Climate Crisis Live Updates: Middle East Needs to Transition to Renewable Energy, Scientists Say

Live Updates

The Democrats continue to scrap over the infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden said is the "best chance to save the planet" ahead of the COP26 climate change summit of world leaders later this month.

The bill, which currently hangs in the balance, promises hundreds of billions in tax credits for companies that contribute to renewable energy sources or capture carbon emissions before they enter the atmosphere, plus a range of tax incentives for Americans to buy electric cars.

Meanwhile, Indigenous leaders kicked off a week-long demonstration for climate justice outside of the White House Monday, demanding President Biden ends new fossil fuel projects and stops pipeline construction through Indigenous lands.

Elsewhere, the effects of climate change are having a devastating effect on Shanxi province in China, where almost two million people have been displaced following torrential flooding. In the U.K., major protests continue to block highways near the capital city London which have been softly backed by Prince Charles, who said he understands the "frustration" of demonstrators.

The live updates for this blog have ended.

Actors share their support for Indigenous Peoples' climate fight

Actors and activists Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon shared their support for Indigenous Peoples' mission to end fossil fuel expansion.

Let's stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples' climate leadership. We must call on our leaders to recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples and end fossil fuel expansion once and for all. #StopLine3 #BuildBackFossilFree #PeopleVsFossilFuels #IndigenousPeoplesDay

— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) October 11, 2021

"We must also stand in solidarity and call on our leaders to recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples to decide what happens in their own territories," Ruffalo said.

Ruffalo joins activists' calls for President Biden to "move past promises and commit to real climate action, like ending fracking and shutting down all pipelines."

We must also stand in solidarity and call on our leaders to recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples to decide what happens in their own territories. #IndigenousPeoplesDay #HonorTheTreaties

— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 11, 2021

Scientist urges Middle East to "decarbonize" greenhouse gas emissions

As temperatures in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean rise, scientists are urging government leaders to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

This move "can't happen overnight," says George Zittis, a scientist at the Cyprus Institute's Climate and Atmosphere Research Center, because of the region's dependency on fossil fuels.

He told the Associated Press that governments need to start the transition within the next two decades in order to prevent "irreversible effects" like desertification, water scarcity and mass migrations from the region.

"We need to completely decarbonize, even go negative," in greenhouse gas emissions, Zittis said. He said the east Mediterranean and Middle East now emit almost as much greenhouse gasses as the entire European Union.

This comes ahead of the 2nd International Conference organized by the Cyprus government that will focus on the east Mediterranean and Middle East, which are recognized as a global "climate change hot spot."

Scientists, diplomats and policymakers from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Greece will present the results of a two-year study and present policy recommendations to countries in the region.

Philanthropic donors pledge to give million to reduce methane emissions

A coalition of philanthropists, including Michael Bloomberg, pledged to give more than $220 million to efforts aimed at reducing global methane emissions.

The donations will go towards providing technical support, expertise and supporting diplomatic efforts.

The U.S. and the European Union are leading efforts to reduce methane emissions and lower global warming by at least 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050.

The State Department said Monday that 24 new countries have joined the agreements to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by the end of the decade.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is one of the most potent contributors to climate change.

Climate activists urge the inclusion of cities in the fight against climate change

Climate activists say cities must be included in global climate change discussions.

The United Nations Habitat and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change are hosting the Innovate 4 Cities (I4C) conference starting Monday to bring together stakeholders to enable cities to "take accelerated action and more ambitious climate action."

"Cities and communities must have a seat at the table in the global environmental discourse," Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of U.N. Habitat said in a tweet. She added that discussions from I4C will "feed into" theUnited Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

"The time to COP26 is short but collectively we can still raise the level of ambition," she tweeted.

U.N. Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and Global Covenant Co-Chair Michale Bloomberg said leaders need to be "bold and ambitious" to confront climate change head-on as communities rebuild to be resilient against climate change.

In a video shared on Twitter, he said "cities have always been hubs testing new ideas and technology." He called on world leaders to "support cities as they lead the fight against climate change" through innovation and research.

With #COP26 less than a month away, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions & GCoM Co-Chair @MikeBloomberg invites governments around the world to join our call to address climate change once and for all. #Innovate4Cities

— Global Covenant (@Mayors4Climate) October 11, 2021

UN Committee agrees with complaint brought by young climate activists, but says it can't rule on it

A United Nations committee agreed with a complaint brought up by climate activist Greta Thunberg alleging state inaction on climate change harms children, but said it could not immediately rule on it.

