COP26 Summit in Glasgow – The latest draft decision document dilutes commitments on coal, fossil fuels, 2030 targets

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had previously stated that the main goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees was “on life support” due to the conflict between different countries, while Pope Francis warned that world leaders would dealt with “God’s judgment” if they fail before Glasgow talks are expected to end over the weekend.

A group of nearly two dozen developing countries – thought to include major emissions sources like China and India – have been successful in lobbying to water down references to coal and fossil fuels, but not was able to remove references to the importance of keeping the temperature rise at 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.

Concerns over countries, including China, watering down the final language come just a day after the industrial giant surprised the summit with agree on a series of actions with rival United States to combat climate change.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke with Cop26 president Alok Sharma.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke with Cop26 president Alok Sharma.Credit:Getty

Nations that pushed for changes to the draft language on fossil fuels, known as like-minded developing countries, argued that the terms of the draft were unfair to poorer countries. Bolivia’s chief negotiator and LMDC spokesperson Diego Pacheco accused rich nations of trying to “shift” the burden of historic pollution to those with less responsibility.

“The story is important and the story is very important to understand and to put in the context of the ambition discussion,” said Pacheco.

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COP26 chairman Alok Sharma previously warned that the summit was entering its final day with a huge gap between countries on key issues such as how much financial support the developed world should offer developing nations to tackle climate change.

“Even though we’ve made progress … we haven’t gotten to the most critical issues yet,” he said.

“There is still a lot of work to be done and the closing of COP26 is scheduled for the end of tomorrow. So time is running out “.

So far, the talks have not come close to achieving any of the UN’s key priorities reduce carbon emissions by about half by 2030 to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. Nor have they come close to convincing rich countries to uphold a 12-year commitment to provide $ 100 billion annually in climate financial aid to poor nations.

Guterres said the Glasgow talks “are at a pivotal time” and must achieve more than securing a weak deal that the participating nations agree to uphold.

“The worst thing would be to reach an agreement at all costs with a lowest common denominator that does not respond to the enormous challenges we face,” he told AP in an interview.

The overall goal of limiting pre-industrial warming to 1.5 degrees “is still within reach but alive,” added Guterres.

United Nations climate summits are known to last and there is a growing expectation that the Glasgow summit could be extended to Saturday and even Sunday, local time.

Tina Stege, a Marshall Islands climate correspondent halfway between Australia and Hawaii, said low-lying nations are desperate for a positive COP26 result.

“We are far from an ambitious Glasgow package,” he said. “This decade could be the most decisive in human history.”

Stege said he “cannot underestimate” the importance of the Glasgow summit deciding to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels and coal, or “how hard we will have to fight” to keep those references in the final document.

With AP

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