COP26 climate talks drop call to end all use of coal
GLASGOW, Scotland – Negotiators for this year’s UN climate talks in Glasgow appeared to back down on a call to end all use of coal and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies altogether, but gave poor countries l hope for increased financial support to deal with global warming.
The meeting chairman’s latest draft proposals released on Friday call on countries to accelerate “the phase-out of coal-fired electricity and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
A previous proposal on Wednesday had been stronger, calling on countries to “accelerate the phase-out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies.” The changes, if accepted, could give countries loopholes to continue burning coal and subsidizing fossil fuels.
While the president’s proposal is likely to be the subject of further negotiations in the talks, which are due to end on Friday, the change in wording suggests an abandonment of the unconditional demands that some fossil fuel-exporting countries have opposed.
The question of how to approach the continued use of fossil fuels responsible for much of global warming was one of the main sticking points during the two-week talks.
Scientists agree that it is necessary to end their use as soon as possible to meet the ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). But explicitly including such a call in the comprehensive declaration is politically sensitive, including for countries like Saudi Arabia who fear oil and gas may be the next target.
Another crucial issue is the issue of financial assistance to poor countries to deal with climate change. Rich countries have failed to provide them with $ 100 billion a year by 2020, as agreed, sparking considerable anger among developing countries entering the talks.
The latest draft reflects these concerns, expressing “deep regret” that the $ 100 billion target has not been reached and urging rich countries to increase their funding.
It also adds wording that could create a fund to compensate countries for severe destruction resulting from climate change. Rich countries like the United States, which has historically been the largest source of human-made greenhouse gas emissions, are opposed to any legal obligation to pay for the loss and damage suffered by poor countries. .
Negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered in Glasgow on October 31 amid dire warnings from leaders, activists and scientists that not enough is not being done to curb global warming.
According to the proposed decision, countries plan to voice “their greatest concern and concern” that human activities have already caused about 1.1 ° C (2 ° F) of global warming “and that the impacts are already being felt. in each region ”.
While the Paris agreement calls for limiting the temperature to “well below” 2C (3.6F), ideally no more than 1.5C, by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, the Draft agreement notes that the lower threshold “would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” and decides to aim for this goal.
In doing so, it calls on the world to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels, and not to add additional CO2 to the atmosphere by mid-century. So far, the world is not on track for this, and developed countries should be invited to submit more ambitious emission reduction targets next year.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press this week that the 1.5C target “is still within reach, but on life support.”
If negotiators cannot reach a deal before Friday’s official deadline, talks are likely to continue. This has happened in many of the previous 25 meetings, as the consensus of the 197 countries is required to adopt decisions.