Around 100 nations pledge to slash methane emissions on day 2 of COP26

By Eliza Mackintosh, Angela Dewan, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Mahtani and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 5:33 a.m. ET, November 4, 2021
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2:27 p.m. ET, November 2, 2021

Exclusive: Boris Johnson explains not wearing a mask next to 95-year-old David Attenborough

From CNN's Luke McGee, Alicia Lloyd and Ben Kirby

Boris Johnson struggled to explain his decision not to wear a mask while sitting next to 95-year-old environmentalist David Attenborough as he tried to put a positive spin on this week's COP26 climate summit.

"I've been wearing masks in confined spaces with people I don't normally talk to ... it's up to people to take a judgment whether they're at a reasonable distance from someone ... that's the approach we take," he said in an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

The British Prime Minister struck a somber tone on the state of the climate emergency, saying "I think you've got to be gloom and doom until we fix this thing."

Johnson hailed some of the early agreements reached at the summit, including a pact to reduce deforestation, but said the world had to be humbled in the face of the "huge" climate crisis. He also said his government was committing to reducing its reliance on coal, despite the prospect of a controversial new mine opening in northwest England.

"I don't want more coal, and our government doesn't want more coal. We'll do what we're legally able to do," Johnson said.

Read more from his interview with CNN here.

2:08 p.m. ET, November 2, 2021

UK PM Boris Johnson praises commitments made at COP26 but warns leaders to follow through 

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Alberto Pezzali/AP)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is “cautiously optimistic” about commitments made at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday, but warned “those commitments will be useless unless promises here are followed up on.”

In his closing address, Johnson cautioned against “false hopes,” saying that the world “still has a very long way to go.”

With world leaders, including himself, set to depart the summit, which continues for another 10 days, Johnson said he will “watch proceedings to make sure there are no U-turns.”

The “eyes of the world are on our negotiators, and we have your numbers,” he told leaders.

Lauding the pledges made over the past two days, Johnson said 90% of the world’s economy is now working toward net-zero emissions, compared to a third when the UK introduced the targets. A big win, he said, was India “keeping one billion tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere by switching half its power grid to renewable energy.”

“It’s not just that we are putting forward better or bigger targets, but the world is putting forward the plans to reach those targets,” Johnson said.

While appearing buoyed by the perceived success of the summit, he tempered expectations. 

“The clock of the doomsday device is still ticking but we have a bomb disposal team on site,” he said.

2:00 p.m. ET, November 2, 2021

The climate clock is ticking

From CNN's Ivana Kottasova

Nontokozo Moloi, Laura Berry and Margaret Bondziedu Impraim have been walking around the COP26 summit venue with a climate countdown clock, trying to raise awareness of the incredibly short time the world has to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

The young climate activists are part of a project to get the world to #ActInTime. They are hoping the clock will help shift the narrative on when emissions need to decline.

“It's not by 2030 and it's not by 2050,” Berry told CNN.

“It displays the amount of time left that we have at current rates of emissions until our carbon budget for 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming runs out. So right now we have about 7.75 years, until 1.5 degrees of warming is inevitable," she explained. “The second number on the clock is our lifeline, which goes along with our deadline, the top number. The lifeline shows the percentage of renewable energy that we currently have in the world. It's rising at about 5.5% a year on the past year, but it's not rising fast enough to reach zero emissions it the time that we need."

Nontokozo Moloi, Laura Berry and Margaret Bondziedu Impraim with their climate countdown clock
Nontokozo Moloi, Laura Berry and Margaret Bondziedu Impraim with their climate countdown clock CNN's Ivana Kottasova

2:41 p.m. ET, November 2, 2021

Israel's energy minister accepts Boris Johnson's apology over lack of wheelchair access at COP26

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, is introduced to Israel's Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, as Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, looks on, during the COP26 Climate Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, is introduced to Israel's Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, as Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, looks on, during the COP26 Climate Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday. Alberto Pezzali/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Israel’s Energy Minister, Karine Elharrar, who was unable to attend the COP26 climate conference Monday because of a lack of wheelchair access, told CNN she has “accepted” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s apology.

“He (Boris Johnson) was very kind and very friendly and he apologized. Of course, I accepted and hopefully, it won't happen again,” Elharrar said to CNN's Max Foster during an interview in Glasgow on Tuesday.

When asked who she thought was responsible for the issue, Elharrar said she didn’t want to judge. “I just encountered a problem,” she said.

“Instead of dealing with green energy, with collaborations between countries in order to fight the climate change, I promoted accessibility,” Elharrar continued. 

“I'm not for apologies. I just want for the next time, nothing like that to happen.”

Johnson personally apologized to Elharrar for the incident on Monday, according to a senior official with the Israeli delegation at COP.

Elharrar, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, traveled to the COP venue in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s motorcade on Tuesday and accompanied him into the conference, the official said.

