COP26: Climate Consensus Seems Close, India Disagrees With Coal Plans – National


After hours of face-to-face discussions and controversial disagreements over money, the countries participating in United Nations talks to curb global warming appeared to be nearing a consensus on Saturday, but India was saying not that fast.

A gap between rich and poor has widened at the United Nations summit in Glasgow, Scotland in recent days, with developing nations complaining that they are not being heard. But when the representative of Guinea, speaking on behalf of 77 poorer nations and China, said his group could live with the overall results, the negotiators cheered.

The Chinese delegation also said it was fine with positions that would come out of Glasgow in a final conference deal. But India’s Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav potentially undermined a provision on phasing out coal-fired energy plans, saying developing countries had “a right to responsible use of fossil fuels.”

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Yadav said there is no consensus on key issues and blamed “unsustainable lifestyles and wasteful consumption patterns” in rich countries for causing global warming. It was unclear whether India would try to stop a potential deal.

A frustrated vice president of the European Union Frans Timmermans, the climate envoy of the EU of 27 nations, begged the negotiators to be united for future generations.

“For God’s sake, don’t kill this moment,” pleaded Timmermans. “Please embrace this text in order to bring hope into the hearts of our children and grandchildren.”

Small island nations which are among the most vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of climate change and which have pushed for bolder action have said they are satisfied with the spirit of compromise.

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COP26 Summit: Negotiators are still drafting an agreement as the deadline expires

COP26 Summit: Negotiators are still drafting an agreement as the deadline expires

“Glasgow has developed a strong message of hope, a strong message of ambition,” said Seve Paeniu, finance minister for the South Pacific island nation Tuvalu. “What we have left to deliver”.

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On Saturday, negotiators in Glasgow examined new proposals to strike a deal they hoped could be credibly affirmed to advance global efforts to tackle global warming.

Last-minute meetings focused on a potential loss and damage fund for poor nations affected by climate change and forest credits in a carbon trading market.

“I hope we can have some resolutions before we formally start this plenary,” conference chairman Alok Sharma, a British host nation official, told negotiators. “Overall, this is a package that really moves things forward for everyone.”

Until late Saturday afternoon, divisions remained on the question of financial support sought by poor countries for the disastrous impacts of climate change that they will increasingly suffer in the future. The United States and the European Union, two of the largest historical emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, have continued to have deep reservations about so-called “loss and damage” measures.

Scientists warn the planet will warm up by 2.4 ° C despite COP26 commitments

Scientists warn the planet will warm up by 2.4 ° C despite COP26 commitments

Bangladesh’s Mohammed Quamrul Chowdhury, a lead negotiator for least developed countries, has ticked the ways that a vague wording in a Saturday morning draft failed to commit richer countries to putting new money on the table for struggling countries. with climatic damage.

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“There is a lot of frustration,” he told AP.

Another problem that caused problems Saturday confused negotiators for six years: the creation of markets for carbon trading. The idea is to trade credits to reduce carbon like other commodities, unleashing the power of markets, with poorer nations getting money, often from private companies, for measures that reduce carbon in the air.

A big problem has been that rich nations want to make sure that poor nations that sell their credits to make carbon reductions, which include carbon-sucking forests, don’t include the same settings as their national emissions reductions, called double counting.

Saturday’s draft provided “strong” provisions to prevent double-counting of offsets, but according to Environmental Defense Fund Vice-President Kelly Kizzier, a former EU negotiator and expert on carbon market negotiations, later in the day new problems involving forests have resurfaced.

Before areas of disagreement between rich and poor nations required urgent attention, coal had garnered more consideration.

A proposal for the general decision maintains contentious language calling on countries to accelerate “efforts towards phasing out relentless coal energy and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”

But in a new addition, the text says nations will recognize “the need for support towards a just transition” _ a reference to requests for financial support from those working in the fossil fuel industry as they close jobs and businesses. .

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Some advocacy groups said early Saturday’s proposals weren’t strong enough.

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Thousands of climate activists are calling for action at COP26

Thousands of climate activists are calling for action at COP26

“Here in Glasgow, the poorest countries in the world are in danger of losing sight of each other, but the next few hours can and must change the course we are on,” said Tracy Carty, Oxfam’s senior policy advisor. “What’s on the table isn’t good enough yet.”

But the possibility of having fossil fuels explicitly mentioned for the first time in a decision that came out of the annual meeting of the United Nations Conference of the Parties, or COP, which was well received by some environmentalists.

“It is weaker and more compromised, but we see it as a bridgehead, a breakthrough of sorts,” said Greenpeace executive director Jennifer Morgan.

“We will have to fight like hell to keep it there and strengthen it in the next few hours,” Morgan said, adding that there was “a handful of countries that were really trying to get that line out of the deal.”

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In another proposal, countries are “encouraged” to present new emission reduction targets for 2035 by 2025 and for 2040 by 2030, setting a five-year cycle. Previously, developing countries would only have to do this every 10 years. Developed countries are also being asked to submit a short-term update next year.

The proposed deal states that to achieve the ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, countries will need to make “rapid, profound and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reductions in global carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 level and net zero around mid-century, as well as profound reductions in other gases greenhouse”.

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Scientists say the world is not yet on track to achieve that goal, but various commitments made before and during the two-week talks, which are now overtime, have brought them closer.

The latest draft agreement expresses “the alarm and utmost concern that human activities have so far caused about 1.1 ° C (2 ° F) of global warming and that the impacts are already being felt. in every region “.

Next year’s talks will take place in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, on the Red Sea. Dubai wants to host the meeting in 2023.

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– Anniruddha Ghosal and Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.

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