Anatomy of spin: how UK is trying to frame Cop26 as a success

Anatomy of spin: how UK is trying to frame Cop26 as a success

Officials have been sending out misleading and overhyped statements during the conference. Fiona Harvey dissects one missive

• What is Cop26 and why does it matter? The complete guide

The first week of Cop26 was a packed affair, with world leaders of the G20 group of the world’s biggest economies first meeting in Rome, then moving on to meet more than 100 other leaders in Glasgow for the initial stage of a fortnight of intensive talks.

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, warned that recent optimistic assessments were “an illusion”, exhorting leaders to make stronger efforts to cut greenhouse gases. The biggest country to respond was India, the world’s third biggest emitter, which set out a target of net zero by 2070, which most regard as too late for the Cop26 goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels but some said would be met sooner.

END OF COAL IN SIGHT AS UK SECURES AMBITIOUS COMMITMENTS AT COP26 SUMMIT

Thanks to a package of support from the UK and our international partners, a 190-strong coalition has today agreed to both phase out coal power and end support for new coal power plants.

The UK’s campaign sees major banks commit to end financing coal, on top of China, Japan, Korea and the G20 commitments to end overseas finance for coal generation by the end of 2021, effectively ending all public financing of new unabated coal power.

Agreed under the UK’s Cop26 presidency, countries pledge to accelerate coal phase-out and rapidly scale up deployment of clean power generation, marking a momentous turning point in the global clean energy transition.

The end of coal – the single biggest contributor to climate change – is in sight thanks to the UK securing a 190-strong coalition of countries and organisations at Cop26, with countries such as Poland, Vietnam, Egypt, Chile and Morocco announcing clear commitments to phase out coal power.

Today’s commitments, brought together through UK-led efforts including the new ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement’, encompass developed and developing countries, major coal users and climate vulnerable countries. This includes 18 countries committing for the first time to phase out and not build or invest in new coal power, including Poland, Vietnam, and Chile, marking a milestone moment at Cop26 in the global clean energy transition.

This statement, launched today, commits nations across the world to:

· End all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally

This is on top of China, Japan and Korea, the three largest public financiers of coal, committing to end overseas finance for coal generation by the end of 2021, announced in the last year during the UK’s incoming Cop26 presidency. Agreements at the G7, G20 and OECD to end public international coal finance send a strong signal that the world economy is shifting to renewables. This could end over 40GW of coal across 20 countries, equivalent to over half of the UK’s electricity generating capacity.

The business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

There has also been a 76% cut in the number of new coal plants planned globally over the last six years, which means the cancellation of 1,000GW of new coal plants since the Paris agreement, roughly equivalent to 10 times the UK’s total peak generating capacity.

Today’s global agreement to move away from coal to clean power has been made possible thanks to a number of other UK-convened initiatives, including:

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