Bennett sharply criticized COP 26 organizers for the lack of accessibility and had threatened to cancel his appearance at the event Tuesday. 

The president of COP, Alok Sharma, has repeatedly said that a fully inclusive conference was critical to the success of the climate conference.

Watch:

1:37 p.m. ET, November 2, 2021

"We are digging our own graves": World leaders send powerful messages at COP26

World leaders and key figures, including Queen Elizabeth II and Sir David Attenborough, opened the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow with stark warnings and encouragements to find a solution to the climate crisis.

On Tuesday, a big contingent pledged efforts to reduce methane emissions. Take a look at what has happened at the summit so far.

WATCH:

12:17 p.m. ET, November 2, 2021

"Project Everyone" urges leaders to "leave no one behind" in their climate solutions

From CNN's Ivana Kottasova

Jon Hales of NGO "Project Everyone" is in Glasgow, Scotland, spreading awareness about the UN’s sustainable development goals – a set of commitments to "leave no one behind" that were agreed on by all 193 UN member states in 2015.

"It covers everything from poverty, hunger, gender equality, fighting racial injustice, to the climate crisis, to biodiversity to protecting our oceans,” he said. “So we want to raise awareness of the fact that we have this framework, the leaders signed up to it, they've committed to it, we don't need to negotiate on it.”

"Project Everyone" is pushing for the leaders to include the sustainable development goals into their plans to tackle climate change, Hales said.

“We're here to talk about reducing carbon emissions, but we need to do it in a way that is fair and just and takes into account all of the other global goals,” he added.

"Project Everyone" is spreading awareness about the UN's sustainable development goals
"Project Everyone" is spreading awareness about the UN's sustainable development goals CNN's Ivana Kottasova

Jon Hales of "Project Everyone"
Jon Hales of "Project Everyone" CNN's Ivana Kottasova

12:07 p.m. ET, November 2, 2021

EU pledges $1.1 billion to protect forests around the world

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy

Tree stumps are seen in the heart of the Congo Basin forest near Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo on September 25, 2019.
Tree stumps are seen in the heart of the Congo Basin forest near Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo on September 25, 2019. (Samir Tounsi/AFP/Getty Images)

The EU has pledged $1.1 billion to help protect the world's forests.  

The landmark figure was announced by European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen in a speech at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow on Tuesday.  

As a part of the pledge, $290 million will be reserved for the Congo Basin pledge, a fund established to protect the world’s second largest tropical rainforest against the threats posed by industrial logging and mining.  

Von der Leyen made an impassioned case for looking after the world's forests, calling their protection “our shared priority.”  

This follows a declaration earlier on Tuesday from over 100 leaders -– accounting for more than 86% of the world’s forests – to work together to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. 

Not only do forests safeguard the stability of the climate, they also provide an economic and cultural wealth to millions of people around the world, Von der Leyen said.  

A sense of “tradition, culture and craftsmanship” remain “very alive” in forest communities across the globe. The “heritage" of these communities needs to be protected, she stressed. 

“We need to better listen to indigenous communities, producers, consumers and traders. It is crucial for the EU to reduce its “consumption footprint on land and forests around the world,” Von der Leyen said. 

To push this forward, the EU will soon propose a regulation designed to address EU-driven global deforestation, according to Von der Leyen.  

US President Joe Biden also made a firm pledge on Tuesday to tackle deforestation, placing it on a par with the decarbonization of economies.  

11:57 a.m. ET, November 2, 2021

Biden launches new platform to increase clean technology innovation in the industrial sector

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech on stage during for a meeting, as part of the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 2, 2021. 
US President Joe Biden delivers a speech on stage during for a meeting, as part of the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 2, 2021.  (Evan Vucci/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden announced a new clean energy initiative through the launch of the "First Movers Coalition" – a platform for building private sector demand to increase innovation in clean energy technology to confront the climate crisis.

Here are the details he provided:

It is launched in partnership with the World Economic Forum

Two dozen of the world's largest and most innovative companies belonging to eight different sectors will participate in it. They represent 30% of the world's global emissions — steel, shipping, aluminum, concrete, trucking, aviation, chemicals and direct air capture.

They will push for commercially viable alternatives to decarbonize the industrial sectors, and champion good, paying jobs, Biden said.

11:49 a.m. ET, November 2, 2021

Biden announces agriculture partnership with United Arab Emirates, 75 others

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

US President Joe Biden announced an agriculture-focused initiative in partnership with the United Arab Emirates, called Agriculture Innovation Mission, or "AIM for Climate."

The mission has gained 75 partners to "catalyze public and private investment in climate-supported agriculture and food system innovation," Biden said Tuesday at COP26.

These partners together will launch a $4 billion initial investment globally, with $1 billion contributed by the United States, he added.

He invited other world leaders to join and double this investment.