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Friday January 21st, 2022 10:25PM

The Latest: Democrats in Glasgow cite progress under Biden

By The Associated Press
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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The Latest on the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow:

GLASGOW, Scotland – The Biden administration and Democrats are making progress on climate in all kinds of ways, House Democrats said Wednesday, despite congressional troubles that are making passage of President Joe Biden’s $555 billion climate legislation a struggle.

Members of a U.S. congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to reporters during a press conference at the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

With only the slimmest of majorities in the Senate, and a key coal-state Democratic senator opposed to many of Biden’s clean-fuel efforts, Democrats have struggled for months to pass Biden’s main climate legislation. At the climate summit, the U.S. has joined some other countries pledging to phase out overseas financing of fossil fuel infrastructure but declined to sign up alongside countries that pledged to wean themselves off coal.

“We wish we could do all kinds of things,” Rep. Jared Huffman of California told reporters at the talks. “But instead of just throwing up our hands because of these political roadblocks and not taking action, we are finding ways to navigate these problems and still take action.”

Representatives cited U.S. investment in cleaner energy and transportation, a Biden administration crackdown on methane leaks, and the growing competitiveness of clean energy in the marketplace.

“The coal industry is dying in the United States, not necessarily because of regulations that Donald Trump unwound, but because of economics,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said.

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GLASGOW, Scotland – Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has denied allegations that his country’s negotiators were working to slow down negotiations and water down commitments at the U.N. climate talks.

It is a “a false allegation, a cheat and a lie,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al Saud told reporters on Wednesday at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Delegations of about 200 countries face a Friday deadline to negotiate consensus on next steps to cut fossil fuel emissions and otherwise combat climate change. Saudi Arabia’s team in Glasgow has introduced proposals ranging from a call to quit negotiations at 6 p.m. every day to what climate negotiation veterans allege are more complex efforts to block agreement on tough measures.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, and a handful of other countries long have been accused of seeking to block measures that would crack down on fossil fuels. This year’s U.N. talks have seen a chorus of daily complaints from climate advocates at the conference.

“Other governments now need to isolate the Saudi delegation if they want this” conference “to succeed for everyone, not just fossil fuel interests,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of the Greenpeace environmental group.

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GLASGOW, Scotland — A group of nations and companies has announced plans to make the switch to emissions-free cars by 2040 and by no later than 2035 in leading auto markets.

The announcement was made Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow. It was backed by countries including Canada, Chile, Denmark, India, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Volvo, as well as several states and cities in the United States and elsewhere, signed the plan. Some companies, such as Volvo, already have even earlier targets to phase out combustion engines.

Separately, a number of countries are pledging to phase out the use of trucks and buses with internal combustion engines.

Companies involved in road haulage are signing up, including delivery giant DHL, truck-maker Scania and Dutch brewer Heineken.

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LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is heading back to COP26 to press negotiators from around the world to “turn promises into action” in the summit’s closing days.

Johnson attended a world leaders’ summit that kicked off the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last week, and will return to the Scottish city Wednesday.

So far the conference has produced headline-grabbing announcements in areas including ending coal power, funding green technology and reversing deforestation. But the almost 200 nations attending remain far from sealing a deal that could limit global warming to the internationally agreed goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Johnson’s office says issues still being hammered out include “a common time frame for national commitments on emissions reductions and agreed methodology for countries to report on their climate action” -- mechanisms that can be used to hold countries to their commitments.

There is also an unkept promise from rich nations to give more money to the countries most vulnerable to climate change -- often developing nations that have done least to cause it.

Johnson, along with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, will meet with government officials, negotiators and civil-society groups in an attempt to inject momentum into the talks.

Johnson said climate change “is bigger than any one country and it is time for nations to put aside differences and come together for our planet and our people. We need to pull out all the stops if we’re going to keep 1.5C within our grasp.”

COP26 is due to end Friday, though the talks could stretch on longer.

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Follow all AP stories on climate change at https://apnews.com/hub/climate.

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