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COP26: China and US surprise summit, negotiations heat up, car deal flops

Wednesday was massive day on the COP26 local weather summit, with the primary draft of an overarching settlement launched. The draft is a kind of a want checklist put collectively by the COP presidency and its ultimate model might be negotiated between nationwide delegates over the subsequent two days.

Relying on whom you ask, it is both “formidable” or “a complete flop.”

The U.S. and China additionally made a shock pledge to work collectively on addressing the local weather disaster.

This is what occurred on Wednesday.

CHINA-U.S. SURPRISE

The U.S. and China introduced an settlement Wednesday to ramp up their cooperative local weather ambitions, simply days earlier than the top of the convention.

“There may be extra settlement between the U.S. and China than divergence, making it an space of giant potential for cooperation,” China local weather envoy Xie Zhenhua mentioned at a information convention. “The discharge of this joint assertion exhibits once more that cooperation is the one selection for each China and the US. By working collectively our two nations can obtain many vital issues which might be useful not solely to our two nations however the world as an entire.”

In a information convention instantly following Xie, U.S. Particular Local weather Envoy John Kerry mentioned he was “happy” concerning the settlement between the 2 nations.

Kerry mentioned the U.S. and China had two selections: they might both depart COP26 not working collectively and leaving “the world questioning the place the long run’s going to be, clearly with a niche … Or, we are able to go away right here with folks working collectively with the intention to elevate the ambition and start to maneuver down a greater highway,” Kerry mentioned. “That is actually the selection.”

STRONG 1.5 COMMITMENT WITH LITTLE TO BACK IT UP

The draft settlement consists of the strongest-ever language on the necessity to restrict international warming to 1.5 levels Celsius, which might be a win for the COP26 presidency provided that a few of the world’s largest polluters have been, till just lately, reluctant to decide to the purpose.

Whereas analysts welcomed the language, many have been fast to level out that the remainder of the settlement would not really ship on the purpose.

Mark Maslin, a local weather scientist at College School London instructed CNN the draft was “a bit wishy washy.”

“It acknowledges that there’s a enormous want to chop emissions as quick as potential by 2030 to be on course for 1.5 levels temperature. Nevertheless, later within the doc, it asks nations to submit new kind of pledges, NDCs which might be all aligned to maintaining temperatures under two levels. So the start and the top of the particular doc do not match up,” he mentioned.

FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES GET A MENTION

The draft settlement additionally asks governments to “speed up the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels.” This is a vital first, as up till now, no COP settlement has ever talked about fossil fuels particularly.

“It is absurd that … we’re nonetheless paying taxpayer cash in lots of of billions of {dollars} a yr to encourage manufacturing and consumption of fossil fuels,” Alden Meyer, senior affiliate at E3G mentioned in a briefing.

“The primary rule of holes is that when you end up in a gap, cease digging. And we’re nonetheless digging the outlet deeper by paying folks to pollute and to supply and use extra carbon,” Meyer mentioned. “It is insane.”

However there is no assure the language round coal and fossil gas subsidies will survive the subsequent two days of negotiations.

Meyer mentioned he expects there to be “one hell of a combat” over this earlier than a ultimate textual content is agreed.

“Saudi Arabia and different nations will are available and try to take away this paragraph,” mentioned Jennifer Morgan, government director of Greenpeace Worldwide.

JOHNSON PLEADS WITH DELEGATES

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is again in Glasgow after spending the final week or so in London, making an attempt to get his celebration’s newest political scandal off the entrance pages.

The PM has acknowledged the local weather negotiations are getting harder as delegations iron out the ultimate settlement.

“Now could be the time for everybody come collectively and present the dedication wanted to energy on previous the blockages,” Johnson mentioned in a speech on the convention.

“Right here in Glasgow the world is nearer than it has even been in signaling the start of the top to anthropogenic local weather change,” he mentioned, calling on delegates: “Will you assist us do this? Will you assist us grasp that chance or will you stand in the way in which?”

SAUDI ARABIA PUSHES BACK

Saudi Arabia is shaping as much as be an enormous hurdle on the way in which to a considerable settlement and the UK is desperately making an attempt to get the dominion on board.

Downing Road mentioned Johnson spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday and that the 2 “mentioned the significance of constructing progress in negotiations within the ultimate days of COP26.”

In a speech, Saudi Arabia’s power minister requested the world to cease exhibiting bias for or towards particular types of power.

“It’s crucial that we acknowledge the range of local weather options, and the significance of emissions discount as stipulated within the Paris Settlement, with none bias in direction of or towards any specific supply of power,” Power Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud mentioned.

A number of consultants aware of the talks have mentioned overtly over the previous week that the dominion is obstructing progress on language round fossil fuels and 1.5 levels. Saudi officers haven’t replied to CNN’s request for touch upon the problems.

Jennifer Tollmann, a senior coverage adviser at E3G, mentioned the subsequent 48 hours might be essential, and can present “whether or not ministers work collectively to drastically enhance ambition throughout the board, or give a win to Russia, Saudi Arabia and Brazil and lose any clear alerts that every one nations should come again with extra ambition this decade.”

CAR DEAL DISAPPOINTS

A few of the largest gamers within the automobile business poured chilly water on the concept that COP26 may very well be the start of the top of the combustion engine period.

In response to a declaration printed Wednesday, the UK COP26 presidency wished to get governments, producers and buyers to vow to “work in direction of all gross sales of recent automobiles and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in main markets.”

However the proposal wasn’t signed by a number of key nations and firms.

Germany, China, Japan, South Korea and the US didn’t signal the declaration. Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW and Nissan additionally shunned signing.

German Atmosphere Minister Jochen Flasbarth mentioned Wednesday that Germany and different states “may have signed” the declaration if the UK Presidency had not put an “pointless barrier” in place, referring to the truth that the settlement did not take artificial fuels into consideration.

Nonetheless, there have been some notable signatories. Ford and Common Motors agreed, as did Jaguar Land Rover Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Amongst coutnries, U.S. states and cities that signed up have been the UK, Canada, Poland, Kenya, India, Australian Capital Territory, Catalonia, Atlanta, San Diego, New York Metropolis, San Francisco and Seoul.

FINANCE GAP

The hole between the “haves and have nots” is rising larger and the COP26 draft settlement is just not doing sufficient to handle the disaster, the director of UN’s Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Hansjoerg Strohmeyer mentioned on Wednesday.

“We have already got low ranges of funding for probably the most susceptible. Now we have a humanitarian help system that’s at its limits. And on the present development of trajectory of world warming, the necessity will develop, these are probably the most susceptible,” he mentioned.

The draft settlement makes some sturdy factors in a protracted part on the necessity to ship US$100 billion a yr in local weather financing to the growing world, a promise made by the world’s richest nations greater than a decade in the past. Nevertheless, the textual content could be very skinny on particulars.

“It’s fuzzy and obscure. The missed deadline for the $100 billion promise would not get acknowledged — and it is a key ask from susceptible nations,” mentioned Mohamed Adow, director of the local weather assume tank Energy Shift Africa.

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