In 2019, 15 young activists filed a complaint with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Children arguing that France, Turkey, Brazil, Germany and Argentina knew about the risk of climate change for decades but failed to curb their carbon emissions, therefore violating children's rights.

While the committee concluded that there was a "sufficient causal link" between the inactions of the five nations and the harm allegedly suffered by children, it accepted the arguments of the five countries that the activists should have brought the cases to their national courts first.

The committee did rule that it can deal with these cases even if the harmful effects of one country's emissions impact children in another country.

"You were successful on some aspects but not on others," the committee told the youth activists in a letter, commending their "courage and determination."

"We hope that you will be empowered by the positive aspects of this decision, and that you will continue to act in your own countries and regions and internationally to fight for justice on climate change," it said.

Climate activists block traffic outside Netherlands' parliament

Dutch climate activists blocked traffic outside the Netherlands' parliament, demanding action ahead of the U.N. climate conference at the end of the month.

Extinction Rebellion pulled up in the middle of an intersection with a yellow boat that read "citizens decide" in Dutch as activists began sitting or lying down in the road, the Associated Press reported.

The group told reporters that 700 people joined the demonstration calling for climate justice and asking the government to "do what is necessary to stop loss of biodiversity and make the Netherlands climate neutral in 2025."

Protestors held signs that said "This is a dead end road" and "Planet before profit."

"We are grandparents, parents and children," an activist told the demonstrators. "We are part of an international movement that fights for a livable and just planet."

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Police give final warnings before issuing arrests at Indigenous-led protest at the White House

Washington D.C. law enforcement brought out a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to disperse crowds of Indigenous demonstrators protesting climate justice outside the White House, activists said.

⚠️ HAPPENING NOW ⚠️ DC law enforcement has brought out the LRAD to use against elders on Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

— Indigenous Environmental Network (@IENearth) October 11, 2021

Jamie Henn, the director of Fossil Free Media, said Indigenous women "dance in the face of U.S. Park Police" as officers give their final warnings before they begin arresting people.

Indigenous women dance in the face of US Park Police as they give the final warnings before beginning to arrest people. #PeopleVsFossilFuels

— Jamie Henn (@jamieclimate) October 11, 2021

There are estimated to be over 135 people risking arrest at the demonstration, according to People vs. Fossil Fuels.

NOW: 135+ Indigenous-led activists risking arrest at the White House to demand action on climate change.#PeopleVsFossilFuels

— People vs. Fossil Fuels (@FightFossils) October 11, 2021

Indigenous leaders urge an end to pipeline construction on native land

Indigenous leaders said they are bringing the fossil fuel fight to President Biden's door.

Joye Braun of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux and organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, is demanding Biden commits to stopping pipeline construction on Indigenous land.

"Joe Biden, you have been making false promises," Braun said. "You stopped Keystone XL. What about DAPL, Line 5, MVP. This is indigenous land. Indigenous Peoples will be here for thousands of years."

"Can you hear me now? Biden! We came to knock on your door!" she added.

Joye Braun, 52, of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux and a national pipeline campaign organizer with the @IENearth speaks to the crowd of hundreds outside the White House.

“Can you hear me now? Biden! We came to knock on your door!”

— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11) October 11, 2021

Indigenous activists march to White House demanding an end to fossil fuel projects

Hundred of demonstrators march from Freedom Plaza to the White House, demanding President Joe Biden ends fossil fuel projects and declares a national climate emergency.

The People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition kicks off a week of protests in Washington D.C. on National Indigenous Peoples' Day. Indigenous activists leading the protests are demanding end fossil fuel infrastructure projects that disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, Brown, Asian American Pacific Islander and working-class communities, including pipeline construction.

They also want President Biden to declare a national climate emergency and "launch a just, renewable energy revolution," according to the People vs. Fossil Fuels website.

The #PeopleVsFossilFuels march is headed to the White House! Hundreds in the street to demand a fossil-free future.

The message to President @JoeBiden is clear: No more violations of Indigenous sovereignty, no more deadly fossil fuel projects. #IndigenousPeoplesDay

— Oil Change International (@PriceofOil) October 11, 2021

German companies urge ambitious climate action from new government

German companies are urging the country's new government to focus on "a clear and reliable path to climate neutrality" and enact ambitious policies to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

A letter was organized by 69 companies including chemicals company Bayer, steelmaker ThyssenKrupp and sportswear firm Puma.

