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Countries trying to downplay climate change actions ahead of COP26 summit: Greenpeace

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The head of environmental group Greenpeace on Thursday warned against efforts by countries and corporations at the forthcoming U.N. climate talks in Glasgow to “greenwash” their ongoing pollution of the planet.

The summit hosted by Britain has been described as “ the world’s last best chance ” to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels, and is expected to see a flurry of new commitments from governments and businesses to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

But climate campaigners say behind-the-scenes lobbying before the summit could hamper efforts to achieve an ambitious deal that would ensure the world stands a chance of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) as agreed in Paris in 2015.

“This Glasgow meeting really is a vital moment where governments need to be courageous,” said Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International.

“They need to show they’ve understood the science, listen to their people and go much further than they’ve been stating thus far,” she told The Associated Press in an interview.

By doing so, governments would “give that kind of hope and confidence to their people that they got this and that they’re willing to do things that their corporate interests don’t want them to do,” she added.

Morgan pointed to leaked documents showing how countries such as Australia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia are apparently trying to water down an upcoming U.N. science panel report on global warming as evidence of the way in which some governments’ public support for climate action is undermined by their efforts behind closed doors.

Documents obtained by Greenpeace indicate how those countries wanted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to remove references to the need to shut down coal-fired power stations, reduce meat consumption and focus on actual emissions cuts rather than ways to capture carbon already released into the atmosphere.

A spokesman for the IPCC’s secretariat in Geneva downplayed the impact such lobbying efforts have on the panel’s final reports.

“Review by governments and experts is a fundamental part of the IPCC process for preparing reports,” said the spokesman, Jonathan Lynn. “The IPCC principles are designed to ensure that this review contributes to a comprehensive, balanced and objective assessment in an open and transparent way.”

Australian Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor’s office said in a statement that to assert Australia “commenting on a draft is somehow `interference’ is categorically false.”

All comments received by the IPCC are published with their reports as they are finalized.

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