on the issue of gender.

The UK Government is also setting out plans to provide £165 million for efforts to empower communities and women’s groups to take locally-led action to tackle climate change and cope with its impacts.

The conference will also hear from ministers of countries whose leaders did not come to the world leaders’ summit last week. Politicians from Russia, Turkey and Pakistan are among those who are set to speak on climate and the action their countries are taking to tackle the crisis.

It comes as the “High Ambition Coalition” of countries supporting an ambitious result at the Glasgow talks said momentum was building for an outcome that promotes emissions reductions in line with limiting temperature rise to 1.5C.

Former US president Barack Obama – who addressed the climate conference yesterday – warned that keeping to the 1.5C limit would be hard but humanity had done hard things before and could do so again.

The latest national plans by countries for action on cutting emissions this decade still overall leave the world far off track to meet the internationally agreed goal of trying to limit global warming to 1.5C, beyond which the worst impacts of rising seas, storms, droughts, crop failures and floods will be felt.

So negotiators are attempting to thrash out a “cover decision” from Glasgow, setting out how countries will close the gap between the plans to cut emissions in this decade and what is needed to avoid temperature rises of more than 1.5C, but how ambitious that will be remains to be decided.

There have also been concerns over finance to help poorer nations tackle climate change, with developed countries failing to deliver on a long-promised $100 billion a year by 2020 until at least next year.

Ministers are also under pressure to finalise the so-called Paris rulebook and make the global Paris climate accord, agreed in 2015, operational and effective.

Speaking to reporters in Glasgow, environment minister Eamon Ryan quoted United States climate envoy John Kerry in saying that “this is the week that decides the decade.”

“My sense is that last week went reasonably well, in terms of some of the methane pledge and the deforestation pledge,” Ryan said.

“I think this COP is about creating momentum for action and creating transparency and urgency for action.”

The Green Party leader added that Ireland will commit €10 million in the next year to the International Adaption Fund.

“Irish people do want to do something on this. I think the Irish people are sick and tired of being described as climate laggards,” Ryan said.

“I think that vote in the Dáil (on the climate action plan) is fairly reflective of a country that’s is willing to step up to the plate. We’re good at this. 

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“When we set our minds on doing something collectively we’re as well placed as anyone to do it,” Ryan added. 

Meanwhile, 16 people were arrested a protest on the sidelines of the COP26 talks at the Engine Works in Maryhill, Glasgow, last night, Police Scotland said in a tweet. The force said the protest had ended.

With reporting by Orla Dwyer

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