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Day 2 of G20 summit as COP26 opens

What does COP stand for? And your other burning questions answered
03:25

What you need to know

  • Leaders from the world’s 20 leading economies met in Rome for day 2 of the G20 summit, their first in-person meet since the pandemic.
  • The G20 summit ended Sunday with an agreement on climate that commits its member nations to end coal financing by the end of the year and aims to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • Meanwhile, the high-stakes UN COP26 summit kicked off in Scotland. Many G20 leaders are expected to travel to Glasgow after the Rome summit concludes.

Our live coverage has ended for the day. Catch up on today’s events in the posts below.

28 Posts

A visibly moved Biden reflects on "personal" relationship with Pope Francis

A visibly moved President Biden took the opportunity to reflect on his “personal” relationship with Pope Francis Sunday, praising the Catholic leader as “someone who’s provided a great solace for my family when my son died.”

“This is a man who has a great empathy — he is a man who understands that part of his Christianity is to reach out and to forgive,” Biden told reporters. “And so, I just find my relationship with him one that I personally take great solace in — he is a really, truly genuine decent man.”

Biden did not directly respond to a question from reporters on a split in the Catholic Church, where conservative bishops moved forward this summer with a plan that would deny the President communion over his support for abortion, instead recounting a visit the Pope made to the US, during which time he counseled Biden and his family, “When I lost a real part of my soul—when I lost my Beau, my son.”

“And he came in and he talked to my family for a considerable amount of time—10, 15 minutes about my son Beau,” Biden recalled. “And he didn’t just generically talk about him, he knew about him — he knew what he did, he knew who he was, he knew where he went to school. He knew what — he knew what a man he was, and it had such a cathartic impact on his children and my wife and our family.”

After Biden’s meeting Friday with the pope, he told reporters Francis told him he was “a good Catholic,” and that he should continue receiving communion, despite opposition from some conservative American bishops over his support for abortion.

When Biden was elected, he said, the Pope called him “to tell me how much he appreciated the fact that I would focus on the poor and focus on the needs of people who are in trouble,” adding the Jesuit “is everything I learned about Catholicism, from the time I was a kid going from grade school through high school.”

The President also acknowledged he was reluctant to divulge too much about his relationship with the Pope, telling reporters, “I’m not gonna lie, this is just personal.”

“I don’t want to talk more about it, because so much of it is personal,” he later added.

Watch here:

01:10

Biden says the US is "continuing to suffer" from Trump's decision on Iran

President Biden said Sunday that the US is “continuing to suffer” from the decisions of the Trump administration in specific regards to former President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal. 

“We’re continuing to suffer from the very bad decisions President Trump made to pull out of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” Biden told reporters at a press conference at the G20 in Rome. 

Biden went on to say that the future of the Iran deal is dependent on whether the original partners in the JCPOA and the original agreement “stick with us and make sure there’s a price to pay economically for them” if Iran fails to come back.

Asked whether his administration will respond if Iran launches drone strikes or makes any other provocation, Biden answered: “We are going to continue to respond.”

Watch here:

00:49

Biden calls Russia and China out for failing to make meaningful commitments "to deal with climate change"

President Biden addresses a press conference following the G20 summit on October 31.

President Biden criticized the lack of commitment from China and Russia at the G20 summit to agree to meaningful climate change initiatives.

“The disappointment relates to the fact that Russia and including not only Russia but China, basically didn’t show up in terms of any commitments to deal with climate change. And there’s a reason why people should be disappointed in that, I found it disappointing myself, but what we did do, we passed a number of things here to end the subsidization of coal, we made commitments here, from across the board, all of us,” Biden said during remarks following the end of the summit Sunday in Rome.

Biden also spoke about the strength of his commitment to climate change in the US while his Build Back Better plan and infrastructure bills have yet to pass in Congress.

“I believe we will pass my Build Back Better plan and I believe we will pass the infrastructure bill. Combined they have $900 billion in climate resistance and dealing with climate and resilience and it’s the largest investment in the history of the world that’s ever occurred and it’s going to pass in my view, but we will see,” the President said.

More background: The Group of 20’s leaders’ summit ended Sunday with an agreement on climate that commits its member nations to end coal financing by the end of the year and aims to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But the final communiqué lacked firm pledges and failed to put an end date on the actual use of coal. 

