COP26: Time runs out, issues unresolved, no agreement yet

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The COP26 meeting in Glasgow started off remarkably well, with several countries, including India, pledging new climate action to strengthen the global fight against climate change. However, the ending was likely to happen in a familiar way.

As with most previous climate change conferences, the 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP26 for short, failed to reach an agreement in time, and the negotiations had to escalate into Saturday.

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Several issues that should have been raised here, including those related to finance and the rules for creating a new carbon market, remain unresolved, and the hype generated by the loud announcements of the first week is likely to be eased. a weak agreement to come out now. There is not enough time to summarize the discussion of all outstanding issues, and it is possible that some of them may be postponed to the next year’s meeting.

COP26 has been heralded as a meeting that will give the world a real chance to keep the global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times, up from 2 degrees Celsius, which is the main goal of the Paris Agreement. Estimates of climate action taken by countries suggest that by the end of the century, the world was indeed experiencing a 2.7-degree Celsius increase in temperature. COP26 was supposed to provide an agreement that would spur countries to take more decisive action, seeking to put the world on the 1.5 degree path.

This seems like a daunting question now, as familiar issues such as the availability of climate finance remain intractable.

“We need to make clear our collective determination to accelerate mitigation and adaptation actions to combat climate change this decade. This message will only be credible if it is accompanied by an equally strong commitment from developed country parties to mobilize and provide expanded climate finance to developing country parties, ”India’s lead negotiator Richa Sharma said at a meeting. additional secretary of the Ministry of the Environment. On Friday. “We express our disappointment at the lack of significant progress on the climate finance agenda,” she said.

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On the last official day of the conference on Friday, the negotiators were able to prepare a new draft agreement, the second, which was considered an improvement on the previous one, but not good enough.

In fact, dissatisfied with the proposed weak results, civil society groups, which form a strong community of COP members, held a parallel “People’s Plenary Session” on site and then organized a street march to achieve stronger consensus.

The new projects weren’t much different from the first, but many seemingly small changes in language or emphasis have implications and legal implications and represent hours of negotiation. For example, in the first text “with regret” it was noted that developed countries did not fulfill the promised 100 billion US dollars by 2020, in the last – “with deep regret”.

A group of developing countries, which included India and China, expressed dissatisfaction with the first draft, especially the section on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and demanded a complete revision. The new project, however, is not much different from the previous one, although the principle of common and differentiated responsibility (CBDR), which recognizes that developing countries bear relatively little burdens in the fight against climate change, has received more attention.

It is important to note that the mention of the phase-out of coal and fossil fuels persisted, although an important clarification was added, apparently at the urging of countries that still depend on coal-fired power plants for electricity generation. For the first time in more than 20 years, the use of coal or fossil fuels is mentioned in any document or decision of a meeting on climate change and is seen as a significant step forward. The first draft called on countries to “accelerate the phase-out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies.” In a second draft, released Friday morning, this was changed to call for an accelerated phase-out of “unrelenting coal energy” and “insufficient subsidies” for fossil fuels.

The second draft also maintains a call for a doubling of adaptation funding, an important demand from developing countries lamenting the grossly inadequate availability of adaptation funding. It has also been updated. By 2025, developed countries are encouraged to double their funding to combat climate change from current levels. An earlier project lacked specific details.



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