Amid Lofty Goals, a More Earthly Snub

Israeli minister was shut out of climate meetings because forum wasn't wheelchair accessible
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2021 10:05 AM CDT
Amid Lofty Goals, a More Earthly Snub
Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, center, arrives for a meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on the sidelines of the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, Pool)

The world climate summit continues in Scotland, and the coverage of COP26 is wide-ranging. A sample:

  • Rejoining: The US has formally rejoined a group known as the High Ambition Coalition at the climate talks, reports the Guardian. The group, made up of developed and developing countries, will push for nations at the Glasgow summit to set goals to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a key plank of the Paris climate accord of 2015. The US reentry is seen as a major achievement for the HAC, given that the US is the second-biggest emitter behind China. (On Monday, Biden apologized for Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris pact.)

  • Wheelchair: Israeli's energy minister couldn't attend Monday's meetings because there was no accessibility for her wheelchair, reports the BBC. Karine Elharrar, who has muscular dystrophy, says she waited for two hours for a solution before returning to her hotel room. Reuters reports that the problem involved transportation to the Glasgow venue, which couldn't accommodate her chair. The problem was resolved Tuesday.
  • A big deal: The "real legacy" of this summit might be the Global Methane Pledge, writes Andrew Freedman at Axios. Leaders of more than 90 nations will sign a pact to cut emissions of the gas, which is less plentiful than carbon dioxide but more more potent when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere. (The global pledge is in sync with a new move by Biden on methane in the US.)
  • The trees: The first major agreement to emerge from the summit was actually a pledge to end deforestation by 2030, reports the BBC. And yes, Brazil, home of the Amazon rainforest, was among the nations to sign on to the agreement. Environmentalists aren't celebrating too much, however, given that a similar pact in 2014 fizzled.
  • No-show: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took off in a plane for Scotland but ended up returning to Turkey and will skip the summit, reports Reuters. The reason: Erdogan says Scottish officials wouldn't agree to unspecified security protocols. He also complained that another country, unnamed, received the same protocols that were denied Turkey. "We are obliged to protect the dignity of our nation," he said, in what sounds like a diplomatic snit.
  • Bezos: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced at the summit Tuesday that he will give another $2 billion, on top of an earlier pledge of $1 billion, for conservation efforts, reports CNET. Bezos says he was inspired to do so by his voyage to the edge of space. "Looking back at the Earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin, the world so finite and so fragile," he told the summit.
(More UN climate summit stories.)

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