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Cop26 summit at serious risk of failure, says Boris Johnson

Cop26 summit

Cop26 summit at serious risk of failure, says Boris Johnson

The Cop26 summit is at serious risk of failure because countries are still not promising enough to restrict global temperature rises to below 1.5C, Boris Johnson has warned.

In a blunt admission after two days of preliminary talks at the G20 meeting of world leaders, the prime minister conceded little progress had been made – and the conference is not on track to achieve a deal that keeps the goal alive. He put the chances of success as “six out of 10”.

“Currently, let’s be in no doubt, we are not going to hit it and we have to be honest with ourselves,” he said. The commitments being made so far were a “drop in the rapidly warming ocean”.

Johnson will set out the scale of the challenge facing humanity as he opens the Cop26 summit on Monday attended by almost 200 national representatives, including US president Joe Biden and India’s Narendra Modi, but missing key players such as China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

He will tell gathered leaders that the world is at “one minute to midnight” in terms of keeping warming below 1.5C, with the UN predicting a rise of 2.7C on the current trajectory – which would lead to catastrophic consequences.

He gave his assessment after meetings with G20 leaders at a gathering in Rome, where he said their progress on climate change had only “inched forward”.

Only 12 of them have pledged to reach net zero emissions “by or around 2050”. Several key nations – China and Saudi Arabia – are only formally pledging to meet that goal by 2060.

The UK is also hoping for tougher pledges from countries for 2030, with experts warning emissions need to be halved by this date, when currently they are on course to rise by 15%. Australia, for example, set out a new 2050 net zero target this week, but did not make a headline commitment for this decade.

As hosts of Cop26, the UK has the significant role of encouraging and negotiating pledges from almost 200 countries, with many developing nations arguing developed nations have a responsibility to do much more as they have already profited from causing historical emissions.

After the leaders meet over the next two days, negotiators will work on texts with the hope of reaching a deal by 12 November.

Johnson may come back to the summit towards the end if it looks like an agreement may be within touching distance.

On the prospects of a deal that keeps to 1.5C, Johnson said: “It’s nip and tuck, it’s touch and go. We could do it, or we could fail by the middle of November.”

Following the G20, there was a sense of disappointment and some trepidation from No 10 about the outcome of the Glasgow summit, although Labour has accused the government of deliberately lowering expectations in order to declare victory if there is only a modestly improved deal at the end.

Speaking at a press conference, Johnson said pledges from countries to lower their emissions needed to be stronger. Experts believe that for 1.5C to have a chance of success, countries need to make substantial and meaningful pledges of reductions by 2030 as well.

He will also ask for promises on phasing out coal, the move to electric vehicles, an end to deforestation, and finance – pledges of money to help developing nations deal with the climate emergency.

“The countries most responsible for historic[al] and present day emissions are not yet doing their fair share of the work,” Johnson said.

“If we are going to prevent Cop26 from being a failure, then that must change and I must be clear, that if Glasgow fails then the whole thing fails. The Paris agreement will have crumpled at the first reckoning.”

At the Paris agreement, made in 2015, world leaders committedto keeping the global temperature rise below 2C or as close to 1.5C as possible. Johnson said that agreement and “the hope that came with it” is currently “just a piece of paper”, which needed to be filled with “granular” pledges from every country.

Global average temperatures have already risen by 1.1C since the Industrial Revolution and only stringent emission cuts will prevent that increase from topping 1.5C.

Johnson said there were no “compelling excuses for our procrastination”, as the world has now seen firsthand the devastation that climate change causes – from heatwaves and droughts to wildfires and hurricanes.

His comments capped a weekend of at times dramatic language on climate change from Johnson, who told reporters travelling with him that he had been converted from previous scepticism following scientific briefings when he entered No 10.

Asked if a commitment in the G20’s end-of-summit communique to achieve carbon neutrality “around” the middle of the century was too vague, Johnson said he had hoped for more.

“I agree,” he said. “And that is a function really of the gap between some colleagues and others.”

Cop26 was going to be tricky, he said: “I’m not going to sugar coat it, I’m not going to pretend it’s other than it is. I think there’s a chance that we can make progress, everybody can see how to do it. It’s a question of will and leadership.”

Asked whether he had shown sufficient leadership given last week’s budget, which froze fuel duty and cut levies for short-haul flights, and cuts to the aid budget, Johnson pointed to the UK’s achievements in cutting emissions, and targets for phasing out petrol and diesel cars.

Ahead of the summit, Downing Street said it would be be contributing a further £1bn over five years to climate finance, taking its commitment from £11.6bn over five years in 2019 to £12.6 billion by 2025.

However, the pledged money will be drawn from the foreign aid budget, which Johnson’s government has slashed this year, and is contingent on the UK economy growing as forecast.

The G20 communique stressed the importance of fulfilling the commitment to provide $100bn (£73bn) to help poor countries adapt to climate change. The UK has acknowledged that Cop26 is not going to meet the hoped-for $100bn pledge this year.

