COP26: Caveats added to the latest draft agreement

Almost 200 nations are on the verge of agreeing to submit extra bold 2030 emissions plans subsequent 12 months to place world on observe for its 1.5C local weather objective, nevertheless a few of the language within the draft settlement has been watered down


12 November 2021

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, at COP26

Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

The COP26 local weather change summit in Glasgow has entered its remaining throes with a second draft of an settlement calling for 196 nations to submit stronger emissions discount plans subsequent 12 months.

The brand new textual content, which was printed shortly after 7am this morning following in a single day negotiations, nonetheless commits nations to accelerating the section out of coal use and fossil gas subsidies. Nevertheless, delegates in Glasgow have added caveats to the phase-outs.

Formally, COP26 is because of end at 6pm right this moment, however governments and consultants now consider it’s virtually assured to run late, as most earlier UN local weather summits have accomplished.

Commitments at Glasgow up to now nonetheless have the world on track for about 2.4°C of warming by the tip of the century, far off the 2015 Paris Settlement’s objectives to “pursue” 1.5°C and “properly beneath” 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures.

To shut that hole, the brand new draft textual content “requests” governments situation new 2030 local weather plans by the tip of 2022, a shift from Wednesday’s draft textual content which used the verb “urges”. Opinion amongst veteran UN local weather talks observers is split on whether or not the change is stronger or weaker.

The UN considers “requests” to be weaker than “urges”, a view that Helen Mountford on the US non-profit World Sources Institute agrees with. Nevertheless, Richie Merzian, a former Australian authorities consultant now on the Australia Institute, says “requests” is best. Both manner, a dedication to returning with new plans subsequent 12 months will enable the UK authorities to assert that COP26 has achieved its said purpose of “preserving alive” the 1.5°C objective.

The accelerated phase-out of fossil gas subsidies is now specified as solely making use of to “inefficient” ones, whereas the quicker phase-out of coal solely applies to “unabated” initiatives, ones that aren’t capturing and storing the carbon dioxide emissions from coal use.

Greenpeace mentioned the shifts on subsides and coal meant the settlement had been “critically weakened.” Nevertheless, if coal and fossil gas subsidies stay in Glasgow’s remaining settlement, it’ll nonetheless be a serious precedent, the primary time it has been explicitly talked about in 26 years of UN local weather summit texts and treaties. In an announcement, Bob Ward of the London College of Economics mentioned a reference to each can be “essential and historic”.

General, the second draft of COP26’s overarching determination is extra balanced, says Mountford. Negotiators have made important progress on the difficulty of how nations adapt to the impacts of a warming world. In an essential step, higher-income nations have now agreed to double their adaptation from present annual ranges – about $20 billion – by 2025.

Nations have additionally agreed to specific “deep remorse” {that a} extremely essential pledge of higher-income nations to ship $100 billion a 12 months of local weather finance to poorer ones by 2020 is more likely to be met three years’ late.

COP26 president Alok Sharma is now engaged in shuttle diplomacy in Glasgow to seal a remaining determination textual content on the summit. A brand new model of the textual content is anticipated early this night. Christiana Figueres, the previous govt secretary of the UN Framework Conference on Local weather Change, tells New Scientist she expects the summit will run into Saturday.

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