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COP26 climate summit sessions get underway in Glasgow

The summit meets from today until 12 November
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PHOTO/AFP  -   Consequences of climate change

The COP26 climate summit opened its formal sessions on Sunday in the Scottish city of Glasgow, UK, which will launch landmark negotiations to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C alive.

"It gives me great pleasure to declare open the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change," said Chile's Carolina Schmidt, President of COP25, as she handed over the presidency to Britain's Alok Sharma.

The summit meets from today until 12 November, although it will be tomorrow, Monday, when more than 120 world leaders will meet to give the political impetus to the meeting.

As soon as the conference was declared open, Schmidt called for a minute's silence for those who died as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, which forced COP26 to be postponed for a year.

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AP/EVAN VUCCI - World leaders virtually attended the Leaders' Climate Summit, as seen from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Washington.

And almost at the same time as the summit opened in Glasgow, the news arrived from Rome that the G20 leaders had agreed to keep the global warming ceiling at 1.5 degrees and to take action to do so, which is precisely the great challenge of COP26.

The outgoing president addressed the leaders of this group of countries in her speech, urging them to "comply with the agreements signed".

"We know that tackling climate change requires a cross-cutting transformation of our development," Schmidt stressed in her speech to the delegates who will represent their countries in the British city.

"We cannot rewrite the Paris Agreement, we have to stick to it," the Chilean added, referring to the historic pact signed in 2015 by which nations pledged to keep global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to continue efforts to further limit that increase to 1.5ºC.

The opening session of the summit will lead to the start of closed-door negotiations, which will take place over two weeks in parallel with hundreds of events and announcements on initiatives aimed at combating climate change and safeguarding nature.