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COP out: Biden leads the exodus of world leaders from Glasgow

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Joe Biden last night led the exodus of world leaders from Glasgow as they jetted home after just 48 hours at the Cop26 summit.

Heads of state from across the globe made their exit after an intense start to the week in the Scottish city, but left their negotiation teams behind to continue to thrash out the detail on how to save the world from the perils of climate change.

The US President was among those to depart on Tuesday evening, being pictured boarding Air Force One at Edinburgh airport.

He returns home to a party in disarray and a thundering win for the Republicans.

In the hotly anticipated Virginia gubernatorial race, Republican Youngkin opened a big lead on Tuesday. 

Though the race hasn’t been called, with 94% of precincts reporting, Youngkin leads Democrat Terry McAuliffe by about 2%, 50.7% to 48.6%, or about 63,000 votes.   McAuliffe refused to concede the race when he took the stage at 10:20pm, saying: ‘We’re going to continue to count the votes because every single Virginian deserves to have their vote counted.’ 

Meanwhile, New Jersey has gone down to the wire as Republican Jack Ciattarelli takes the lead over Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy with 30% of votes counted. 

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel declared that ‘the red wave is here!’ as the votes came in. 

‘A Republican wave is coming in 2022, and Virginia is just the start,’ she said.  

Biden is also facing deep division in his own party over the $1.75trillion Build Back Better bill as the Democrats are still unable to come together to pass the bill.

Joe Biden last night led the exodus of world leaders from Glasgow as they jetted home after just 48 hours at the Cop26 summit

Joe Biden last night led the exodus of world leaders from Glasgow as they jetted home after just 48 hours at the Cop26 summit

The US President was among those to depart on Tuesday evening, after saying he couldn't think of any two days when more progress has been achieved in dealing with climate

The US President was among those to depart on Tuesday evening, after saying he couldn’t think of any two days when more progress has been achieved in dealing with climate

On Tuesday, the president waved goodbye to the UK after saying he couldn’t think of any two days when more progress has been achieved in dealing with climate.

At a press conference before leaving Glasgow, Mr Biden said it was important to step up the pace when it came to tackling global warming.

‘Glasgow must be the start of a decisive decade of action so that we can keep 1.5 in the region. We have to keep accelerating our progress,’ he said.

‘For our part, the United States is going to keep raising the ambition and delivering a goal that we are reducing US emissions by 50% from the 2005 level by 2030.

‘I can’t think of any two days more has been accomplished dealing with climate than these past two days.’

Mr Biden added that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a mistake in failing to appear at the Cop26 talks.

He said: ‘We showed up. By showing up, I think we had a profound impact on the way, I think, the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership.

‘I think it has been a mistake, quite frankly, with respect to China, not showing up.

‘They have the lost the ability to influence people around the world and here in Cop. The same way I would argue with Russia.’ 

Elsewhere at the conference on Tuesday, Boris Johnson said he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the prospects for a deal at crucial international talks in Glasgow to curb global warming.

The Prime Minister welcomed a series of announcements by the assembled leaders on deforestation and emissions.

But he stressed there was still a long way to go if they were to get an agreement that would keep alive the prospect set out in the Paris Agreement of restricting world temperature rises to 1.5C.

Ahead of the summit, Mr Johnson suggested that humanity was 5-1 down at half-time in the battle against climate change. 

Air Force One prepares to leave Edinburgh airport with Mr Biden on board on Tuesday night

Air Force One prepares to leave Edinburgh airport with Mr Biden on board on Tuesday night 

But speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, he said: ‘We’ve pulled back a goal, or perhaps even two, and I think we are going to be able to take this thing to extra-time, because there’s no doubt that some progress has been made.’

He added that while the ‘doomsday clock is still ticking’, they now had a bomb disposal team on site and ‘they’re starting to snip the wires – I hope some of the right wires’. 

The Prime Minister welcomed commitments made by scores of leaders attending the summit to halt and reverse deforestation and to cut methane emissions.

In particular, he highlighted a pledge by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to slash his country’s carbon emissions by switching half its power grid to renewable sources.

He also acknowledged, however, that the issue of climate finance had yet to be resolved – despite a 10 billion dollar (£7.3 billion) commitment from Japan over five years.

Mr Johnson said the richer nations were still behind on a commitment first made at Paris in 2015 to transfer 100 billion dollars (£73 billion) a year to developing countries to support sustainable development and mitigate the inevitable effects of global warming.

‘What I’ve been asking for, as you know, is action on coal, cars, cash and trees, and after just a couple of days we can certainly begin to tick three of those boxes,’ the Prime Minister said.

Mr Johnson was returning to London after end of the two-day leaders’ event which opened the summit, but he made it clear he would continue to be engaged.

In a message to the remaining teams who will get down to the task of detailed negotiations, he said: ‘The eyes of the world are on you – the eyes of the British Government and all the other governments that care about this – and we have got your numbers.’

Downing Street said the talks were beginning to gather ‘significant momentum’ but cautioned that there was still some difficult negotiations ahead.

‘What is vital is that we continue to use the entire two weeks of Cop to push forward to get success at all levels,’ the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

‘There will be some very difficult negotiations in the coming days. We are not complacent. This is not a done deal by any means.’

The scale of the differences were underlined by Mr Modi demanding that developed countries make one trillion US dollars in future climate finance ‘as soon as possible today’.

Mr Johnson said it was important not to get caught up in a mood of ‘exaggerated enthusiasm’ generated by a gathering like Cop26 and to guard against ‘false hope’.

However, US climate envoy John Kerry said he had never seen such urgency, commitment or energy in climate talks.

‘We’ve already achieved an enormous amount at Cop, in ambition, money, a whole bunch of new initiatives,’ he said.

‘Frankly, we’re a day and a half into this and I’ve seen more energy and more commitment and more urgency than I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been doing this since 1988.’  

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