Watch here:

00:56

CNN’s Angela Dewan contributed to this report.

Biden says he met with a "broad coalition" of partners to address supply chain backlogs

President Biden addressed efforts to ease the supply chain backlogs during his remarks from Rome, Italy, following the G20 summit.

“I just finished meeting with a broad coalition of partners on how to address the immediate supply chain backlogs and dealing with, what the world has been dealing with and facing, and we’re facing back at home, and how to make sure we have access to all the product we need from shoes to furniture to electronics to automobiles. To make sure that we talk about how better to secure ourselves against these future shocks whether it’s pandemic, climate change or disasters,” Biden told reporters.

The President made a push for his domestic agenda and the Build Back Better plan and how it will assist in “strengthening” the supply chain.

“In the Build Back Better framework which is, God willing, going to be voted on as early as sometime this coming week… includes, for the first time, several billion dollars to help strengthen the supply chain to make sure that we have access to everything that we need —and it’s going to give workers and folks making all these products just a little bit of breathing room,” Biden said.

Some context on the supply chain issue in the US: As families across the country deal with wide-ranging impacts of the congested supply chain – from delayed furniture to rising car prices – others are facing a more acute problem: finding enough to eat.

survey published in September by Impact Genome and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 23% of Americans experienced food challenges in the past year, with 37% receiving some type of food assistance from non-profits or the government.

Watch here:

00:51

NOW: Biden speaks following critical G20 Summit

President Biden speaks during a press conference at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome on October 31.

President Biden is speaking to reporters following the high-stakes G20 summit, where leaders failed to make a net-zero pledge.

The Group of 20’s leaders’ summit ended Sunday with an agreement on climate that commits its member nations to end coal financing by the end of the year and aims to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But the final communiqué lacked firm pledges and failed to put an end date on the actual use of coal. It did not make any commitments to improve on issues like climate finance, paving the way for difficult negotiations at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, which kicks off Monday.

CNN’s Angela Dewan contributed to this report

G20 leaders fail to make a net-zero pledge

Keeping the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celcius will require “meaningful” and “effective actions,” said the G20 leaders in their closing statement Sunday. 

The leaders of the world’s dominant economies remain “committed” to upholding the target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to the statement. 

“We recognize that the impacts of climate change at 1.5 degrees Celcius are much lower than at 2 degrees Celsius. Keeping 1.5 degrees Celcius within reach will require meaningful and effective actions and commitment by all countries,” the statement said.

“Clear national pathways” which align long-term ambitions with short and medium-term goals will be integral alongside cooperation with the financial and technology sectors, they said. 

“Sustainable and responsible consumption and production” will serve as “critical enablers, in the context of sustainable development,” the leaders added. 

The statement failed to make iron-clad commitments to key climate targets such as the net zero pledge, instead “acknowledging the key relevance of achieving global net zero greenhouse gas emissions or carbon neutrality by or around mid-century.”

The leaders pledged to end the provision of international public finance for new coal power generation abroad by the end of this year but didn’t mention a specific timescale for the entire phasing out of coal power as an energy source.

They also acknowledged that methane emissions “represent a significant contribution to climate change” but failed to express support for the Global Methane Pledge, which Australia has refused to sign. 

G20 countries will strive to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels “over the medium term” which “encourage wasteful consumption,” the statement added.  

The leaders did however recognize that “G20 members can significantly contribute to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions”, saying they committed “in line with the latest scientific developments and with national circumstances” to update their 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) where necessary.  

More context: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres left the summit slightly disheartened, saying in a tweet that he was leaving Rome with “my hopes unfulfilled.”

Countering that at least these hopes “were not buried,” the UN chief said he would be directing his attention now on the COP26 summit in Glasgow and keeping “the goal of 1.5 degrees alive.”

In a post summit press conference, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson lamented the fact that “just twelve G20 members have committed to reach net zero by 2050”. 

“The country’s most responsible for historic and present-day of emissions are not yet doing their fair share of the work” he warned. 

Russia will set its own target year for carbon neutrality

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a news conference on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Rome.

Russia does not intend to adhere to the 2050 deadline for achieving carbon neutrality imposed by western countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday on the sidelines of the G20 summit. 

