Last minute negotiations at the close of the UN climate conference

Negotiators moved between delegations at the UN climate talks in Scotland on Saturday, seeking a deal to give the world a chance to fight to avoid the worst effects of global warming, as the British host told them there were only some hours.

Alok Sharma delayed a public meeting in the plenary room, saying that negotiators needed more time, but that he still intended to close the two-week COP26, which has already passed a day, later in the afternoon.

“At the end of the day, what is being proposed here is a balanced package, everyone has had a chance to have a say,” he said on the forum.

The final agreement will require the unanimous consent of the nearly 200 countries present, ranging from superpowers fueled by coal and gas to oil producers and Pacific islands that will be swallowed up by rising sea levels.

US climate envoy John Kerry was seen going back and forth between talks with Chinese negotiator Xie Zhenhua, EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans and Sharma.

Like previous versions, the latest draft of the conference agreement attempted to balance the demands of climate-vulnerable nations, major industrial powers, and those whose consumption or export of fossil fuels are vital to their economic development.

An image of Earth is projected at the COP26 summit site in Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain, on November 1, 2021. (Credit: REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAY)

In particular, it retained a significant demand for nations to make stricter climate commitments next year, rather than every five years, as is currently required, a recognition that existing commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet are not close enough. .


The overall goal of the meeting is to uphold the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Scientists say that going beyond that limit would trigger extreme sea level rise and catastrophes including devastating droughts, monster storms and wildfires far worse than the ones the world is already experiencing.

But national promises made so far to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and gas, would only limit the average global temperature rise to 2.4 degrees Celsius.

While that gap will not be closed in Glasgow, Sharma said he hoped the final deal would pave the way for deeper cuts.

China, the current largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, were seeking to avoid the final deal, including language opposing subsidies for fossil fuels, two sources told Reuters. Friday.

However, Saturday’s draft, released by the United Nations, continued to highlight fossil fuels, something that no conclusion from the UN climate conference has so far achieved.

Britain tried to unblock the issue of climate finance, always one of the thorniest, by proposing mechanisms to ensure that the poorest nations ultimately get more of the financial aid they have been promised.

Developing countries argue that rich nations, whose historical emissions are largely responsible for global warming, must pay more to help them adapt to its consequences and reduce their carbon footprints.


The draft called on rich countries to double funding for climate adaptation by 2025 from 2019 levels, offering funding that has been a key demand from small island nations at the conference.

Funds for adaptation go primarily to the poorest countries and currently represent only a small fraction of climate finance.

Britain also said a UN committee should report next year on progress towards delivering the $ 100 billion in overall annual climate funds that wealthy nations had pledged for 2020 but failed to deliver. And he said governments should meet in 2022, 2024 and 2026 to discuss climate finance.

Even $ 100 billion a year is well below the real needs of the poorest countries, which could reach $ 300 billion by 2030 in adaptation costs alone, according to the United Nations, in addition to the economic losses from the loss. harvest or weather-related disasters.

Disasters that you cannot prepare for or adapt for, such as rising sea levels, emerged as a continuing obstacle.

Vulnerable nations have argued for decades that rich countries owe them compensation for the “loss and damage” of such events.

But rich countries fear being held responsible for such disasters and opening the door to bottomless payments. As a result, no UN climate conference has yet provided funding under this heading for the worst affected countries.

On another issue, negotiators began to close a deal to establish rules for carbon markets, mechanisms that put a price on emissions to allow countries or companies to buy and sell “permits to pollute” or credits to absorb emissions.

New draft documents on the implementation of Article 6 of the 2015 Paris Agreement suggested progress on the three key points that have prevented an agreement on the issue at the last two UN climate conferences.

Liberian Nellie Dokie, 37, who lives in Glasgow and has been making a two-hour commute daily to cook for conference delegates, ventured her first look at the main conference area on Saturday.

“I want to be a part of history,” he said. “I played a small role.”

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