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‘Potent’ Greenhouse Gas Methane Emissions to Be Cut by 30% in ‘game-changing Commitment’

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World leaders have pledged to cut methane emission levels by 30% by 2030 as part of efforts to tackle the climate crisis at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The Global Methane Pledge is an international initiative put forward by the US and EU to reduce methane emissions, an effective way to slow warming in the short term.

John Kerry, the Biden administration’s climate envoy, said more than 100 countries have joined the effort to meet the targets of the pledge.

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John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, speaks at the Global Methane Pledge event

He spoke before US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen appeared together in Glasgow to announce details of the wide-ranging plan.

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The Biden administration plans to tackle oil and gas wells, pipelines and other infrastructure first as part of its broader strategy to crack down on climate change.

Its goal is to eliminate over 0.2C of near-term warming by cutting global methane by at least 30% by 2030.

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While it sounds like a small change, it could have a significant impact on the severity and frequency of extreme weather events.

It will also substantially improve public health and agricultural productivity by reducing the ground-level ozone pollution that methane exacerbates.

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Addressing the summit, Mr Biden thanked those who have signed the “game-changing commitment”.

He said: “What we do in this decisive decade… is going to impact whether or not we can meet our longer-term commitment.

“One of the most important things we can do in this decisive decade to keep 1.5C in reach is to reduce our methane as quickly as possible.

“As has already been stated, it is one of the most potent greenhouse gases there is. It amounts to about half the warming we are experiencing today.”

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US President Joe Biden speaks at the Global Methane Pledge event during COP26

Other highlights so far from the summit include:

o The summit’s first major announcement came in the form of more than 100 countries representing 85% of the world’s forests agreeing to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 – with GBP14bn ($19.2bn) in public and private funding behind it
o Scores of world leaders signed a pledge to slash potent climate heating gas methane by 30% by 2030, a “low hanging fruit” when it comes to slowing warming in the short-term. It could shave 0.1-0.2 degrees off global warming
o Japan committed extra $10bn climate finance over five years, meaning rich countries could hit $100bn a year target one year sooner than expected, US climate envoy John Kerry said, as it “has the ability to leverage” a further $8bn
o Over 40 world leaders back plan to fund clean technology around the world by 2030, the UK government announced
o India finally came forward with a net zero promise – the 2070 target is 20 years later than the key 2050 date but still a big step forward, especially with its commitment to significantly slash emissions by 2030
o Boris Johnson warned the 1.5 degrees target is the difference ‘between life and death’
o Five countries, including Britain and the United States, and a group of global charities promised $1.7bn to support indigenous people’s conservation of forests and strengthen their land rights

Analysis: Day one of COP26 shows how difficult negotiations will be

Mr Biden added the pledge will make a “huge difference” not just when fighting climate change, but with the physical health of individuals.

During his two-day appearance at the summit in Glasgow, Mr Biden has vowed to work with the EU and other nations to achieve the goal.

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, told the summit: “We all want to build a cleaner and healthier future for our kids. That means taking real climate action.”

Six stories from around the world on how climate has changed people’s lives

He also told COP26 there’s no achievable global pathway to reach the 1.5C target “without deep cuts to methane over the next decade”.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, explained that cutting back on methane emissions is “one of the most effective things we can do” to slow down climate change.

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‘Let’s keep 1.5 alive’

The pledge is arguably the biggest single thing countries can do to keep alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Methane is usually produced as a by-product of the oil and gas industry, but if captured, it can be used as fuel for power plants and domestic purposes.

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Invisible and odourless, it is considered to be a major contributor to global warming and is much more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Experts believe lowering methane levels can not only stop the planet from getting hotter, but can actively lower global temperatures.

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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio participates in the Global Methane Pledge event

Climate crisis in focus

o Madagascar on the brink of famine caused by climate change, with children most at risk
o Sewage and pollution are choking Brazil’s Amazonian waterways
o Welcome to ‘trash island’ – the Maldives’ festering home of rubbish now crucial to its climate fight

Commenting on the updated pledge announced today at COP26, Professor Emily Shuckburgh, director of Cambridge Zero at the University of Cambridge, said: “Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas and rapid cuts would make an important difference.

“It has contributed about 0.5C to warming to date and although it doesn’t stay as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after its release it is 80 times more powerful at heating.

“Methane is an easy win in terms of climate action: cuts using existing technologies and adopting different land management practices could reduce warming by 0.25C by 2050 at little or no cost, and help to keep 1.5 alive.”

For full coverage of COP26, watch Climate Live on Sky channel 525.

Follow live coverage on web and app with our dedicated live blog.

Get all the latest stories, special reports and in-depth analysis at skynews.com/cop26

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Original Article: news.sky.com

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A Historic Night for Barbados and the Role of the Royal Family

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The crowds were strictly restricted due to the COVID pandemic, and despite the efforts and enthusiasm of the bands and dancers the atmosphere seemed muted in National Heroes Square, once known as Trafalgar Square.

But as the ceremonial events got under way the significance was striking, a historic night for Barbados and the role of the Royal Family.

There was a series of symbolic moments: the Prince of Wales closing almost 400 years of royal history inspecting one last military march past; the standard lowered for the final time; and the new president, Dame Sandra Mason, stepping forward to take her new role just seconds after the clock struck midnight.

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Rihanna ‘national hero’ of Barbados

Barbados had made that final step out on its own, now a republic.

In the distance you could hear the crowds clapping as the president entered the square.

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There were a few cheers for Prince Charles as his car swept past them, but the loudest cheer was for Barbados’s biggest star Rihanna, as she tried to make a subtle appearance during the middle of the proceedings.

