COP26: leaders agree deal to end deforestation
World leaders have agreed a deal that aims to halt and reverse global deforestation over the next decade as part of a multibillion-dollar package to tackle human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Xi Jinping, Jair Bolsonaro and Joe Biden are among the leaders who will commit to the declaration at COP26 in Glasgow later today to protect vast areas, ranging from the eastern Siberian taiga to the Congo basin, home to the world’s second largest rainforest. Land-clearing by humans accounts for almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, largely deriving from the destruction of the world’s forests for agricultural products such as palm oil, soy and beef.
India pledges zero-emissions by 2070
India has pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2070. Although it is the first time the world’s third biggest polluter has set this target, and experts said it was a realistic commitment, it is 20 years behind the 2050 date agreed by other developed countries.
Queen’s ‘emotive plea’
In a recorded message, the Queen urged world leaders to act now and “rise above politics” for the sake “of our children”. Observers described her speech as “her most significant intervention on the environment to date”. The Times picks up on the Queen’s reference to her “great pride” in the leading role her late husband played “in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet”.
The 95-year-old queen reminded delegates that “none of us will live for ever”.
Israel’s Energy Minister finds wheelchair inaccessibility
Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, who has a muscular dystrophy, was not able to attend the UN climate change conference in Glasgow on Monday because the event is not fully accessible by wheelchair. She told Israel’s Ynet news site that the organisers could not accommodate her needs. “It is sad that the UN, which promotes accessibility for people with disabilities, in 2021, does not provide accessibility to its events.”
France delays sanctions against the UK
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a last-minute decision to postpone retaliatory measures against the UK while talks over post-Brexit fishing rights continue. Paris had threatened to block British fishing boats from its ports from midnight in a row over the licensing of French fishing boats. The UK said it welcomed the move and would continue “intensive” discussions.
Man who handed Baldwin gun breaks his silence
The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun that killed a cinematographer has said he hoped the tragedy prompts the film industry to “re-evaluate its values and practices” to ensure no one is harmed again. David Halls released a statement to the New York Post, breaking his silence following the October 21 fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins and the wounding of director Joel Souza during production of the western Rust in New Mexico. “I’m shocked and saddened by her death,” he said.
COVID-19 deaths pass five million worldwide
More than five million people are known to have died of COVID-19 worldwide, 19 months since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 250 million cases of the virus have been recorded. The World Health Organization estimates the pandemic’s real global death toll could be two to three times higher than official records, even if vaccines have slowed the death rate. Deaths have been recorded as follows: Europe: 1,305,283; N. America: 1,149,011; S. America: 1,170,708; Asia: 1,172,254; Africa: 218,920 and Oceania: 3,725. In the US, more than 767,000 people have died, making it the country with the highest number of recorded deaths, followed by Brazil (608,000), India (458,500) and Russia (240,000).
‘Vax’ is word of the year
Oxford Languages has chosen ‘vax’ as its word of the year. The company that produces the Oxford English Dictionary said the shorthand for vaccine had “injected itself into the bloodstream of the English language” this year during the COVID pandemic. The word, and others related to vaccination, had also been broadened into a wider range of contexts including ‘double vaxxed’, ‘unvaxxed’, ‘anti-vaxxer’, ‘fully vaxxed’ and ‘vax cards’.
Oldest surviving Miss America dies at 97
Trailblazer Jo-Carroll Dennison, Miss Texas 1941 and the oldest surviving woman to be crowned Miss America, has died at 97. Dennison, a swimsuit category winner who defied World War II-era conventions by refusing to parade in a swimsuit during her year-long reign, passed away at her home in California, her friend and book editor Evan Mills confirmed to CNN on Monday. Dennison had agreed to compete in the pageant on the promise of a free swimsuit from a high-end department store. After winning, she went on to nab the Miss East Texas and Miss Texas titles, before competing in, and winning, Miss America in 1942 at 18.