G20 disappoints on climate as eyes turn to Glasgow
The G20 major economies committed on Sunday to the key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5oC, but failed to set a firm date for achieving carbon neutrality or for phasing out coal. A number ofdisappointed leaders warned more was needed to make a success of UN climate talks in Glasgow, where more than 120 heads of state and government will meet.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the host of the COP26 summit that opened on Sunday, said the pledge from world leaders after two days of talks in Rome was “not enough”, and warned of the dire consequences for the planet. “If Glasgow fails, the whole thing fails,” he told reporters, saying the G20 commitments were “drops in a rapidly warming ocean”.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he left Rome “with my hopes unfulfilled – but at least they are not buried”. G20 nations between them emit nearly 80% of carbon emissions, and a firm commitment on action was viewed as vital for the success of the UN’s COP26.
US President Joe Biden said the summit made “tangible” progress on many issues but said he found it “disappointing” that Russia and China, whose leaders attended only via videolink, did not offer stronger climate pledges.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who hosted the G20 talks, said he was “proud of these results, but we must remember that it’s only the start”.
‘Last 7 years the hottest on record’
A World Meteorological Organization report says the last seven years have been the hottest since scientific temperature measurements were taken, and 2021 will also rank between 5th and 7th in the ranking. The report, released in Glasgow, says ocean levels began to rise faster starting in 2013: from 2.1 mm per year between 1993 and 2002, to 4.4 mm per year between 2013 and 2021. The acidity of the seas, due to the strong presence of CO2, is today the highest for 26,000 years.
Macron repeats threat of reprisals in UK fishing row
President Emmanuel Macron has said Britain must give ground in a post-Brexit fishing dispute or France will trigger trade reprisals this week. He had earlier met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, over a row on fishing rights that threatens to turn into a full-blown trade war. France is incensed that Britain and the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey have not issued some French boats with licences to fish in their waters since Brexit took full effect at the start of 2021. Paris has vowed that unless licences are approved, it will ban UK boats from unloading their catches at French ports from tomorrow and impose checks on all products brought to France from Britain.
Georgia opposition decries fraud as ruling party wins polls
Georgia’s ruling party has claimed victory in local election runoffs, but the opposition headed by jailed ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili – on hunger strike for a month – rejected official results as fraudulent. The central election commission said the ruling Georgian Dream party won narrowly in all but one municipality where candidates had faced a challenge by Saakashvili’s United National Movement.
North Macedonia Prime Minister resigns
Zoran Zaev, the prime minister of North Macedonia, has announced his resignation after his party, the Social Democratic Union, suffered losses in local elections. Zaev’s party has a narrow majority of 62 of 120 seats with junior coalition partners from the country’s Albanian minority. The electoral defeat could also disrupt the ruling coalition government.
Japan’s Kishida hangs on to power
Japan’s main stock index, the Nikkei, rose by more than 2% in early trading after the Liberal Democratic Party held on to power in Sunday’s general election even as his party took a drubbing. The poll posed an early test for new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The LDP-Komeito coalition was projected to win 239 to 288 seats in the lower house, more than the 233 needed for a majority. The LDP was expected to win between 212 to 255 seats.
Mo Salah to be taught to Egypt’s schoolchildren
The achievements of Mo Salah, the Liverpool football superstar, will be taught to schoolchildren as part of his native Egypt’s curriculum to inspire pupils to achieve. The 29-year-old’s story on the pitch, as well as his extensive charity efforts off it, are now included in both primary and secondary school books across the nation, The Times reported today. His sporting successes, which have seen him rack up the highest total number of English Premier League goals of any African footballer and become a lynchpin for Liverpool, are covered at primary level, while secondary pupils will learn of how he’s given back to society. The text for secondary students reads: “Salah’s desire to help others is because he wants to give young people a chance to succeed. “He is a role model to millions of Egyptians who give him the nickname ‘the happiness maker’.”