“Why do you believe 2050 is some magical [date] that is not negotiable?” Lavrov said answering the question about the agreement on reaching carbon neutrality, adding, “If the media in Italy is convinced that the EU, the US, and the G7 have the ambition to do it by 2050… and if they’re presenting this as the final truth, I’m afraid this is not respectful to other members of G20 and to all other members of the international community.”

The G20 members managed to reach an agreement on signing the communique early Sunday morning but Russia has set 2060 as its own target date for carbon neutrality, rather than the proposed 2050 date, according to Lavrov.

“We don’t like to go by empty ambitions and empty promises,” Lavrov said. “The European Union promised to do away with the Russian gas pipelines and to buy all its needs on the spot. What happened with this ambition? We all know. So we have announced that we will do this, we will reach carbon neutrality by no later than 2060. This is our calculated commitment and we are sticking to it.”

On Friday: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

“We decided to implement a new program to improve energy efficiency (by) 2035. This program will make an important contribution to our achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 at the latest,” Putin said via videoconference during the G20 summit second session Sunday. “Moreover, we do not just intend to achieve carbon neutrality; we are also going to make sure that in the next three decades, the accumulated volume of net greenhouse gas emissions in Russia will be even lower than that of our neighbors and colleagues in the European Union.”

UN secretary general says G20 summit did not fulfill his hopes but did not bury them either

 Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters at United Nations headquarters during the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 20, 2021 in New York City.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that the G20 summit did not fulfill his hopes, but did not bury them either.

“While I welcome the G20’s recommitment to global solutions, I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled — but at least they are not buried,” Guterres tweeted. “Onwards to COP26 in Glasgow to keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive and to implement promises on finance and adaptation for people & planet.”

Read the tweet:

Mother Nature wreaks havoc with UK rail traffic heading to climate summit

Passengers wait in Euston Station after trains were cancelled ahead COP26 on Sunday, October 31.

Heavy rains and strong winds have caused delays and cancellations to trains heading from London to Glasgow, where the UN climate change summit COP26 is underway.

A tree fell on the tracks on Sunday morning due the weather conditions on the train line London Euston-Glasgow and teams on the ground are working on the disruption, a National Rail press officer told CNN over the phone.

“Due to damage to the overhead electric wires at Peterborough, the northbound lines are blocked to electric trains. Network Rail are working to remove tree branches which have fallen onto the lines in multiple locations and then inspect the lines for damage,” London North Eastern Railway (LNER) said via Twitter, advising people not to travel.

In a more recent update, LNER added that “Network Rail are on site and expect to be able to reopen the lines soon. Services will be very busy when they resume and will remain subject to disruption for the rest of the day. We continue to advise you do not travel.”

G20 communiqué expected to put 2021 end date on coal financing, climate think tank co-founder says

The G20’s final communiqué is expected to put an end date of 2021 on the financing of coal and include language committing to keep a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming within reach, Tom Burke, co-founder of the E3G climate think tank, told CNN. 

Burke, who has been briefed on the talks, said there would be language around “accelerating action” to achieve net-zero emissions by or around mid-century. That would include an acknowledgment that countries’ emissions reductions plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), over this decade need to put them on track for net-zero by 2050.    

CNN has not seen the draft communiqué and details of any agreement are subject to change.

Some countries’ current NDCs do not put them on track to achieve net-zero goals for the mid-century, several analyses have shown. Scientists say that the world must halve emissions over this decade to have any chance of hitting net-zero by 2050 and containing global warming to around 1.5 degrees.

The G20 agreement is also expected to reaffirm the commitment for wealthy nations to transfer $100 billion a year in climate finance to the Global South, an existing agreement that has not been fulfilled, Burke said.

A recent report from the COP26 presidency showed that the world would not meet this target until 2023. It will also agree to the mobilization of money from financial institutions, especially development banks, to fill the gap and fund a global green recovery.

It should also include a first-time acknowledgment of the “significant contribution” of methane emissions to climate change and the need for its reduction. The US and EU are leading the Global Methane Pledge, which more than 60 countries have signed, agreeing to cut methane emissions by 30% over this decade. 

