COP26: Deadline Running Out, But Negotiations Continue to Reach Crucial Climate Agreement
The president of the Climate Conference, COP26, Alok Sharma, reported that a small number of key issues remained unresolved as of Friday afternoon.
“This is our common moment in history, this is our opportunity to forge a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous world, and this is our time to fulfill the great ambition set by our leaders at the beginning of the summit, we must stand by height of the circumstances, “he said during an informal plenary session to update delegates.
He reported that the ministers had been working late into the morning to discuss financing and damages and losses, and that they had the “sincere intention” to reach a final agreement before the day was out.
“We need one last injection of the ‘yes we can’ spirit to carry out our common project,” he said.
In the plenary session, statements were heard from several countries, including a strong call from many representatives to add a text to the final document that would lead to the end of the use of all fossil fuels, not just coal.
The latest draft of the text currently says “The Parties should accelerate the development, implementation and diffusion of technologies, as well as the adoption of policies, for the transition towards low-emission energy systems- Among other things, the generation of clean energy and accelerate the phase-out of unstabilized coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. “
“This is personal, it is not about politics,” said the European Union’s top negotiator, adding that the Glasgow targets would be “completely meaningless” unless countries agree on a clear message to end all subsidies to fossil fuels.
On the same subject, John Kerry, the US envoy for climate, said that continuing to spend money on these types of subsidies was “insane.”
“Those subsidies have to go away. We are the largest oil and gas producer in the world and we have some of those subsidies and President Biden has introduced legislation to end them,” he said.
The United States, he continued, struggles every year to find money, “but $ 2.5 trillion in the last five or six years went to fossil fuel subsidies. That is the definition of insanity. We ourselves feed the problem that We tried to solve it. It doesn’t make sense, “Kerry said.
Another thorny issue that remains unresolved is the extent to which developed countries will compensate vulnerable nations for the “loss and damage” caused by climate change.
The representative of the G77 developing country negotiating group and China said they were “deeply disappointed” that their proposal to create a Glasgow loss and damage fund was not reflected in the text.
“That proposal has been raised throughout the developed world to respond to our needs … To address the loss and damage inflicted by climate change,” he said.
Also, many countries lobbied for a stronger call to maintain the 1.5 degree global warming target and demonstrate more ambition on climate finance.
“We arrived in Glasgow with high hopes and expectations, however in this final stretch of COP26 we have some doubts, and we continue to hear some reluctance about the ambition that is required to close the 2030 gap line with the 1.5 degree target. , reservations on support for loss and damage, options … And we are still waiting to see much-needed progress on climate finance, “said the negotiator from Buthan representing the Least Developed Countries group.
UN News // Laura Quinones
The summit of the people
Hours before, civil society groups had taken the plenary room of COP26, the same one in which the negotiator had just taken stock of the state of the negotiations.
To begin, delegates were asked to stand up if they had lost a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic and if they had suffered the effects of climate change. Most rose from their seats.
“There is no doubt that the people who represent all the countries of the world, in different ways, have felt the effects of a pandemic and a climate crisis. It is the same sectors of society that bear all the burden of these different crisis, “said the executive director of Climate Action Network, Tasneem Essop.
Representing African civil society, Mohamed Adow claimed that they had been “excluded from the process” at COP26.
“We, the peoples, demand that the countries of the North pay their climate debt, that they meet a global adaptation goal, that they address climate injustice and that they pay for losses and damages,” he said.
After their intervention, the organizations, including indigenous and women’s groups, left the plenary session along with many other participants who were waiting for them in the corridors. With pickets and banners, they left the conference demanding climate justice.
Outside, they met a larger group of protesters and continued together across the river to the iconic Finnieston Street Bridge, where some of them still stand, awaiting the final outcome of the conference.