And with the cheering and the fireworks lighting up the sky you could be led to believe this was a moment of celebration for all Barbadians.

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Barbados becomes a republic ending 400 years of the British royal family as head of state

Yes, independence day always brings parties, but the move to a republic isn’t without controversy.

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‘Atrocity of slavery forever stains our history’

There was no referendum about it, and in the crowds it wasn’t difficult to find those who thought they should have had their say, others who don’t understand what this new status means for them, as well as those who for decades have fought to cut the colonial ties.

While it will remain a member of the Commonwealth, now it will be up to Prime Minister Mia Mottley to more forcefully take Barbados to the world stage, hammer home the need for greater support on the matters of COVID and the climate crisis.

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President Sandra Mason, singer Rihanna and Prince Charles during the transition ceremony

This is not a completely fresh slate, there are still matters around reparations and the legacy of the slave trade to deal with.

Prince Charles at least acknowledging the appalling ways hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans were treated, going some would say further formally in his comments than any other member of his family in the past.

He too reiterated that message that this is a new chapter for Barbados. And it was encouraging to see that at the helm a female prime minister and a female president are now helping to write that future.

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Rihanna Declared a ‘national Hero’ As Barbados Celebrates Becoming a Republic

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Barbadian singer and businesswoman Rihanna has been declared a national hero by the country’s prime minister.

The 33-year-old was awarded the honour by Mia Mottley during an event to celebrate the island nation becoming a republic.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you the designee for national hero for Barbados, ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty,” the PM said to a jubilant crowd in the capital, Bridgetown.

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The singer was awarded the honour as the Caribbean island celebrated becoming a republic

“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your works, by your actions.”

Rihanna was born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, before moving to the United States after she was discovered by New York-based music producer Evan Rogers.

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She has since gone on to become one of the biggest artists in the world, as well as starring in movies including Battleship and Ocean’s 8, and launching her own fashion brand, Fenty, in 2018.

Since 2018, Rihanna has had the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.

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In 2008, former prime minister David Thompson declared 22 February “Rihanna Day” – and although it is not a bank holiday, Barbadians celebrate it every year.

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Prince Charles was invited to speak at the transition ceremony

The latest honour was awarded to the star from her homeland as it celebrated becoming a republic – 55 years after gaining independence from the UK.

In a message to the people of the Caribbean island, the Queen sent her “good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and emphasised the importance of the “continuation of the friendship” with the UK as she ceased to be their monarch.

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Rihanna joined the ceremony in Bridgetown

Prince Charles was invited to speak at the transition ceremony formalising the move.

Speaking in front of a crowd in National Heroes Square in Bridgetown, once known as Trafalgar Square, he said: “From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our histories, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.

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There was singing and dancing during the celebrations

“Emancipation, self-government and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.”

Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the island’s first-ever president.

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Prince Charles Acknowledges ‘appalling’ History of Slavery As Barbados Becomes a Republic

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The Prince of Wales has formally acknowledged “the appalling atrocity of slavery” in the Caribbean, saying “it forever stains our history” at an event to mark Barbados becoming a republic.

Prince Charles was invited to speak at the transition ceremony formalising the Caribbean island’s decision to remove the Queen as its head of state.

Speaking in front of a crowd in National Heroes Square in Bridgetown, once known as Trafalgar Square, he said: “From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our histories, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.

“Emancipation, self-government and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.”

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Prince Charles celebrated the UK’s relationship with Barbados in his speech

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Performers provide entertainment as part of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in Bridgetown

A 21-gun salute was fired just after midnight when the nation officially became a republic, marking a new chapter in the nation’s history.

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The prince, who described how “the creation of this republic offers a new beginning”, watched as the Queen’s standard was lowered for the final time.

He described how he felt “deeply touched” to be invited to the event, held on the nation’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, and spoke of his great personal respect for the people of Barbados.

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Barbados becomes a republic ending 400 years of the British royal family as head of state

He added: “Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story, adding to the treasury of past achievement, collective enterprise and personal courage which already fill its pages.

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Members of the Barbados armed forces carry the presidential colours

A new chapter

“The creation of this republic offers a new beginning, but it also marks a point on a continuum – a milestone on the long road you have not only travelled but which you have built.”

In a message to the people of the Caribbean island, the Queen sent her “good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and emphasised the importance of the “continuation of the friendship” with the UK as she ceased to be their monarch.

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Rihanna ‘national hero’ of Barbados

Barbados’ decision to remove the Queen as head of state will be watched closely by other members of the Commonwealth, especially in the Caribbean region.

Prince Charles’ speech referenced the UK’s close relationship with Barbados and a continuing partnership between the two nations.

“As your constitutional status changes, it was important to me that I should join you to reaffirm those things which do not change,” Prince Charles said.

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Dame Sandra Mason is now president of Barbados

“For example, the close and trusted partnership between Barbados and the United Kingdom as vital members of the Commonwealth; our common determination to defend the values we both cherish and to pursue the goals we share; and the myriad connections between the people of our countries – through which flow admiration and affection, co-operation and opportunity – strengthening and enriching us all.”

After a dazzling display of Barbadian dance and music, Sandra Mason was sworn in as Barbados’ first ever president.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the leader of Barbados’ republican movement, helped lead the ceremony.

Barbadian singer Rihanna also attended the event and was declared a national hero.

“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your works, by your actions,” Ms Mottley told Rihanna, a reference to her 2012 chart-topping single Diamonds.

The transition ceremony was watched in-person by a large crowd, and broadcast online and on screens across the island.

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Source: news.sky.com

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