Methane emissions come largely from leaky fossil fuel infrastructure as well as livestock. Australia has said it will not sign onto the pledge. Other major methane emitters, including Indonesia, have signed on. 

Read more here.

Turkey and US agree to form a mechanism to improve bilateral relations

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Biden agreed to form a joint mechanism to strengthen and develop Turkey-US relations during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome on Sunday, Erdogan’s office said. 

“The two leaders expressed their will to further strengthen and develop Turkey-US relations and agreed to establish a joint mechanism with this purpose,” according to a statement from the Turkish president’s office.

During the meeting, Turkey and the US also expressed their content about steps taken to combat the climate crisis during the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow, Erdogan’s office said. 

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also attended the meeting, where bilateral relations and regional issues were discussed in a “positive atmosphere,” the Turkish presidency added. 

Both countries also agreed to undertake mutual steps to increase their economic trade.  

“Mutual steps to be taken with the perspective of increasing the bilateral trade volume were discussed in the meeting. The NATO alliance and strategical partnership were emphasized,” Erdogan’s office said.

EU-US agreement to suspend steel and aluminum tariffs is a "big step forward," EU commission president says

The EU-US agreement to suspend steel and aluminum tariffs is a “big step forward in fighting climate change,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday in a joint statement with US President Biden during the G20 in Rome.

Both leaders announced Sunday they will also work on a new global, sustainable steel arrangement.

The agreement “marks a milestone in the renewed EU-US partnership. And it is our global first in our efforts to achieve the decarbonisation of the global steel production and trade,” von der Leyen said, adding that it is also “a big step forward in fighting climate change.”

The EU commission president went on to say that this arrangement is open to all like-minded partners.

“Steel manufacturing is one of the highest carbon emission sources globally. And for steel consumption and trade to be sustainable, we must address the carbon intensity of the industry,” she said.

Following the US announcement of the easing of steel and aluminum tariffs, the EU leader announced that the commission will also propose to suspend the tariffs that the bloc had introduced.

“I’m also pleased to join President Biden in announcing the pausing of our dispute on this issue in the World Trade Organisation,” von der Leyen said.

China, India, Australia, Russia and Japan resisting language around climate commitments, EU delegate says

Several major producers or consumers of coal have shown resistance to climate language in the G20 draft communiqué around decarbonization, especially around the use of coal, Bas Eickhout, an EU member of parliament, who is close to the talks told CNN.

Japan led a group of countries at the G7 meeting in June to soften language around decarbonizing power systems, and the country, along with China, India, Australia and Russia, want to ensure the language in the current G20 communiqué does not include firm commitments, said Eickhout, who is a member of the EU Parliament’s delegation at the upcoming COP26 talks.

Eickhout said that Japan was insisting the communiqué says that power systems should “overwhelmingly” decarbonize by the 2030s, rather than making it a clear commitment. That has the backing of China and India, the world’s biggest coal consumers, and Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter by value, as well as Russia, another major exporter and consumer.

Russia resisted putting an end date on the financing of coal projects abroad, a commitment the Chinese President Xi Jinping made in September at the UN General Assembly, Eickhout said, but added that Russia was showing some room for compromise. 

At a press conference at the G20 in Rome, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that there were “quite a large group of nations that are, hold, similar concerns about this” when asked about specific language related to coal. 

“Well, those matters have been worked through, through the sherpas, and through the communiqué,” he said. “So we’ll see what that lands in the next day or so.” 

CNN has not seen the draft communiqué and has reached out to officials in China, Japan, Australia and Russia for comment.

Biden hails easing of steel and aluminum tariffs

President Biden on Sunday hailed an end to a long-festering trade war with the European Union over steel and aluminum tariffs issued by his predecessor, President Trump.

Speaking alongside the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Rome, Biden said it was a “testament to the power of our strong partnership and to what the US can accomplish by working together with our friends.”

Trump enacted the tariffs in 2018, claiming that foreign imports harmed national security. Europe responded with tariffs of its own on American products, including Kentucky bourbon and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

On Saturday, US officials said the tariffs would be eased, though not removed entirely. Some quantities of European aluminum and steel will now be allowed to enter the US tariff-free.

In his remarks, Biden said going forward, both the US and Europe would address ways to reduce the carbon intensity of steel manufacturing.

