GLASGOW, Scotland – A few hours before United Nations Conference on Climate Change what a set to conclude, a new draft report The final agreement was released showing that key differences remain on how to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Negotiators worked all night Thursday to try to fill gaps between nations on troublesome issues such as how much money should the richest nations pay for the damage climate change has already caused in poorer countries, as well as what specific targets on the emissions were needed and when it should be implemented.
“Most glaring is the lack of mention of the financial plan for loss and damage that was proposed last night by the G77 developing countries group,” Tracy Carty, head of Oxfam’s COP26 delegation, said in a statement. . “‘Recognizing’ loss and damage will not bring back sunken homes, poisoned fields and lost loved ones. Rich countries need to stop blocking progress and commit to doing something about it.”
Differences between nations gathered in Glasgow continue to persist despite repeated warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that time is running out to avoid a cascade of extreme weather disasters caused by rising temperatures. But the fusion of politics and science has proved difficult to achieve in the past two weeks.
Pledges made in Paris in 2015 for rich countries to mobilize $ 100 billion annually in grants and loans to the developing world have not yet been fully met, which the draft document states it “notes with deep regret. “. A new wording added in the second draft calling on rich countries to double that funding by 2025 could prove to be an obstacle to a final deal because rich countries may hesitate.
Climate activists, meanwhile, say that even the current wording allows the industrialized world, which has emitted far more greenhouse gases that have caused climate change, to shed financing for developing countries and eliminate the own use of fossil fuels.
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“As the minutes pass, accepting responsibility and how to increase climate finance should be the subject of the negotiations,” Rachel Kennerley, international climate activist for Friends of the Earth, said in a statement. “But instead, it appears that rich countries are preparing their own way out. This new draft released this morning talks about removing subsidies for inefficient fossil fuels, as if efficient ones were acceptable.”
The second draft took into account sharp criticism from developing nations, and while some activists remain unhappy with its wording, other outside groups saw it as a marked improvement. In a press conference on Friday morning, officials from the World Resources Institute, a think tank, said the second draft, while still lacking in key areas, was also better overall.
“Overall, on balance, this is definitely a stronger and more balanced text than we had two days ago,” Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics at WRI, told reporters.
Underlining the differences between the parties, however, is the ongoing debate on whether to include the words “fossil fuels” in the draft.
While COP26’s overall goal was to reconfirm nations in their commitments made in Paris in 2015 to keep global warming below 1.5C, this year’s deal contains understated wording that recognizes that the world must now prepare to adapt to the reality of climate change. The draft released on Friday warns that “climatic and weather extremes and negative impacts on people and nature will continue to increase with each further increase in rising temperatures.”
It now seems likely that whatever final agreement emerges from the conference will not be finalized until Saturday, or perhaps Sunday.
“This is the final countdown. Negotiators should return to the table armed with commitments that rise to the challenge that millions of people around the world face every day,” said Oxfam’s Carty.
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