Thursday’s conclusions at COP26: A fight is brewing over a fundamental piece of the final agreement

A new version of the draft agreement text is expected to be released sometime Thursday night, but COP26 President Alok Sharma made it clear that negotiations are far from over, so don’t be surprised if continue beyond the deadline.

This is what happened on Thursday.

Sharma is pushing hard for the next Glasgow deal to have substance, knowing well that history will judge the summit based on the final text. Speaking to delegates on Thursday, he said he was concerned about the number of issues that have yet to be agreed.

“I know how hard everyone is working. But today should represent another gear change when negotiators finish outstanding technical work and ministers mark their commitment because,” he told delegates. “And I remind colleagues again that COP26 is scheduled to close late tomorrow.”

The first version of the draft agreement was published on Wednesday and was not particularly well received by many climate experts and advocacy groups, who have criticized it as vague and not ambitious enough, and that was before negotiators from some of the more greats of the world. Fossil fuel producing countries got down to work trying to dilute it.

Climate finance – getting rich countries to help developing nations cut emissions and adapt – is looming as one of the main sticking points, and Sharma urges delegates to find common ground.

“Our leaders were clear at the beginning of the summit. They want us to demonstrate ambition and build consensus, and yet we still see that in the finance rooms we are struggling to move forward even with some routine technical problems. This, my friends, cannot. be the case today, “Sharma said.

Fight against concoctions on the critical section

A group of nations known as Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), which includes China and India, called for the entire section on climate change mitigation to be removed from the draft COP26 text, in a sign of the fight that follows. being one day before the closing of the talks.
China and India among 22 nations calling for key emissions section of COP26 deal to be removed

The mitigation section in the draft includes language on reducing greenhouse gas emissions enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as opposed to the upper limit of 2 degrees. Celsius of the Paris Agreement. It also urges countries to accelerate updates to their emissions commitments by the end of 2022.

Bolivia’s chief negotiator Diego Pacheco, who represents the LMDC group, said on Thursday that countries felt the developed world was trying to transfer its responsibilities for the climate crisis to the developing world.

“We ask the presidency to remove the mitigation section entirely,” Pacheco told a news conference in Glasgow. The LMDC group does not believe that developing countries should have the same emissions deadlines and ambitions as rich nations.

Some civil society groups at the conference have criticized the LMDC’s stance, calling it a deliberately exaggerated request to gain influence in the talks.

The suggestion to remove the mitigation section “is clearly a blow to the face of people suffering from the climate crisis,” said Teresa Anderson, climate policy coordinator at ActionAid International.

Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the EU Commission, ridiculed the lawsuit as illogical.

“I’m trying to follow the logic of that position,” he said, acknowledging that he understood the demands of developing nations for more money to adapt to the climate crisis.

“But then say, let’s eliminate that mitigation: there is no amount of money on the planet, there is no great technical solution for adaptation good enough to have to get us to where we need to be in adaptation if we don’t do mitigation. Look what it’s happening now with 1.1 degrees. Imagine we shoot through two degrees and two and a half degrees. What are you going to do with the adaptation? “

New alliance on elimination of fossil fuels

Costa Rica and Denmark officially launched the “Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance” on Thursday. The group includes France, Sweden, Ireland, Wales, Greenland and Quebec, while California, Portugal and New Zealand have joined as associate members, and Italy expressed support for the group.

Denmark’s Climate Minister Dan Jorgensen said that all members of the group have committed to ending all new concessions, licenses and leases for oil and gas projects, and have also committed to setting a date in line with Paris to end oil and gas exploration and production.

The UK, which is the host of the climate conference and has spearheaded many of the deals announced in the past two weeks, has not joined the alliance.

Jorgensen said that some of the countries that have joined have significant oil and gas reserves and production. He said one of the alliance’s key goals is to put the issue of ending oil and gas exploration and drilling on the agenda.

“How can you defend wanting to be carbon neutral in 2050,” Jorgensen asked, “but still wanting to produce oil and gas and sell it to others? That, in our opinion, does not add up.”

Carbon market negotiations

The COP26 presidency continues to push for an agreement on the details of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which establishes the need for carbon markets. Past COPs have failed to reach consensus on the rules that should govern emissions trading, and the Glasgow talks are proving equally difficult.

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The idea is that countries struggling to meet their emission reduction targets could, in the future, buy emission reductions from countries that have already reduced their emissions by more than they promised.

But there are some major sticking points, like how to avoid double counting and how to keep the world’s biggest polluters from relying on emissions trading rather than focusing on actual reductions. Some developing countries have also advocated taxing markets, saying the proceeds should go to climate finance. Indigenous peoples groups have been campaigning for any agreement to include strict human rights protection and clauses that protect their lands.

Some countries are pushing forward on the issue: Switzerland announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement on emissions trading with several countries, including Peru, Ghana, Senegal, Georgia, Vanuatu and Dominica.

United States approves climate repairs

The United States does not support the creation of a compensation fund for losses and damages, an idea promoted at COP26 by developing and smaller countries particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, a senior US official told reporters.

Vulnerable countries argue that rich countries are historically more responsible for climate change. Some countries on the front lines of the crisis feel that the nations that have polluted the most should be held responsible and pay for reparations.

Although the US signed a recent statement from a group of 61 countries, known as the “High Ambition Coalition,” which agreed to increase resources for particularly vulnerable countries, the senior official said the US still has many questions about how that would work in practice.

CNN’s Ingrid Formanek contributed to this report.

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