He said the new agreement “demonstrates how by harnessing our diplomatic and economic power, we can reject the false idea that we can’t grow our economy and support American workers while tackling the climate crisis.”

“These arrangements will one lift up US aluminum and steel, which is among the greatest steel in the world — that is somewhat prejudice on my behalf — incentivize emission reductions in one of the most carbon intensive sectors of the global economy; restrict access to our markets for dirty steel from countries like China, and counter countries that dumped steel in our markets, hammering our workers,” Biden said.

“As we move forward we’re going to continue together to update the rules of the road and the 21st century economy and prove to the world that democracies — democracies — are taking on hard problems and delivering sound solutions,” Biden added.

G20 nations need to "accelerate phasing out of coal power," Italian prime minister says

G20 nations need to agree to accelerate the phasing out of coal power and invest more in renewable energy, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told G20 leaders on Sunday.

“We need to set long-term goals that are consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and make short-term changes to achieve them,” Draghi said. “We must accelerate the phasing out of coal and invest more in renewable energy. We also need to make sure that we use available resources wisely, which means that we should become able to adapt our technologies and also our lifestyles to this new world.”

Draghi went on to say that G20 nations “must help countries around the world deal with and adapt to the effects of climate change.”

Pope Francis hopes world leaders listen to "the cry of the Earth"

Pope Francis urged world leaders on Sunday, ahead of COP26, to listen to the “cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor,” as they suffer the consequences of a devastating climate change. 

“The United Nations summit on climate change, COP26, begins today in Glasgow, Scotland. Let us pray that the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor will be heard,” the Pope said during his weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican city. 

The Pope then led a prayer for the success of COP26 in bringing “real hope to future generations.”

Pope Francis will not be attending the climate summit in Glasgow.

France and UK try to ease tensions over fishing row

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to the Trevi fountain on October 31, 2021 in Rome, Italy.

France and the United Kingdom have “agreed to hold discussions in the coming hours and days on fishing licenses,” French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said Sunday.

Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a working meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome.

The French president said he “wanted to continue the dialogue on the basis of exigency, seriousness and respect,” when it came to “the commitments made jointly by the United Kingdom and the European Union in the Brexit agreement,” the Elysee Palace said in a statement. 

Here’s some background: French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday sent a private letter to European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen calling on the EU to assert its rights in the dispute or set a dangerous precedent for future post-Brexit negotiations.

In the letter obtained by CNN Friday, Castex complains that despite “significant effort” by the European fishing sector, the UK and Channel Islands have only issued 216 fishing licenses to French vessels since the post-Brexit trade deal was worked out.

A number he calls “limited” and far short of the amount he believes France is owed under the trade agreement where licenses would be given to vessels that could show they had fished in each other’s waters for years.

France has asked the European Union to show a “total determination” to resolve an ongoing dispute with the United Kingdom over post-Brexit fishing rights in coastal waters.

On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised concerns about the French government’s rhetoric, saying in a statement that the UK “has granted 98% of licence applications from EU vessels to fish in the UK’s waters and is happy to consider any further evidence for the remaining 2%.”

Johnson told von der Leyen on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome on Saturday that French threats were “completely unjustified” and “did not appear to be compatible with the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement or wider international law.”

UK names an Antarctic glacier "Glasgow Glacier" to highlight the climate emergency

The United Kingdom announced it would be naming an “enormous body of Ice in Antarctica” as the “Glasgow Glacier” to highlight the importance of COP26, held in the Scottish city.

The name was suggested by a team of scientists from the University of Leeds who had put forward climate-themed names with the support of the UK government, a Downing Street statement said Sunday.

“By naming this glittering giant of nature after the city where next week humankind will gather to fight for the future of the planet, we have a stark reminder of what we are working to preserve,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in the statement.

The statement highlighted the work of researcher Heather Selley, who is part of the team of scientists from the University of Leeds. Selley said that 14 glaciers in the Getz Basin of West Antarctica have “sped up by an average of 25% between 1994 and 2018 due to climate change.”

Her study, which was published in February, found that 315 gigatonnes of ice have been lost from the region in the last 25 years, “adding the equivalent of 126 million Olympic-sized swimming pools of water to the world’s oceans,” the statement said. 

