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