Wednesday, November 3, 2021

COP26 Methane Pledge (Nov. 3, 2021)

Over a hundred countries at the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow joined a pledge to cut methane emissions in order to limit atmospheric warming. The United States and the European Union, the world’s third and sixth largest methane emitters, respectively, announced the pledge in September. They have since gathered support from many other major emitters, such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Nigeria, enough to account for more than 40 percent percent of global emissions of the ultra-potent greenhouse gas, reports National Geographic.

While it is not part of the formal UN negotiations, the methane pledge could rank among the most significant outcomes from the COP26 conference, given its potential impact in holding off disastrous climate change, reports Reuters.

Brazil is one of the world's five biggest emitters of methane, and the second-largest emitter after the U.S. to join the agreement. The move represents a change in Brazil’s stance, which historically has favored measures to address all gases instead of specific ones, notes Bloomberg.

Other top emitters from the region that joined the pact include Argentina and Mexico, reports the Washington Post.

More COP 26
  • Brazil's government hoped to green its international reputation at COP26, but critics say new environmental commitments announced this week lacked ambition and the details that would make them credible. (See yesterday's briefs.) And President Jair Bolsonaro's conspicuous absence from the summit raised questions about his commitment to the reversal, reports the New York Times.

  • Scientists are particularly concerned that Brazil's pledge to end illegal deforestation within the next decade is not credible under Bolsonaro's government, reports the Washington Post.

  • In fact, the promise itself is tricky, and could be achieved by legalizing logging that is currently illegal, notes the Huffington Post.

  • Latin American countries aren't among the world’s biggest polluters, but Fiona Clouder, the UK appointed COP26 Regional Ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean, argues the region should embrace ambitious climate action, which could also bring numerous economic opportunities. (Buenos Aires Times)

  • Brazil and Argentina, two of the biggest producers of beef products and animal feed crops in the world, are reported to have argued strongly against UN recommendations that reducing meat consumption is necessary to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (Guardian)

  • Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama promised to join their Pacific marine reserves into one interconnected area. The Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor initiative, would both join and increase the size of their protected territorial waters to create a fishing-free corridor covering more than 500,000 sq km in one of the world’s most important migratory routes for sea turtles, whales, sharks and rays. The new route includes the areas Ecuador announced it would add to its marine reserves around the Galápagos Islands. (Washington Post, Guardian, see yesterday's briefs.)
News Briefs

  • Brazil's democracy is in dire danger -- even if it avoids a violent challenge to an eventual Bolsonaro electoral loss, a Venezuelan-style collapse is not out of the question, writes Oliver Stuenkel in Foreign Affairs, pointing to factors in recent years, such as the militarization of politics and normalization of authoritarian behavior. 
  • A Cuban migrant was shot dead by the Mexican National Guard and four others were wounded. Authorities said the vehicle they were in did not stop when ordered to do so, reports Reuters.

  • Guatemalan police found 54 Haitian migrants, including 14 children, traveling towards Mexico in a truck trailer with the hope of reaching the United States. (Al Jazeera)

  • The Dominican Republic is suspending student visas for Haitians and may review the immigration status of hundreds of thousands of foreigners, part of an ongoing effort to tighten its border with Haiti. The measures may further limit the ability of Haitians to leave their country legally, reports Bloomberg.

  • "The detention of HIV-positive Haitians in a quarantine camp at Guantánamo during the 1990s is a stinging reminder of the willingness of government officials to brazenly stretch public health excuses beyond their limits in support of exclusionary immigration policies," writes Jeffrey Kahn at Slate.
  • EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell  branded Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega a "dictator" staging "fake" elections at the weekend, with his seven main challengers under arrest, reports AFP. (See yesterday's post.)
Regional Relations
  • China is accelerating efforts to sever Taiwan's diplomatic ties with nations in Central America and the Caribbean, and is eying Honduras as its next target, reports Nikkei.
  • Peru’s government authorized the army to help the police maintain order in Lima, amid protests and a planned transport strike over fuel prices, reports Bloomberg. The measure comes two days before congress debates a vote of confidence on the recently-appointed cabinet.

  • A Peruvian rural community said it would lift its blockade of the country's largest copper mine Antamina today after protests forced miners to suspend operations, reports Reuters.

  • Vaccinating some of Peru's remote Indigenous communities against Covid-19 requires arduous efforts, but the challenge illustrates the gaps in wider healthcare access for remote groups, reports Reuters.
  • Conservative Chilean presidential candidate José Antonio Kast wants to reimpose order, slash taxes and refocus government efforts on growth -- arguing that economic growth is the answer to the country's social unrest, reports Bloomberg.
  • Colombian leftist politician Gustavo Petro is leading with 26% support ahead of next May's presidential election, in a poll carried out by Bogota-based researcher Datexco and published by W Radio. The same poll put Sergio Fajardo, former Medellin mayor, in second place with 10% of voting intentions, reports Bloomberg.
  • Two veteran Mexican journalists, Fredy López Arévalo and Alfredo Cardoso were killed within 24 hours last week, bringing this year’s death toll for media workers to nine – already surpassing the eight deaths recorded in 2020, reports the Guardian.
  • There have been 231 femicides in Argentina in 2021, an average of one killing every 34 hours. (Primera Mañana)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...

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