Some context: As research continues around the glaciers and the impact of global warming, further unnamed glaciers have been requested to be named after locations that have hosted climate conferences, reports or treaties, which will then be added to maps, charts and future publications.

“Naming the glaciers after the locations of major climate treaties, conferences and reports is a great way to celebrate the international collaboration on climate change science and policy over the last 42 years,” Selley said.

“We wanted to permanently mark the outstanding effort the scientific community has put into measuring the present-day impact of climate change and its predicted future evolution,” she added.

France pledges $7 billion per year to help underdeveloped countries achieve ecological transitions

France will devote $7 billion a year to help developing and underdeveloped countries achieve ecological transitions, French President Macron said Sunday as the delegates were gathering for the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

“I have a clear message: COP26 can succeed, it must succeed!” Macron said in a series of posts on Twitter. “The COP26 will succeed if the countries with the most resources mobilise 100 billion dollars to support the transition of the countries that have less.”

Earlier in the day: During his meeting with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Macron told the British leader that France is ready to support the British presidency at the conference, as the two governments try to de-escalate their recent fishing disputes.

“The commitment of France and the United Kingdom to climate is indeed a factor of rapprochement between the two countries,” said an Élysée press release published after the meeting. 

Leaders will need to agree on these points at COP26

As G20 leaders struggle to pin down a collective declaration on climate in Rome, here’s what needs to happen at the COP26 in Glasgow.

Alok Sharma, the president of COP26, has said he wants this year’s conference to reach an agreement on a number of key targets, including:

  • Keeping the goal of “1.5 alive,” a target that some fossil fuel-producing countries have resisted – at least in terms of strengthening language around it in any agreement.
  • Putting an end date on the use of “unabated” coal, which leaves open the possibility to keep using some coal, as long as the majority of greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuel are captured, preventing them to enter the atmosphere. Some scientists and activists groups have said all coal should be consigned to history.
  • Providing $100 billion of annual climate financing, which wealthy nations agreed to, in order to help developing countries reduce fossil fuel emissions and adapt to the impacts of the crisis.
  • Making all new car sales zero emissions within 14-19 years.
  • Ending deforestation by the end of the decade, as forests play a crucial role in removing carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Reducing emissions from methane, a potent gas with more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

Some context: COP26 couldn’t come at a more crucial time.

This past year of deadly wildfires and floods in many parts of the world has left little doubt that climate change is here now, and is touching all corners of the Earth.

A state-of-the-science report published by the UN in August showed that the world is warming faster than scientists previously thought, and that slashing greenhouse gas emissions by at least half this decade is crucial to staving off the more catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. An agreement on how to achieve this dramatic reduction is one of the key goals of the meeting.

COP26 kicks off in Glasgow on an optimistic note

President for COP26, Alok Sharma, speaks on stage during the opening ceremony of COP26 at SECC on October 31, in Glasgow, Scotland.

COP26 has officially started in Glasgow.

The opening ceremony began with a minute’s silence for victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The COP presidency was then ceremonially handed over from Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s Minister of the Environment and the COP25 president, to Alok Sharma, a British Member of Parliament and the President of COP26.

The presidency of COP rotates among the five regional groups, designated as Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and Other.

The “Other” states group includes Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America.

In his opening speech, Sharma struck an optimistic note, saying: “We know what we need to do. Because six years ago in Paris, we agreed our shared goal. We said we will protect people and nature from the effects of climate change.”

“We can move the negotiations forward or we can move on increasing ambitions. So let’s come together these two weeks and ensure that what Paris promised Glasgow delivers,” Sharma said.

Schmidt used her outgoing speech to send a message to the G20 leaders, most of whom are in Rome at the G20 summit.

“The success of COP26 will be assessed in three areas: (emission cutting) ambitions, finance and rules … I would like to appeal to the leaders of G20, I urge you to fulfil your commitments,” Schmidt said.

Prince Charles tells G20 leaders that COP26 is the "last chance saloon" on climate action

Prince Charles, center, poses with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, second from right, and his daughter, Laura Mattarella, right, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, second from left, and his wife, Maria Serena Cappello as he attends a reception and dinner at The Quirinale Palace on October 30, 2021 in Rome, Italy.

