Global Review – 14th November

Mixed reaction to COP26 pact as India holds back on coal

There has been a mixed reaction to the agreement reached at COP26 in Glasgow, including a last-minute amendment from India weakening the stance on coal. The last-minute change sparked “profound disappointment” from delegates and an emotional apology from the COP26 president. Most of the 200 nations gave the green light to the final version of the document, although many turned up their noses at the failure of rich countries to help poor ones in the climate crisis. But India and China said there were “adjustments” to be made.

“History was made here in Glasgow,” COP26 president Alok Sharma said in a broken voice. Earlier, Sharma held back tears when he said, accepting the China and India coal amendment, “I understand the disappointment, but it is vital to protect this package.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “It’s an important step but it’s not enough – the world is still knocking on the door of  a climate catastrophe.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “We need bold commitments to major emissions cuts this decade and to climate neutrality in 2050.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it a “big step forward” but said there was a huge amount of work still to be done. John Kerry, the US envoy for climate, has said it was always unlikely that the summit in Glasgow would result in a decision that “was somehow going to end the crisis”. Representatives of small island states expressed disappointment at the final agreement. Greta Thunberg said COP26 was a “blah, blah, blah”.

The agreement maintains the overriding goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels: a big step up from the Paris Agreement, which aimed more at staying below 2 degrees. Emissions cuts remain 45% by 2030 compared to 2010, and net zero emissions around the middle of the century. The pact also provides for a review by the end of 2022 of the decarbonisation commitments of the individual states. And then it calls on countries to accelerate on renewable sources, to phase down coal plants as soon as possible and to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels.

Belarus can’t breach contract with Russia

Belarus’s threat to cut off gas supplies to Europe would be a breach of contract with Russia, President Vladimir Putin has warned. In a TV interview, Putin said President Alexander Lukashenko may have made the threat in a fit of temper. Meanwhile, Belarus has said it was stepping up humanitarian support to migrants trapped on the border with Poland.

68 prisoners killed in Ecuador 

At least 68 prisoners have been killed in new fighting at an Ecuadorian prison where more than a hundred inmates died in clashes between rival gangs in September. The riot began on Friday evening and police tactical units found guns and explosives.

Author Wilbur Smith dies

International best-selling author Wilbur Smith has died at his home in Cape Town, aged 88. Smith’s 49 published books have sold more than 140 million copies worldwide. He gained widespread recognition following the publication of his debut novel ‘When the Lion Feeds’ in 1964.

Pope Francis thanks journalists

Pope Francis has thanked journalists for helping uncover the clerical sexual abuse scandals that the Roman Catholic Church initially tried to cover up. He praised what he called the “mission” of journalism and said it was vital for reporters to get out of their newsrooms and discover what was happening in the outside world to counter misinformation often found online. The pontiff was speaking at a ceremony to honour two veteran correspondents – Philip Pullella of Reuters and Valentina Alazraki of Mexico’s Noticieros Televisa – for their long careers spent covering the Vatican.

Exclusive interview with Espstein’s accomplice  

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British heiress accused of being the accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein, the New York millionaire who committed suicide after being accused of child sex trafficking, speaks for the first time in an exclusive in today’s the Mail on Sunday. She tells of her hell of a life at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn: the guards watching her during daily showers, and a mouse that popped up every time she went to the bathroom. Maxwell faces up to 80 years in prison if she is found guilty of child abuse and recruitment for her ex-boyfriend, the pedophile financier. The selection of the jury for the trial begins on Monday, which will start on November 29. The hearings will probably also bring the relationship of Prince Andrew with Epstein back into the spotlight.

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