The complex negotiations, which need to resolve more than 130 technical issues as well as the headline issue of “keeping 1.5 alive”, have already run into logistical trouble owing to Covid restrictions.

The main negotiating room has a capacity of 144 because of social distancing. Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that “as we have 193 parties, that’s literally not enough”.

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Environment

F.G’s Dangote Flood Committee Shares N1.5b Relief Materials To Flood Victims

The Dangote-led Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation (PCFRR), known as Dangote Flood Committee has distributed N1.5 billion relief materials to victims of flooding nationwide.

The PCFRR, which was established by the Federal Government following the 2012 flooding, is co-chaired by Africa’s foremost industrialist Aliko Dangote and Dr. Olisa Agbakoba.

The flagging off ceremony for the relief materials distribution for this year started in Borno State and was conducted by the State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum Tuesday in Maiduguri, Borno State capital. The Governor thanked the Dangote Flood Committee and promised that he will ensure that the items get to the victims.

UNICEF revealed that the 2022 flood killed 600 people, displaced 1.3 million and destroyed more than 82,000 homes in Nigeria, therefore making it the worst in decades.

The representative of the committee, Alhaji Umar Musa Gulani, assured at the flagging off for the Northeast zone that the exercise would also be conducted in the other five geopolitical zones of the country.

Gulani said the items from the committee have been officially handed over to the Borno State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). He said the exercise would be conducted across the six geo-political zones, beginning from the northeastern State of Borno.

The breakdown of items donated includes 86 bags of rice, 34 bags of beans, 34 bags of maize, 34 bags of millet, 34 bags of Guinea Corn, 34 bags of Garri, 86 cartons of noodles, 86 cartons of spaghetti, 86 cartons of macaroni and 86 bags of sugar, and 857 bags of cement, among several food and non-food items.

Gulani said over N10 billion has been expended by the committee to mitigate the effect of flooding since inception in 2012, adding that no fewer than 84 Hostels have been built for flood victims in 24 states of Nigeria. According to him: “This private sector led project is highly commendable and it has been sustained in the past ten years. It is a selfless service from the private sector and Nigerians should appreciate their selfless service to humanity”.

Director General of NEMA Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed described the Committee’s intervention as a milestone for Nigeria in general, and flood victims in particular. “Responding to the humanitarian outcomes of this nature requires concerted effort,” the DG said, and added that the donation by the Dangote Flood Committee would eventually be made available to flood victims across the affected states in Nigeria.

Speaking on behalf of the victims, Khalifa El-Miskin said the victims were extremely appreciative of the gesture.

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Environment

600 Persons Killed, 1.3m Displaced By Floods – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund has said at least that 600 persons died and 1.3 million others rendered homeless by floods.

This was disclosed by the Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Juliet Chiluwe, on Saturday, during an official handover of supplies for Anambra State Flood Response from UNICEF to Anambra State Government

Ms Chiluwe said the figure was obtained according to government data available it received.

During the visit by the UNICEF, the first set of supplies of 100 drums of chlorine for disinfection of water sources, 40 cartons of Aquatabs for household water treatment and 320 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic food were handed over to the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who was represented by his deputy, Onyekachukwu Ibezim.

The UNICEF official said, “We acknowledged that since September 2022, the worst floods in a decade affected 2.8 million people, of which an estimated 60 per cent are children, across 34 of the 36 states in Nigeria. Of those affected, 1.3 million people have been displaced, and over 600 people have died in relation to flooding according to government data.

“Continuous heavy rains have collapsed hundreds of public health facilities, water systems and sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, diarrhoea, and malaria.

“To contribute to the effort of government and other development partners, UNICEF, with funding the Central Emergency Response Fund, has initiated a multisectoral response comprising Health, Child Protection and WASH sectors, to mitigate the impact of the floods support the early recovery-phase of the affected population in Anambra State.“

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Environment

Dantata, Rabiu, Others Gift Jigawa Flood Victims N1b

Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, and Abdulsamad Rabiu, the founder of BUA group, on Saturday raised over N1 billion for Jigawa flood victims.

The donations were made in Dutse at the fund raising in support of the 2022 flood victims in the state.

Dantata and Rabiu each donated N200 million, Jigawa State Government N250 million, Gov. Muhammad Badaru, donated N25 million on behalf of himself, family and his company, Talamis Group.

However, Dantata, who was represented by Alhaji Salisu Sambajo, expressed concern over the conditions in which the flood victims found themselves after the disaster.

The philanthropist prayed for those who died during the disaster and sympathised with those who lost their property and crops in the floods.

Similarly, Badaru also expressed appreciation to the teeming donors for their kind gesture and urged the fund raising committee to be equitable and just in the distribution of the palliatives and cash.

The committee Chairman, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, (Wazirin Dutse) and former Minister of Power, thanked individuals and group of companies for supporting the victims.

Other donors included the members of the state and National Assembly as well as Council Chairmen.

Zenith Bank, Jaiz Bank, FCMB, Sterling Bank, GTBANK and Unity Bank were among the financial institutions who made donations.

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