Britain’s Prince Charles told G20 leaders that they have “overwhelming responsibilities to ‘generations unborn,’” on climate action, adding that the COP26 summit is the last chance to take action.

The Prince of Wales was addressing G20 leaders as well as leaders of the financial services and private sector on Sunday on the invitation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Charles said that the world needs trillions of dollars to fight climate change but that can be made in partnership with financial institutions, government, and the private sector to reach the 1.5 degree climate target. 

“Following the recent COP15 biodiversity meeting in China and with this week COP26 in UK its only too clear that we will need trillion of dollars of investment every year to create the necessarily new infrastructure and meet the vital 1.5 degrees climate target that will save our forest, and farms and oceans and wildlife.

“No government has those sorts of sums which is why I spent so much time over the past 19 months trying to form a global alliance over the private sector as I longed believed that it holds the ultimate key to the solutions we seek,” he said.

Prior to Charles’ address, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told leaders that they must accelerate efforts in moving economies to sustainable paths, saying that any delays in doing so will come with serious consequences.

Draghi said: “Either we act now, face the costs of the transition, and succeed in moving our economy onto a more sustainable path, or we delay acting, pay a much higher price later, and risk failing.”

“The shift to clean energy is key to achieving the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We can no longer postpone it. This transition requires a significant effort, and governments must be ready to support their citizens and businesses through it. But it also offers opportunities to boost growth, create jobs and reduce inequalities,” Draghi added.

The Italian prime minister also said that “the fight against climate change is the defining challenge of our times.”

Biden raised concerns over Russian missile system during meeting with Turkey's President

President Joe Biden meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, Sunday, October 31 in Rome.

US President Joe Biden raised concerns over Turkey’s possession of the Russian S-400 missile system in his meeting with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the G20 Summit on Sunday.

“President Biden reaffirmed our defense partnership and Turkey’s importance as a NATO Ally, but noted US concerns over Turkey’s possession of the Russian S-400 missile system. He also emphasized the importance of strong democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and the rule of law for peace and prosperity,” a readout from the White House read.

Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system has been a sticking point in relations between the two countries for years.

The first shipment of the S-400 system landed in Ankara in July 2019.

The Pentagon stopped the delivery of F-35 jet equipment to Turkey in April 2019, due to their decision to purchase the Russian-made system.

In October 2020, the Pentagon condemned Turkey’s reported test of the S-400 system. Officials believe the missile system could pose a threat to the US and NATO.

The Trump administration announced in December 2020 it would sanction Turkey for the purchase.

World leaders will travel to Scotland later today for COP26. As the climate summit opens, here's what to know.

A general view of the the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday, October 31, venue of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in the city. 

As the G20 continues in Rome on Sunday morning, a pivotal UN conference on climate change is finally getting underway.

The 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change – known as COP26 – was postponed last year due to the pandemic.

World leaders will be attending the annual event, with many G20 leaders scheduled to travel to Glasgow after the Rome summit concludes. No world leaders are expected to speak during the opening day of COP26.

A lot of the discussions during the climate summit will take place among ministers and other high-level officials working on climate issues.

Why COP26 matters:

The conferences are massive events with a lot of side meetings that attract people from the business sector, fossil fuel companies, climate activists and other groups with a stake in the climate crisis. Some of them are successful — the Paris Agreement was hammered out during COP21, for example — and some are painfully unproductive.

More than 190 countries signed onto the Paris Agreement after the COP21 meeting in 2015, to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but preferably to 1.5 degrees.

Half a degree may not sound like a huge difference, but scientists say any additional warming past 1.5 degrees will trigger more intense and frequent climate extremes. For example, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees could result in around 420 million fewer people being frequently exposed to extreme heatwaves, according to the UN.

Scientists see 2 degrees as a critical threshold where extreme weather would render some of the world’s most densely populated areas into uninhabitable deserts or flood them with sea water.

Although the Paris Agreement was a landmark moment in the quest to address the climate crisis, it didn’t include details on how the world would achieve its goal. The subsequent COPs have sought to make the plans attached to it more ambitious and to detail courses of action.

“On paper, the Paris Agreement was always designed as a cyclical process — ‘see you in five years, with better plans and renewed efforts,’” said Lola Vallejo, the climate program director at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations. “So right now, we are at this deadline, pushed back by Covid.

