A major deforestation deal has been announced at the end of COP26's first day of the leaders' summit where big polluters made new commitments, but with substantial caveats.
The first day of the two-day leaders summit at the COP26 climate summit has ended with big polluters making new commitments but with substantial caveats.
Here's a summary of some main developments from the first official day of COP26.
Deforestation pledge, cash put towards sustainable agriculture
The climate change conference's first major deal struck is a group of 100 world leaders - including the UK, US, and China - promising to stop deforestation by 2030.
It's underpinned by $US19 billion ($NZ26.5 billion) in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.
The joint statement was backed by Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which collectively account for 85 percent of the world's forests.
A slew of additional government and private initiatives will be launched to help reach that goal, including billions in pledges for indigenous guardians of the forest and sustainable agriculture.
Brazil announces emissions cuts, sort of
Brazil said it would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, upping a previous pledge, and would end illegal deforestation by 2028.
But because the cuts are measured from a new baseline year (2005), advocacy group Climate Observatory said the new pledge was still weaker than the 43 percent commitment made before President Jair Bolsonaro came into power - meaning Brazil had not actually increased its ambition.
US reiterates pledge, but doesn't have votes for major climate bill
US President Joe Biden reiterated an earlier pledge to halve emissions by 2030, despite lacking the domestic support to follow through on the promise.
The White House has expressed confidence it can achieve that, even as a bill that would help further those goals languishes in Congress, with a key senator on Monday withholding his support, for now.
India announces net-zero goal, decades later than many countries
India has set 2070 as a target to reach net-zero carbon emissions, but that's 20 years beyond the UN's global recommendation.
Its leader Narendra Modi pointed out his country contained 17 percent of the world's population but was responsible for only 5 percent of global emissions.
India is the world's third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States.
The United States, Britain, the EU and New Zealand have all set a target date of 2050 to reach net zero.
Separately, China has failed to make any new major commitments on climate change at the conference.
G20 fails to get any climate breakthroughs
At a weekend meeting in Rome, the G20 nations earlier failed to agree to halt net carbon emissions by 2050, undermining one of COP26's main aims.
Instead, they only recognised "the key relevance" of doing so "by or around mid-century", and set no timetable for phasing out domestic coal power, a major cause of carbon emissions.
The G20 is responsible for around 80 percent of global greenhouse gases.
- Reuters / BBC / RNZ
Source Radio New Zealand.