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Indigenous groups condemn murder of activist in Peru

Patrick Greenfield

Patrick Greenfield

Indigenous representatives have been speaking out at Cop28 following the murder of an environmental defender in Peru this week who was opposing illegal logging and drug trafficking in his territory.

Apu Quinto Inuma Alvarado, a Kichwa leader of the Santa Rosillo de Yanayacu community, was shot dead by hooded men on Wednesday in Peru while travelling home via boat from a workshop for women environmental leaders in the Amazon.

Quinto Inuma had received numerous death threats over his opposition to illegal logging in and around his communities territories. The Peruvian government said he had been the victim of a “cowardly” attack and promised a thorough investigation, AP reported.

Nelsith Sangama, from the Kichwa community in Peru who is attending the climate summit, said her community and others needed more support to protect climate-critical ecosystems like the Amazon.

Nelsith Sangama, from the Kichwa community in Peru
Nelsith Sangama, from the Kichwa community in Peru. Photograph: Patrick Greenfield/The Guardian

“We mourn him. He’s a Kichwa brother, a leader who stood up to this threat. He warned about this situation and wasn’t taken seriously, now we are burying him. We ask for justice for this crime. No indigenous leader should be killed for standing up for their territory,” she said.

“International decision makers need to create something to help environmental defenders with their own budget. The state is responsible for this most recent death. More than 30 have been killed in the Peruvian Amazon. We need our own support. It is the communities that are defending life, defending the forest, not the authorities,” she said.

Figures collected by Global Witness show the world’s largest rainforest is the most dangerous place in the world to be an environmental defender.

Analysis of the $1.7bn Cop26 pledge indigenous and local communities earlier this week indicated that the commitment was on track and could even be exceeded. The money goes towards establishing land rights of indigenous communities, which have been shown to be the best protectors of the planet’s biodiversity and climate-critical ecosystems.

One notable thing to come out of the leaders’ speeches over the past two days was that four countries used their three-minute speeches to explicitly call for Taiwan to be included in UN climate talks.

The prime ministers of Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Tuvalu, and the president of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), all called for Taiwan to be explicitly included in the talks.

Taiwan aspires to participate in the talks, but has not been a UN member since 1971 due to ongoing disputes with China about its status.

The Taiwanese foreign ministry tweeted – without naming China – calling for its inclusion in negotiations.

.@COP28_UAE began yesterday. Due to bias from one single country, #Taiwan🇹🇼 remains uninvited. At this moment of exclusion, we thank the 25+ countries’ @_TheFormosaClub co-chairs & members for their support. Climate governance must be inclusive—our participation benefits all.

— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) December 1, 2023

Should there be a cap on how many people a country can send to climate conferences? A recent study by academics at Lund University in Sweden makes the case that the way the Cop process is structured benefits big countries at the expense of small ones, and calls for reform.

The authors call for a limit to the number of delegates a country can send, pointing out that China, for example, sends hundreds of people every year while many small countries, who are often the most vulnerable to the effects of climate breakdown, are only able to send a handful.

Lead author Lina Lefstad said: “The UN should at the very least have a cap on how many delegates a country or an organisation can send. It is only by changing the structure, to allow for the majority of voices to be heard, the negotiations can become truly fair”

The paper concludes: “The organisation of climate negotiations under the UNFCCC reproduce the injustices as the vulnerable are not heard and the powerful continue with harmful practices without legal repercussions.

“We must ask: What can the current global climate regime achieve when 25 years later there is still no consensus on a universally agreed policy response to the justice-problem? It is clear that the voices of the marginalised should be heard and implemented in agreements for climate justice to materialise.”

Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather has a statistic that should help focus minds at Cop28: last month has been confirmed as the warmest November the world has ever recorded, 1.6C (2.9F) above pre-industrial levels.

It is now official: November was the warmest November on record by a wide margin in the JRA-55 dataset, beating the prior record set in 2020 by 0.3C.

November 2023 was 1.6C above preindustrial levels, and the year-to-date temperatures are 1.4C above preindustrial.

— Zeke Hausfather (@hausfath) December 2, 2023

Sunak criticised for climate policies as Starmer stays in Dubai

The British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has been facing criticism at home for the brevity of his visit to the climate conference, having visited for less than a day. He has also been accused of hypocrisy for pushing for a phase-out of fossil fuels only weeks after approving new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

Al Gore, the former US vice-president, said: “I am not impressed with prime minister Sunak’s climate policies. I think they’re terrible. They’re very disappointing.”

Former cabinet minister Lord Deben said: “The oil decision means that the UK no longer leads the world on climate; it undermines confidence in our commitment to net zero, and it makes it much harder to get the foreign investment we need. The decision to grant oil licences is economic nonsense.”

The leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, seems to have sensed an opportunity and is still at the conference, meeting world leaders and generally trying to portray himself as prime minister in waiting.

Keir Starmer and John Kerry meet at Cop28
Keir Starmer and John Kerry meet at Cop28. Photograph: Fiona Harvey/The Guardian

Luca Lo Re, an analyst at the International Energy Agency, has pointed out that the new pledges to the loss and damage fund look fairly insignificant when compared with the money being spent on football in Saudi Arabia these days.

On the eve of Cop28’s health day, a report yesterday revealed that unless fossil fuels are rapidly phased out, one in 12 hospitals around the world are at risk of full or partial shutdown.