Ahead of the opening of COP26 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a dire warning on Friday. He said that “there is a serious risk that (the Glasgow conference) will not deliver “because the formal commitments by governments so far still fall short, and even “under the best-case scenario, temperatures will still rise well above two degrees.” 

Guterres urged greater ambition on mitigation, and ambition on climate finance.

G20 leaders toss coins into Rome's Trevi Fountain

G20 world leaders throw coins into the Trevi Fountain during the G20 summit in Rome, Sunday, October 31, 2021. 

G20 leaders gathered for a photo-op at the famed Trevi Fountain Sunday morning, where they threw coins backwards into the water.

The Trevi, built in 1762, is one of the most famous tourist sites in Rome and is dominated by a giant figure of the sea god Neptune on a winged chariot. The fountain is often featured in film, including the cinematic classic La Dolce Vita, which featured actress Anita Ekberg wading through its waters in a memorable scene.

Legend has it that by tossing a coin in the fountain, a visitor is sure to return to Rome.

US President Joe Biden didn’t participate in the photo-op. He spent the morning at his accommodations, the Villa Taverna residence of the US ambassador to Italy.

G20 leaders from left, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson perform the traditional coin toss in front of the Trevi Fountain during an event for the G20 summit in Rome, Sunday, October 31, 2021.

What's happening at the G20 summit today

President Joe Biden meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, Sunday, October 31 in Rome.

It’s the second day of the G20 summit in Rome, with climate change, the global economy and the Covid-19 pandemic remaining high on the agenda.

Here’s a look at today’s key moments to watch:

  • Biden is meeting now with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The sit-down comes about a week after Erdoğan ordered 10 ambassadors – including those from the US, France, and Germany – be declared “persona non grata” after calling for the release of jailed Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala.
  • Later, he’s expected to host an event on “global supply chain resilience,” according to a senior administration official. The focus of the meeting will be, short-term, “about effectively identifying bottlenecks and then pursuing strategies to break those bottlenecks,” the official said.
  • Sessions on climate and sustainable development will be held today, with Britain’s Prince of Wales scheduled to address leaders on Sunday morning. Prince Charles’ address is expected to be a plea ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

Biden meets with Turkey's Erdoğan at G20

US President Joe Biden, left, greets President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, right, during a "family" photo-op at the G20 summit in Rome, Italy on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The Democratic Republic of Congo's President and African Union Chair Felix Tshisekedi is seen in the center. Biden and Erdogan are meeting on Sunday.

US President Joe Biden is meeting with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the G20 summit site in Rome on Sunday.

In a short photo op before the meeting, President Biden said he is planning to have a “good conversation” with his Turkish counterpart in Rome.

Speaking Sunday alongside Erdoğan, Biden wouldn’t answer questions about whether he planned to raise human rights or whether he believed Turkey was too close to Russia.

Ahead of the sit-down, a senior administration official said Biden would warn Erdogan that “precipitous action is not going to benefit the US-Turkey partnership and alliance.” Officials said regional issues like Syria and Libya would be up for discussion.

The US-Turkey relationship has grown tense in recent years. Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air defense system has contributed to the strain. 

The sit-down comes about a week after Erdoğan ordered 10 ambassadors – including those from the US, France, and Germany – be declared “persona non grata” after calling for the release of jailed Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala.

The two leaders last met one-on-one in June at NATO headquarters in Brussels, a meeting which Biden said was “positive and productive.” It was a closely watched meeting after Biden in April became the first US president in decades to recognize the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as a genocide – a move that risked a potential fracture with Turkey but signaled a commitment to global human rights.

Today is the second day of the 2021 G20 summit. Here's what happened on day 1.

G20 leaders pose for a photo at the Trevi fountain on Sunday, October 31, 2021 in Rome, Italy.

G20 leaders met face-to-face for the first time in two years on Saturday, after pandemic restrictions meant that everyone attended last year’s summit virtually.

Here’s a recap of Saturday’s key moments:

  • Leaders urged to unite in the face of global challenges, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in his opening speech. “Even before [the pandemic] we faced protectionism, unilateralism, nationalism – but the more we go with all our challenges, the more it is clear that