Tuesday, December 7

COP26, scheduled to end on Friday, will now continue on Saturday as the key issue remains unresolved

The COP26 climate conference, which was scheduled to end on Friday, will continue on Saturday to allow for one more night of negotiation.

Alok Sharma, president of COP26, said in a statement released by the United Nations that he participates in “intensive consultations” with groups and parties.

He is planning for the revised documents to be released around 09:00 CET on Saturday to be followed by a “short informal plenary meeting” in the morning.

“I anticipate formal plenary sessions in the afternoon to make decisions and close the session on Saturday,” he wrote.

“My thanks to everyone for the spirit of cooperation that continues to flow tonight,” he added.

Negotiators in Glasgow were still trying to find common ground on phasing out coal, when nations need to update their emission reduction promises and especially money.

The talks are “a bit stalled” and the United States, with the support of the European Union, is slowing down the talks, said Lee White, Gabon’s minister of forests and climate change.

Mohamed Adow of Climate Action Network International, a longtime observer of the talks, said poorer nations are more than disappointed with the way the UK presidency has put together the drafts and that this has turned into a negotiation of “a rich world”. He said that the poorest nations cannot accept what has been proposed.

US climate envoy John Kerry told The Associated Press late Friday that the climate talks are “working” after a late-night meeting with his Chinese counterpart and before a hallway chat with the Indian negotiator.

Three sticking points were making people unhappy on Friday: coal, cash and time.

The meeting chairman’s draft Friday morning proposals called on countries to accelerate “the phase-out of coal power and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.”

An earlier draft on Wednesday had been stronger, calling on countries to “accelerate the phase-out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies.”

Kerry said Washington supported the current wording. “We are not talking about phasing out” coal, he told his fellow climate diplomats. But, he said: “Those subsidies have to go away.”

Kerry said it was “a definition of insanity” that billions were spent to subsidize fossil fuels around the world. “We are allowing us to feed the same problem that we are here to try to solve. Has no sense “.

But there was a mixed response from activists and observers about how significant the addition of the words “incessantly” and “ineffective” was.

Richie Merzian, a former Australian climate negotiator who heads the climate and energy program at the Australian Institute’s think tank, said the additional warnings were “sufficient for a coal train to pass through.”

Countries like Australia and India, the world’s third-largest emitter, have resisted calls to phase out coal in the short term.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told The Associated Press that she feared that “as long as our main goal is to find loopholes and excuses, not to take real action, we will most likely not see great results from this meeting.”

Thunberg, who attended the start of the talks in Glasgow, spoke at his weekly protest outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Scientists agree that an end to the use of fossil fuels is necessary as soon as possible to meet the ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). But explicitly including such a call in the blanket statement is politically sensitive, even for countries, like Saudi Arabia, that fear oil and gas will be the next target.

Another crucial issue is the question of financial assistance to poor countries to cope with climate change. Rich nations failed to provide them with $ 100 billion (€ 87.4 billion) annually by 2020, as agreed, sparking considerable anger among developing countries that participated in the talks.

The latest draft reflects those concerns, expressing “deep regret” for not meeting the $ 100 billion goal and urging rich countries to increase their funding for poor nations to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, an issue. with which developed countries are also struggling.

The poorest nations say that repentance is not enough.

“Don’t call them donor countries. They are polluters. They owe this money, ”said Saleemul Huq, a climate science and policy expert who is director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh.

The draft also proposes the creation of a fund to help poor countries tap into existing sources of aid when faced with the devastating impacts of climate change. But rich nations like the United States, which have historically been the largest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, oppose any legal obligation to compensate poor countries.

Another issue in Friday morning’s draft worries when nations will have to come back with new emission reduction targets that they were supposed to come up with before the Glasgow talks. Because the promises weren’t enough, the draft calls on nations to come up with another stricter target by the end of 2022, but some nations, such as Saudi Arabia, are resisting this, said David Waskow of the World Resources Institute.

In 2015 in Paris, there was a debate about whether the targets should be updated every five to ten years, so going a year after Glasgow is a big deal, said Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund Kelley Kizzier, a former negotiator for the EU.

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered in Glasgow on October 31 amid dire warnings from leaders, activists and scientists that not enough is being done to curb global warming.

According to the proposed decision, countries plan to express “alarm and grave concern” that human activities have already caused around 1.1 ° C (2 ° F) of global warming “and that the impacts are already being felt in all regions. “.

While the Paris agreement calls for limiting temperatures to “well below” 2 ° C (3.6 ° F), ideally no more than 1.5 ° C, by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, the Draft agreement indicates that the lower threshold will reduce the risks and impacts of climate change ”and resolves to aim for that objective.

In doing so, he calls on the world to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, and not add additional CO2 to the atmosphere by mid-century. So far, the world is not on the right track.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press this week that the 1.5C goal “is still within reach, but on life support.”

The annual meetings, which were first held in 1995 and only skipped once last year due to the pandemic, are designed for all countries to gradually increase their efforts to curb global warming.

But for many vulnerable nations the process has been too slow.

“We need to deliver and act now,” said Seve Paeniu, finance minister for the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu. “It is a matter of life and survival for many of us.”


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