Latest news: Finland’s capital will go without meat, mostly

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The latest news on the UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow:

HELSINKI – The Finnish capital has said it will no longer serve meat dishes at seminars, staff meetings, receptions and other events in order to reduce Helsinki’s carbon footprint.

Instead, the city government plans to offer vegetarian food and sustainable local fish.

Liisa Kivela, director of communications for Helsinki, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the change would take effect in January and exclude cafeterias in schools and workplaces run by the city of about 650,000 residents.

Kivisto said the policy adopted by the city council also allows exemptions for certain “high-level visits or similar events” organized by Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen or senior city officials.

The policy also states that coffee, tea, oat milk and items like bananas offered at events must come from fair trade producers. In addition, snacks and refreshments can no longer be served in single-use containers.

The local government said in a statement that the measure was part of a larger effort “that aims to reduce the climate impact of food and reduce the amount of natural resources used by the city.”

The mayor, who held Helsinki’s top post in August, said he was happy the city retains the option of serving meat on certain occasions.

“For example, if the King of Sweden arrives for a visit, then domestic game may be offered. Or a group for which it would be natural to offer meat, then there must be discretion and common sense.” , Vartiainen told Finnish newspaper Iltalehti. .

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PARIS – French astronaut Thomas Pesquet used a video call from space to describe the view from the International Space Station on the impact of global warming.

Pesquet told French President Emmanuel Macron during the call Thursday that the space station’s portholes reveal the haunting fragility of humanity’s only home.

“We see pollution of rivers, air pollution, things like that,” the astronaut said. “What really shocked me about this mission were the extreme weather or climate phenomena.”

“We have seen entire regions burn from the space station, in Canada, in California,” he continued. “We saw all of California covered in a cloud of smoke and flame with the naked eye from 400 kilometers (250 miles) high.”

This is Pesquet’s second mission to the space station. It also spent 197 days in orbit in 2016-2017. The destructive effects of human activity have become increasingly visible in the meantime, he said.

Macron said the goal of negotiators at the United Nations climate conference in Scotland must be to speed up humanity’s response.

“There is still a lot of work ahead of us, and I think we are all aware of it,” said the French leader.

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GLASGOW, Finland – Several major charcoal-using nations have announced measures to wean themselves off heavily polluting fossil fuels, although for some the weaning is slow.

Thursday’s pledges to phase out coal come on top of other pledges made at the UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. The head of an international energy organization said earlier commitments reduced projections of future warming by a few tenths of a degree.

But outside experts called the comment – only in a tweet, not in a harsh report – “optimistic.”

Optimism also abounded regarding promises over coal, which has the dirtiest carbon footprint of any major fuel and is a major source of global warming emissions.

“Today, I think it can be said that the end of coal is in sight,” said Alok Sharma, who chairs the conference of nearly 200 nations, known as COP26.

More skeptical forecasters noted that several major economies still had not set a date to end their dependence on fuel, including the United States, China, India and Japan.

Outside the venue for COP26, demonstrators dressed in animated figures lashed out at the continued use of coal in Japan.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark – The Danish government on Thursday announced it will donate 100 million crowns ($ 15.6 million) to efforts to buy and dismantle coal-fired power plants and invest in new sources of ‘energy.

“As part of our overall climate efforts, the Danish government is working to phase out coal while investing heavily in new sources of green energy,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a statement.

Climate and Energy Minister Dan Joergensen said the money “will help coal-intensive countries reduce their coal consumption and create new income opportunities in local communities, which is absolutely vital to accelerate the energy transition “.

The money from Denmark will go to the Climate Investment Fund’s new Accelerating Coal Transition program, and the focus will initially be on South Africa, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The Danish government said the program includes efforts to support alternative employment for local people in affected areas.

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SOULAINES-DHUYS, France – Nuclear power is a central sticking point as negotiators shape the future global energy strategy at climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

Critics denounce its colossal price, the disproportionate damage caused by nuclear accidents and the radioactive waste left behind.

But a growing camp of outspoken and powerful supporters – some climatologists and environmental experts among them – argue that nuclear power is the world’s best hope for keeping climate change under control.

They note that it emits few harmful emissions to the planet and that it is on average safer than almost any other energy source. They argue that nuclear accidents are frightening but extremely rare, while pollution from coal and other fossil fuels causes death and disease every day.

Many governments are pushing to include nuclear energy in the climate plans drawn up at the Glasgow conference, known as COP26.

The European Union, meanwhile, is debating whether to label nuclear energy as officially “green” – a move that will result in billions of euros in investment for years to come. This has implications around the world, as EU policy could set a standard that other economies will follow.

But nuclear waste remains a major problem, with most radioactive material remaining toxic for tens of thousands of years.

___ GLASGOW, Scotland – The UK government has said the “end of coal is in sight” after 18 countries, including Poland, Vietnam and Chile, first pledged to phase out and not build or invest in new coal-fired power stations.

The statement, released Wednesday night at the UN climate summit in Glasgow, says more than 40 countries are pledging to end all investments in new coal-fired power generation nationally and internationally, as well than to rapidly increase the production of clean energy. Participating countries also commit to phase out coal-fired electricity in the 2030s for large economies and in the 2040s for small economies.

Separately, the statement also said Chile and Singapore have joined a UK-led coal phase-out alliance that includes more than 150 countries and companies such as HSBC and NatWest bank.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was an “important moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change”.

But Ed Miliband, spokesman for the opposition Labor Party, said there were “glaring gaps” such as a lack of commitment from China and other major emitters to stop increasing the coal at home. There was also nothing on the phase-out of oil and gas, he said.


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