COP26 new draft makes few compromises, continues to recognise 1.5-degree goal
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New cover decision was released by the Glasgow climate change conference (COP 26) Presidency on Friday morning after there was no consensus on the previous one released on Wednesday. The new draft text has changed the language on several fronts to strike a compromise with dissenting parties. The new draft reaffirms the Paris Agreement temperature goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
Instead of “urging” parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determined contributions, as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022, the new draft “requests” parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets.
The draft has removed the bit on the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C by 2100. It now states that it, “recognizes that limiting global warming to 1.5 °C requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions.”
Experts said the draft strikes a balance between the asks of developed and developing countries. The text will be negotiated through Friday.
The Like-Minded Developing Countries, including India and China, had objected to this timeline for revisiting the targets. The previous draft had called upon parties to “accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels” which has now been reworded to “adoption of policies for the transition towards low-emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation and accelerating the phase out of unabated coal power and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.” Saudi Arabia had objected to the clause on fossil fuels while several developing countries had raised concerns with phasing out of coal.
There are no major changes to the rest of the text. In summary, the draft continues to recognise the 1.5-degrees global warming goal. It also recognizes that limiting global warming to 1.5 °C requires 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 net-zero around mid-century, as well as deep reductions in non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases.
The language on finance is slightly stronger. “Notes with deep regret that the goal of developed country parties to mobilize jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation has not yet been met.” The draft urges developed country parties to fully deliver on the USD 100 billion goal urgently and through to 2025 and emphasizes the importance of transparency in the implementation of their pledges. It also urges the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism, multilateral development banks and other financial institutions to further scale up investments in climate action and calls for a continued increase in the scale and effectiveness of climate finance from all sources globally, including grants and other highly concessional forms of finance.
The draft only re-emphasizes the need for scaled-up financial resources to vulnerable countries and encourages relevant multilateral institutions to consider how climate vulnerabilities should be reflected in the provision and mobilization of concessional financial resources and other forms of support, including Special Drawing Rights.
“The text fails to deliver on strong climate action. Only ‘inefficient’ fossil fuel subsidies need to go out, other subsidies can continue. Coal power need not be phased out, only ‘unabated’ coal power needs to be phased out. Basically, the updated text is about ‘we want everyone to be happy’ rather than ‘we want everyone to be ambitious.’ On finance, the only thing developing countries have got is a more aggressive ‘tone’ in the text, rather than anything meaningful. So, it is ‘deeply regretted’ that the 100 bn target is not achieved, and developed parties are ‘urged’ to meet this by 2025. There have been no upping of financial commitments, something that India’s PM emphasized on the first day,” said Vaishnava Chaturvedi, fellow, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). On loss and damage (mechanism to compensate vulnerable countries for loss due to extreme climate events and slow onset events), the draft text decides that the Santiago network on loss and damage will be supported by a technical assistance facility to provide financial support for technical assistance for the implementation of relevant approaches to avert, minimize, and address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change. It also “urges” developed country parties to provide funds for the technical facility and for the operation of the Santiago network.
“The financial facility for loss and damage is very useful. But if progress on it is at the same pace as that of the larger finance debate, the delivery will leave much to be desired,” Chaturvedi said.