"As businesses, we are prepared to fulfill our central role in climate action. We call upon the new German government to make the transformation to climate neutrality the central economic project of the coming legislative period," the letter said.

The companies want the new Social Democratic government to prioritize renewable energy and enact a climate-friendly tax reform that will prevent industries from investing abroad.

"Climate protection was the decisive topic in the federal election and the parties must place it at the top of their agenda in building the new federal government," Michael Otto, board chairman of mail order company Otto Group and president of the Foundation 2 Degrees, which organized the letter, said.

The letter also urged the government to set international climate standards at the upcoming U.N. summit in Glasgow, Scotland and in Group of Seven talks.

John Kerry confident world leaders 'stepping up' to tackle climate crisis ahead of COP26

World leaders are "sharpening their pencils" to agree on radical proposals to tackle climate change and meet the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, the U.S. special envoy for climate has claimed.

He was keen to promote a positive outlook on the meeting which begins in Glasgow at the end of this month, saying he anticipated "surprising announcements" from key countries, he revealed in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

The measure of success at Glasgow is we will have the largest, most significant increase in ambition [on cutting emissions] by more countries than everyone ever imagined possible. A much larger group of people are stepping up. I know certain countries are working hard right now on what they can achieve.

But Kerry warned there was "still a lot of distance to travel in the next four weeks" and that a deal was a way off being "signed, sealed and delivered".

HS2 activists barricade themselves in a rail tunnel

Campaigners against the controversial rail project in England, who claim it is causing significant environmental damage, have constructed a barricade and locked themselves into a tunnel to halt construction.

The activists, who were evicted from a protest camp yesterday (pictured), see the actions as a final resort before they are permanently removed from the site in Wendover.

Critics of the initiative suggest it is causing widespread destruction of animal habitats, threatening endangered species, and have lashed out at the removal of much ancient woodland. HS2 and the British government, however, say the project will benefit the environment in the long term and have pledged to replace much of the habitat affected by construction.

HS2 protesters blockade themselves in tunnel
HS2 protesters blockade themselves in tunnel
HS2 protesters blockade themselves in tunnel

U.S.-owned carbon dioxide producer hikes prices amid shortage

CF Industries had to shut down its fertilizer plant - which produces 60 percent of the U.K.'s CO2 - last month as natural gas prices soared.

But the company has just struck a deal with industries reliant on the resource - including drinks firms and nuclear power stations - to hike prices "that will enable it to continue operating while global gas prices remain high".

Industry has come to an agreement to guarantee the supply of CO2 to business - without further taxpayer support

This deal will protect critical sectors over the coming months - all possible thanks to our original, time-limited support for @cffertilisers

— Kwasi Kwarteng (@KwasiKwarteng) October 11, 2021

Impact of climate change on girls' education revealed

To celebrate the Day of the Girl, researchers have shown how millions of young girls are thought to be married off due to social and economic circumstances brought on by climate change.

Girls in vulnerable households are more likely to leave school to get married in times of weather-related crises to help ease the burden of scarce household resources. Around 12million more young girls thought to have been married off early due to climate change. #DayOfTheGirl

— UK in Sri Lanka 🇬🇧🇱🇰 (@UKinSriLanka) October 11, 2021

Loss of giant sequoia trees in California wildfires 'heartbreaking'

Wildfires raging across Northern California - fuelled by the climate crisis - might have burned hundreds of the giant sequoia trees that grow naturally in the Sierra Nevada, according to an official.

Christy Brigham, the head of resource management and science for the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, called the potential loss "heartbreaking," the Associated Press reported.

Brigham said that the KNP Complex Fire, which ignited on September 9 from a lightning strike, has burned into 15 of the parks' giant sequoia groves. The effect of the blaze on the trees varied, with fires burning at a low- or medium-intensity level in most groves, which Brigham said many of the trees have evolved to endure.

FULL STORY: 'Heartbreaking' Loss of Giant Sequoias Reported in California's KNP Complex Fire

Firefighters attempt to save sequoia tress
Firefighters attempt to save sequoia tress
Firefighters attempt to save sequoia tress

Major oil fire in Lebanon extinguished as country grips with energy crisis

A plume of black smoke billowed into the sky after a petrol tank belonging to the army at the Zahrani Oil Installation set alight earlier this morning.