Cross Dependency Initiative (XDI), which published the report, said that a residential or commercial building with that level of risk would be considered uninsurable.

“Climate change is increasingly impacting the health of people around the world,” said Dr Karl Mallon, the director of science and technology at XDI. “What happens when severe weather results in hospital shutdowns as well? Our analysis shows that without a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, the risks to global health will be exacerbated further, as thousands of hospitals become unable to deliver services during crises.”

Helena Horton has more detail here:

Observer cartoonist Chris Riddell’s latest offering tackles Cop28:

Chris Riddell’s Observer cartoon on 3 December 2023.
Chris Riddell’s Observer cartoon on 3 December 2023. Illustration: Chris Riddell/The Observer
Damian Carrington

Damian Carrington

Dorcas Naishorua is a youth climate activist from Kajiado county in Kenya, and Miss Climate Kenya. “I am at Cop28 to advocate for climate justice, which means getting the people causing climate change to pay for the damage. It is not us Africans doing the damage.”

She is studying music at university: “It is a very beautiful way to collect stories.” She is also the founder of the Isilan Community-Based Organisation, which tackles female genital mutilation, early marriage and gender-based violence.

Naishorua is a strong entry in our best-dressed series, but said: “You haven’t seen me in my full attire – this is only a quarter of it!”

Dorcas Naishorua of Kenya at Cop28
Dorcas Naishorua of Kenya at Cop28. Photograph: Damian Carrington/The Guardian

The campaign group Ekō (formerly known as SumOfUs) says it has been denied permission to hold a protest targeting the airline Emirates, which is based in the UAE.

A spokesperson said the action would have taken place in the green zone – which is controlled by hosts the UAE – rather than the blue zone, controlled by organisers the UNFCCC.

Ekō say the action “would have depicted an Emirates airplane with fake pollution, and 3-6 individuals holding placards that say ‘Emirates: contribute to the loss and damage fund’”.

They say the organisers have not told them why permission for the protest was declined, but that they suggested targeting the airline industry as a whole rather than singling out Emirates.

Asked why permission for the protest was denied and whether organisers had made suggestions about changing the focus, a Cop28 spokesperson told the Guardian: “In line with UNFCCC guidelines there will be space available both in blue and green zones for climate activists to make their voices heard. The UAE protects the right to protest in line with relevant international agreements, including Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which recognises the right of peaceful assembly and does not permit its restriction except in accordance with the law and when necessary to maintain national security, public order, the protection of public interest, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

Australia has backed a pledge to triple global energy capacity by 2050, a move welcomed by climate campaigners.

But climate minister Chris Bowen refused to say whether Australia would push for language on phasing out fossil fuels to be included in the Cop28 texts.

“We will be in there arguing for a very sensible strengthening [of language],” Bowen said. “We’ll see what coalition emerges internationally in good company, but we’ll be in that good company. Unlike previous [Cops] when Australia was in very bad company, blocking efforts, I’ll be there working for a sensible outcome to get consensus across the board.”

Under the Coalition governments of Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison (and to a lesser extent that of Malcolm Turnbull), Australia was one of the most recalcitrant governments in climate talks, blocking progress towards reducing fossil fuel use.

Under Anthony Albanese’s Labor government, campaigners are hopeful that things will improve, but the country is still seen as an international laggard. Australia has expressed interest in hosting Cop31, but it is not known when a decision will be made.

Adam Morton and Katharine Murphy have the full story:

Countries and companies are failing to report their emissions accurately, despite obligations to do so under the Paris agreement, new data has shown.

It shows electricity generation in China and India, and oil and gas production in the US, have produced the biggest increases in global greenhouse gas emissions since 2015, when the Paris climate agreement was signed. Emissions of methane, have also risen despite more than 100 countries signing up to a pledge to reduce the gas.

The analysis comes from former US vice-president Al Gore’s Climate Trace initiative. Gore spoke to the Guardian about it yesterday, and Fiona Harvey, Oliver Milman and Damian Carrington have the full story here:

Protests are strictly controlled at Cop28, but this dugong is getting her message across to delegates as they arrive for day four of the summit.

A protest against fossil fuels at Cop28 in Dubai.
A protest against fossil fuels at Cop28 in Dubai. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AP

Good morning! This is Alan Evans, bringing you coverage from the fourth day of the UN’s Cop28 climate summit.

The Guardian will be liveblogging the negotiations throughout. You can email me on or on X/Twitter at @itsalanevans, and my colleague Jonathan Watts ( will take over later on.

Today’s official themes are health, relief, recovery and peace, so we can expect several announcements and reports on those subjects.

Here are some of yesterday’s highlights:

  • Colombia, a major fossil fuel producer, has formally joined an alliance of nations calling for a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty to prevent the “omnicide of planet Earth”.

  • The US was one of several countries to join an alliance to phase out power plants that burn coal and announced rules to cut its methane emissions.

  • At least 117 governments agreed to triple the world’s capacity of renewable energy by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency improvements.

  • Fifty oil and gas companies signed a “decarbonisation charter” that analysts have criticised for ignoring the emissions spewed when customers burn the fuels.

  • Twenty-two countries have pledged to triple nuclear capacity by 2050.

Read more in our main news wrap from yesterday:

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