The power plays, the conflicts, the drama and the news about the weather.
"The doomsday clock is still ticking but we've got a bomb disposal team on site." – Boris Johnson
Paddle that canoe
There's a story they tell in Palau, an island nation southeast of the Philippines, about a boy called Uab, who grew into a giant by eating everything he could find. Until the day came when it seemed he would eat his own people too.
Palau's president, Surangel Whipps, told the story of Uab to the Glasgow conference yesterday. He said it was "eerily reminiscent" of climate change today.
In the end, the people set fire to Uab, who fell into the ocean and created the 340 islands of the Palauan archipelago. "COP26 must light the fire," he said. The way to conquer Uab is with bold united action.
Whipps also sang a traditional chant. In translation, it said: "When traveling in one canoe, discord among sailors will capsize the boat."
The methane monster
The new Global Methane Pledge, to lower methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, has been signed by the US, the EU and Indonesia: three of the top seven emitters of methane from coal. But of the other four, China, India and Russia have not committed and Australia has ruled it out.
The pledge exists because the world has become aware in recent years of the extent of the damage caused by methane leaks from oil, coal and gas infrastructure. It's far more serious than was thought, and it's also largely fixable. So they've agreed to fix it.
But biogenic methane isn't off the hook. Belching cows and other ruminant animals contribute almost all of our methane emissions and 48 per cent of our total emissions. The methane pledge will require us to address that.
Yet there is no plan to do it. Our targets are a 10 per cent cut on 2017 levels by 2030 and a 24 to 47 per cent cut by 2050. That is, even 20 years after other major methane polluters hit that 30 per cent cut, we might not have got there.
Federated Farmers and Fonterra are both on record saying our targets should be even lower.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw says: "The target to cut methane will be achieved collectively. New Zealand will play its part by meeting the biogenic methane targets set out in the Zero Carbon Act we passed last year, as well as by reducing methane from fossil fuels."
It's okay for us to undershoot because other countries will cover our butts by overshooting. Seriously? It's hard to see how New Zealand can ask big greenhouse gas emitters to reduce their output when we're using arguments like that.
New Zealand farmers have several options for reducing biogenic methane.
They can improve farming practices. Fonterra already pays higher milk prices to farmers who improve sustainability.
Also, they can reduce the amount of bovine belching. New technologies like the use of probiotics to reduce methane, different grasses and even seaweed in the feed are already funded for development and showing promise.
And they could reduce stock numbers.
This doesn't mean shooting cows: farmers cull half their calves every year already. The problem is that many dairy farmers would not be able to manage their debt with smaller herds. Financial incentives may be needed to help with that.
With a range of solutions, it's clear reducing farm methane is not a pipedream. It will certainly not, as some farming spokespeople say, "wreck the economy".
Meanwhile, car parks
Because no change to current policy is proposed, the methane pledge was not the biggest climate-related news for New Zealand yesterday.
In Auckland, the council is about to debate proposals to free up arterial roads for more bus lanes and cycleways, by removing many car parks. In Wellington, the council is considering a levy on some company parks.
Brilliant and long-awaited, both of them. To make catching the bus more appealing, it's essential buses don't get stuck in traffic. To make riding a bike more appealing, it's essential riding is safe. And eliminating "free" parking at work is a splendid way to persuade more people to leave the car at home.
Making public transport and cycling more appealing are basic goals of climate action strategies everywhere.
Not that you'd know it from the outrage in some quarters.
Ambitious agreements already
The methane pledge was also not the only big announcement from COP. After two days of hard talking, world leaders produced a surprising flurry of ambitious agreements.
India steps up. India has announced a tardy goal of net zero by 2070, but that's far less important than its bold new target to convert to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
India's rapid pace will be made possible under the new One Sun Declaration launched by Britain's Boris Johnson and India's Narendra Modi with the US and 80 other countries from Europe, Africa, Latin America and Gulf and Southeast Asia also involved.
One Sun, One World, One Grid is a global project to create a common grid for solar energy that eliminates the need for expensive battery storage.
India's space agency is also going to launch an app to calculate the potential for solar energy anywhere in the world.
New tech together. 40 countries including China, India, Britain and the US have agreed to work together to create standards and incentives for new technologies.
They've got the money. Japan has committed US$10 billion to help the developing world and US envoy John Kerry says the US$100 billion (NZ$140 billion) annual target is only $2 billion short.
The amazing Amazon deal. Boris Johnson declared it was "an end to the great chainsaw massacre": more than 100 countries, including Brazil and Indonesia, have agreed to "reverse deforestation" by 2030. The deal applies to rainforests and other important habitats like wetlands, and condemns "land degradation" and unsustainable farming practices.
Brazil chopped down more of the Amazon than ever last year, so activists are sceptical of the pledge. But it's been made, and it includes a call to nations to provide indigenous peoples with support to preserve forests.
Separately, governments and private groups in Germany, Britain, the US, Norway and the Netherlands have put some oomph into that call with a $1.7 billion fund to help indigenous people advance their land rights.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro won't be happy about it, but the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development says the deal is "a milestone in the history of climate governance", putting rainforests "at the centre of the global neutrality strategy".
Despite Bolsonaro, there's a lot of support for progressive climate policies in Brazil.
Hopes for Africa. South Africa has secured a £6 billion ($11.5 billion) deal from European countries, the US and Britain to transition from coal to clean energy, including green hydrogen. But Nigeria, a big oil producer, and Kenya have both announced net zero goals without yet knowing where the money will come from.
And the World Food Programme has warned that Madagascar faces famine caused by prolonged drought. The climate crisis is real. You can donate to the Global Giving famine relief fund for Madagascar here.
The cost of carbon
Negotiators are about to get down to the complex task of redrafting rules for carbon trading. They need a system that's fair to developing and developed countries, an agreed set of rules for allocating credits and settling disputes, and an end to the double counting and fake credits that have undermined the process to date.
The draft text uses square brackets to indicate areas of disagreement. It's said to be full of them.
Turkey's lead negotiator, Mehmet Birpinar, says: "It's a very difficult subject. It does not seem easy for countries to agree."
But China's lead negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, says there's already a political consensus and the remaining obstacles are technical.
Simon Wilson's Glasgow Diary appears daily during the COP26 conference.