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The Countdown to Glasgow's COP26

76th Session of the General Assembly (UNGA76)

Both the United States of America (USA) and China made large climate announcements at the start of the United Nations 76th General Assembly, taking place between 14th September – 30th September 2021.

Joseph Biden, 46th President of the USA, vowed to the UN General Assembly that he wants the USA to become the world’s leading provider of climate finance to countries vulnerable to the climate crisis.

He pledged $11 billion to help developing nations with mounting flooding, extreme heat and other impacts of the climate crisis. The announcement helps to set a positive tone in the lead up to COP26, 1st November – 12th November 2021, where world leaders will meet to discuss and commit to climate action.

Another shock announcement came from the Chinese President Xi Jinping, that China would end all funding for international coal power plants, although he did not specify when they aimed to reach this target.

Under the new pledge, Beijing aims to stop ~50GW of planned overseas coal projects. This was an injection of confidence, and optimism leading up to COP26 after its President, Alok Sharma, stated he wanted to ‘consign coal to history’.

School Strike for Climate

Friday 24th September 2021 also saw, once again, a global climate strike by youth protestors. The protests took place in more than 700 locations across the world.

As part of this, Scottish school children in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Ullapool resumed striking for the group Fridays for Future Scotland (FFS). UK school children and the wider movement, led by Greta Thunberg, were protesting for greater action on climate change in the lead up to COP26, applying further pressure on world leaders.

Global Citizen Live

On Saturday 25th September 2021, the Global Citizen Live 24-hour global event took place. The event aimed to raise awareness around the issues of vaccine inequality, global poverty, climate change and equity. Over 60 artists performed in cities across the globe including: London, New York, Paris and Seoul.

The campaign called on world leaders, businesses, and philanthropists to urgently commit their resources to meeting the $15-20 billion shortfall of the $100 billion promised annually to help the most vulnerable countries confronting the climate change issue.

The Great Big Green Week

The UK also saw a nation-wide movement called Great Big Green Week and Climate Fringe Week, a national week of 4500+ events celebrating action on climate change. The week was the largest event in support of climate and nature ever seen in the UK, raising awareness and applying pressure to world leaders in the run up to COP26.

The events last week, alongside the extreme weather phenomena across the world in 2021, and the warning from climate scientists in the IPCC AR6 all highlight to world leaders the significance of, and the importance of, setting rigorous targets and  commitments in the fast approaching COP26 Summit.

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