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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - GLASGOW — COP26 was due to end Friday but negotiators are back to work on Saturday, hoping to agree on a deal that will help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
A third version of the draft decision was released on Saturday morning. Like the previous version, the new draft calls upon countries to accelerate “efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
It does not set up specific mechanisms for Loss and Damage, a crucial demand of developing countries. An “informal stocktaking plenary” is now scheduled to ne held.
“I envisage formal plenary meetings in the afternoon to adopt decisions and close the session on Saturday,” said COP26 chair Alok Sharma in a statement Friday.
He explained that “a number of parties” wanted to “have a discussion” and that he would therefore “allow more time for these discussions to take place .”
“But I'd like to make clear it is my intention to close this COP this afternoon,” he insisted.
As of Friday evening, three main sticking points remained: financial aid for poor nations; mentioning a coal phase out and an end to fossil fuel subsidies; and the question of how soon countries have to come back with new targets for cutting emissions.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that he believes “an ambitious outcome is in sight” at COP26.
The key points in the draft deal released on Saturday is like the previous version, the new draft calls upon countries to accelerate “efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
A new addition refers to “the need for support towards a just transition,” a reference to calls from those working in the fossil fuel industry for financial support.
It does not set up specific financing facilities for Loss and Damage, a crucial demand of developing countries. It requests countries to come back next year with updated climate targets.
It urges rich countries to “at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing country.”
Also, carbon markets, known as “Article 6,” rules have long been a sticking point in climate talks.
The idea is to unleash the power of trading carbon reduction measures, with poorer nations getting money, often from private companies, for measures that reduce carbon in the air.
The new draft text provides “strong” provisions to prevent double-counting of offsets — a longtime point of contention — and allows about 100 million tons of carbon credits to be carried over from previous years and agreements.
It's a “good result,” said Environmental Defense Fund Vice President Kelly Kizzier, a former European Union negotiator and expert on carbon market negotiations.
Meanwhile, Alden Meyer, senior associate at climate policy think tank E3G, told AFP that loss and damage talks were a “cliffhanger moment” that could jeopardize the UK's goal of wrapping the summit up later Saturday.
The comments come after a proposal to include the creation of a dedicated facility to administer loss and damage support was scrapped by historic emitters, delegates said.
Countries already battered by climate disasters such as record-breaking drought, flooding and storms are demanding they be compensated separately for loss and damage, and have made it a red line.
Amadou Sebory Toure, head of the G77+China negotiating bloc, told AFP the proposal was “put forward by the entire developing world, representing six of every seven people on Earth”.
He said separate finance was needed “to effectively respond to our needs to address the loss and damage being inflicted on our peoples, our communities, our economies, by the impacts of climate change”.
In another development, climate activists say new draft deal is 'betrayal' by rich countries. “The latest draft text from COP26 is a clear betrayal by rich nations- the US, the EU and the UK- of vulnerable communities in poor countries,” said Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network.
“By blocking the AOSIS and G77+ China proposal, representing 6 billion people, on the creation of a Glasgow Loss and Damage Finance Facility rich countries have once again demonstrated their complete lack of solidarity and responsibility to protect those facing the worst of the climate impacts,” he added.
And Oxfam reiterated that the new draft deal is 'still not good enough'. “What’s on the table is still not good enough,” said Tracy Carty, head of Oxfam’s COP26 delegation after a new draft COP26 deal was released on Saturday morning.
She urged, “decisive progress on finance to help countries adapt and for the loss and damage endured.”
“It is of deep concern that developing countries’ proposal for a loss and damage finance facility has not been included in this new draft,” she added.
Activists, meanwhile, on Friday posed as world leaders incapable of putting out the fire as the planet burns. Dressed as firefighters, the mock world leaders did little to tackle the climate crisis and to save a planet “on fire”.
And Greenpeace warned countries may try to scrap line on fossil fuel from COP26 deal .
“The key line about fossil fuels is still in the text. It’s weak and compromised, but it’s a breakthrough, it’s a bridgehead and we have to fight like hell to keep it in there and have it strengthened,” Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said in a statement.
“Today’s plenary could witness a defining moment with a clutch of countries seeking to strike that line from the deal and dilute plans to force nations to come back next year with better emissions plans,” she added.
The draft deal released this morning says countries are “encouraged” to submit new targets for emissions reduction for 2035 by 2025, and for 2040 by 2030, establishing a five-year cycle. Previously, developing countries were expected to do so only every 10 years.
It says that to limit global warming to 1.5C, countries will need to make “rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net-zero around mid-century, as well as deep reductions in other greenhouse gases.”
Scientists say the world is not on track to meet that goal yet, but various pledges made before and during COP26 have brought them closer. — Euronews
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