COP26: Countries split over key emissions text in climate agreement

A group of more than 20 countries is pushing to remove the entire section of the draft COP26 climate agreement on reducing emissions.

Protest outside the COP26 compound. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The mitigation text includes a commitment to pursue efforts to limit world temperature increases to 1.5C, a central goal of COP26.

It also has a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 relative to 2019 levels and calls on countries to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels.

These are critical parts of the draft text for many vulnerable nations and environmental groups who point to emissions from burning fossil fuels as a leading cause of climate change.

But Diego Pacheco, for the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), representing 22 countries, including China, India and Saudi Arabia, said today:

“We requested to the Presidency to remove completely that section on mitigation because they are trying to shift the responsibilities from the developed world to the developing world.”

He said developed countries had a greater historical responsibility for climate change but they were asking developing nationals to meet the same deadlines on emissions reduction.

This afternoon, the UN’s lead negotiator, Archie Young, said there were “very strongly divergent views on a number of elements”.

“There is not yet at this conference a consensus that we do need to collectively ramp up our ambition.”

Reference to fossil fuels has never until now appeared in a COP agreement.,

The EU climate policy chief, Frans Timmermans, said today the text on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies must stay in the final version. He said:

“Removing it would be an extremely, extremely bad signal”.

the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, said:

“promises ring hollow when the fossil fuels industry still receives trillions in subsidies.”

Mr Guterres told the AP news agency that COP26’s aim to limit temperature rise to 1.5C was “on life support”.

He said the COP26 summit would probably not see governments make pledges to cut greenhouses gas by enough to keep 1.5C in sight. But he said:

“Every country, every city, every company, every financial institution must radically, credibly and verifiably reduce their emissions and decarbonise their portfolios starting now”.

Earlier today, the COP26 president, Alok Sharma, said “time is running out” on an agreement. He said:

“We still have a monumental challenge ahead of us but collectively we have no choice but to rise to that challenge and strain every sinew to achieve a timely outcome.”

Also today, a new grouping pledged to phase out oil and gas. See DrillOrDrop report

2 replies »

  1. Why are these positions irreconcilable? Clearly any attempt “to shift the responsibilities from the developed world to the developing world” must be decisively resisted, while it is difficult to see that it is therefore impossible both to accept Timmermann’s and Guterres’ insistance on inclusion of a key emissions text incorporating a clear statement of blame and responsibility, a commitment to immediate and rapid reduction of emissions, and an undertaking to provide substantial compensatory payments to developing countries and a lifting of their debts, in order to enable them to meet their obligations as defined in the document. The only things preventing this are the courage we are right to expect in our leaders, and the will.

    • Quite so Iaith1720. Once again the lack of any determined action or intention for change in the governments of the “developed world”, was presumed to be able to be offload onto the “developing world”, which would let the developed nations off the short term hook.

      Even the terminology is far too vague, developed and developing “worlds”? The word “world” is all very vague so as to disguise what a “world” actually describes?

      world (n.)
      Old English woruld, worold “human existence, the affairs of life,” also “a long period of time,” also “the human race, mankind, humanity,” a word peculiar to Germanic languages (cognates: Old Saxon werold, Old Frisian warld, Dutch wereld, Old Norse verold, Old High German weralt, German Welt), with a literal sense of “age of man,” from Proto-Germanic *weraldi-, a compound of *wer “man” (Old English wer, still in werewolf; see virile) + *ald “age” (from PIE root *al- (2) “to grow, nourish”).

      I see no distinction between developed or developing “worlds” all are one world. Since when has there been a separation of “worlds”, one from the other?

      The distinction between “developed” and “developing” is also debatable, since any country that has an ongoing progress, meaning betterment for all life, not just a greedy corrupt few humans, is by definition “developing”. The term “developed” would indicate that there is no further progress available, required or wanted. That is stagnation, and is just about as far from the truth as its possible to get.

      Whenever I see these these almost meaningless terminology separations and distinctions that are so vague as to be subject to any and all legal interpretation, and are deliberately incorporated into a potentially legal agreement.

      I get the notion that its a result of the input by elements of bureaucratic nonsense and is not serious intended by definition. The interference in language definitions seeking to weaken agreements to the point of unenforceable application that could be thrown out or overruled by any court of law or government decree or policy.

      No. The document must be rewritten in plain English without evasions of terminologies, distinctions that are vague and unenforceable. All peoples living on Earth, live in the “real world”, and are indivisible and inextricable wherever they be. The climate damage, the pollution and ecocide events knows no boundaries. What happens here happens everywhere and vise-versa. Not to be subject to some bureaucratic excuse for separation by syllable.

      [Typos corrected at poster’s request]

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