No casualties have been reported but the facility is close to one of Lebanon's two major power plants - both of which had to shut down two days ago because of a shortage fuel shortage.

Smoke billows from oil fire in Lebanon
Smoke billows from oil fire in Lebanon
Smoke billows from oil fire in Lebanon

Average U.S. gas price jumps six cents in two weeks

The price has leaped to $3.31 per gallon on average - $1.07 more than a year ago - with huge gaps between different cities and states.

The highest average price for regular-grade gas is in the San Francisco Bay Area - $4.55 per gallon - while the lowest average is in Houston - $2.77.

Whitehall 'reduced to one lane of traffic' amid Downing Street climate protest

Whitehall reduced to one lane of traffic —a Greenpeace protest, including a mock statue of the Prime Minister and a sit in on the road outside Downing Street. It is in opposition to the development of the Cambo oilfield @BBCNews @BBCPolitics

— Chris Mason (@ChrisMasonBBC) October 11, 2021

Prince of Wales says he understands 'frustration' of climate protesters

Prince Charles said he understood civil disobedience, including roadblocks, which has occurred in the past several weeks in the U.K. but added that it "isn't helpful".

In an interview with the BBC at his Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, he warned of a "catastrophic" impact if urgent action isn't taken on climate change, and said he was concerned world leaders would "just talk" at the COP26 summit at the end of this month.

All these young people feel nothing is ever happening so of course they're going to get frustrated.  I totally understand because nobody would listen and they see their future being totally destroyed.

Almost 1 in 3 don't know about Biden's 'Build Back Better' - poll

It turns out that the infrastructure spending package - which includes hundreds of billions to tackle the climate crisis - is not fixed in the minds of voters as a poll shows almost one in three Americans don't know what the plan entails.

Taken between October 6 and 8, the CBS News/YouGov survey released Sunday also found 33 percent had a general sense and some specifics, and 28 percent said they also had a general sense but not any specifics. Only 10 percent said that they know many of its specifics.

The poll showed that 59 percent of respondents heard about the plan's spending cost and 58 percent heard about increasing taxes for high-income people. Meanwhile, only 40 percent said that they are aware of the plan's components.

FULL STORY: Most Americans Don't Know Much Specifically About Biden's Build Back Better Plan

South African President warns of 'health, environmental and economic risks' due to climate crisis

Cyril Ramaphosa chose to highlight the "serious health, environmental and economic risks for our country" in his weekly address to South Africans this morning.

In a letter to citizens, he set out the "increasingly damaging effects on human health, water availability, food production, infrastructure, and migration" as the climate crisis continues to bite.

Many South Africans are already feeling the effects of climate change through drought and flooding, which have an effect on their livelihoods. Several communities in the Mpumalanga, for example, are affected by high levels of pollution, which increases respiratory illness and other diseases. Those who are dependent on the ocean for a living have already seen depleted fish stocks amid changing weather patterns and changes in ocean temperature.

He insisted on the need to "transition to a decarbonized economy" to "address the needs" of the country and a looming economic disaster following the impact of climate change on the country's agricultural sector.

Greenpeace protesters 'shut down' Downing Street


Greenpeace activists have just shut down @10DowningStreet.

We delivered @BorisJohnson the statue his legacy deserves if he approves the new oil drilling at Cambo.

A statue dripping in oil.#StopCambo #NoNewOil #DowningStreetShutdown

— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) October 11, 2021

Europe forced to consider coal amid energy crisis

European countries are having their arms twisted by the natural gas crisis on the continent, with many forced to consider more old-fashioned methods of energy production.

As the weather turns cold heading into winter, there have been warnings that a particularly cold season could see countries run out of supply if they do not increase the activity of coal power plants, which several governments - including the U.K. - have reluctantly accepted as a likelihood.

The price of natural gas on the continent has risen sharply over the past year, with the European benchmark up nearly 600 percent as of Thursday last week.

FULL STORY: Gripped by Energy Crisis, Europe Considers Breaking Climate Promises and Turning to Coal

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

As China's Shanxi province reels from the flooding disaster that hit the region last week, which has left almost two million people (1.76 million) displaced, the Dems continue to fight over an infrastructure bill that could have a major impact on the world's carbon emissions.

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