COP26 negotiators scrambled to turn promises into action on the last day of climate negotiations

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at a press conference on the 11th day of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 10, 2021.

Jeff J. Mitchell | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Glasgow, Scotland-On the last day of the COP26 climate negotiations, negotiators from nearly 200 countries are on the last fight to maintain the hope of keeping the global temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In a race against time, delegates are pushing for breakthroughs on the main sticking points, and issues such as climate financing and global carbon markets have not yet been resolved.

The UK will host the two-week summit in Glasgow, Scotland, until Friday night, although negotiations are likely to overrun.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on ministers to bridge their differences in order to reach a consensus.

“This is bigger than any other country, and it is time for countries to put aside their differences and unite for our planet and our people,” he said when he returned to Scotland’s largest city on Wednesday. “If we want to keep 1.5 degrees Celsius in our grasp, we need to go all out.”

The cautious optimism of the first week was dampened by a shocking analysis of the world’s climate trajectory and a draft agreement that implied that current commitments were not enough to prevent the gradual deterioration of climate impacts.

Delegates need to develop a plan to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid climate catastrophe. This temperature threshold is a key global target and refers to the ideal target in the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

There is no clear indication as to whether the talks can meet the requirements of the climate emergency.

Transaction draft

Some people view the large number of commitments in the first week of negotiations as a “big step” forward, with countries committing to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, phase out coal, and reduce methane emissions by 30%.

Although critics have called for more concrete action, the recent unexpected China-US statement has also been described as an encouraging and significant move.

A report from the International Energy Agency last week stated that if governments fulfill their long-term commitments, humanity will face a warming of about 1.8 degrees Celsius. So far, it has been regarded as a major breakthrough, marking the least reliable prediction of global warming so far.

Members of the Climate Action protest organization Scientist Rebellion held up slogans during a demonstration during the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Summit in Glasgow on November 8, 2021.

Andy Buchanan | AFP | Getty Images

However, a climate action network study released on Tuesday found that, based on short-term goals, temperatures may rise by 2.4 degrees Celsius this century. This is a catastrophic prediction, showing that the world’s plans still cannot achieve the catastrophic goal.

British MP Alok Sharma, chairman of COP26, said in an interview with CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on Friday that the text of the summit-a series of legal status commitments and transactions- It should be announced “soon”.

Sharma also refused to rule out the possibility that negotiations on the summit’s final agreement will continue until Friday, the last day of the climate summit. When asked if the negotiations will continue into the weekend, Sharma replied: “Let’s see, shall we?”

The first draft of the COP26 agreement announced on Wednesday requires governments to “re-examine and strengthen” their emissions targets by the end of next year, and calls on countries to support low-income countries through climate financing.

The seven-page text must be approved by all delegations participating in the talks, and it also calls for the accelerated phase-out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies. However, there is no set date or target on this issue.

If this term is not deleted from the final agreement, this will be the first time that the outcome of an international climate summit explicitly mentions fossil fuels. Environmental organizations said that they fully hope to cancel this part of the draft text before the end of the meeting.

Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, said in a statement: “This draft agreement is not a plan to solve the climate crisis, but an agreement we all pray and hope for the best.”

“This is a polite request, and countries may do more next year. Well, this is not good enough. Negotiators should not even consider leaving the city until they reach an agreement that is in line with the present. Because it is most certain Yes, this one does not.”

‘One public relations announcement after another’

An analysis released by Global Witness on Monday found that COP26 has more representatives related to the fossil fuel industry than representatives from any country.

It has seriously questioned the credibility of the summit, especially since the burning of fossil fuels is the main driver of the climate crisis.

“I have been doing these COPs since 2000, and oil and gas companies have always been deeply rooted in many delegations,” said Carol Mufi, CEO of the non-profit Center for International Environmental Law. (Carroll Muffett) told CNBC. “They have a very direct way, so basically you can see fossil fuels everywhere except the text of the treaty.”

“The core of what we saw at this COP was one public relations announcement after another,” Mufitt said. “In the really important negotiations, things have not made progress.”

His comments echoed the criticism made by climate activist Greta Thunberg last week.

“The failure of COP26 is no secret. It is clear that we cannot solve the crisis in the same way that we were in the crisis in the first place,” Thunberg said at a future rally on Friday, November 5.

“The COP has become a public relations event. Leaders are delivering beautiful speeches announcing gorgeous promises and goals. Behind the scenes, the governments of the global northern countries still refuse to take any drastic climate action.”


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