COP26 Live updates from extra time

The Glasgow climate talks passed their deadline last night and have spilled into an extra day. A third version of the decision document was published this morning. DrillOrDrop will be reporting throughout today on what happens inside and outside the conference and what it means.


7.22pm: Formal session now underway – last minute new wording on coal

Alok Sharma, the COP26 president, says “this is decision time”. He says Glasgow has finally concluded the arrangements to implement the Paris Agreement.

The decisions promote conclusive climate action, he says, and keeps alive the goal to limit temperature rise to 1.5C.

At the very last minute, India and China propose new language on coal and fossil fuel subsidies. They seek to “phase down”, rather than “phase out” unabated coal.

Switzerland says fossil fuels must be phased out and is disappointed about the last minute change which will make it harder to achieve the temperature limit of 1.5C.

Frans Timmermans, the negotiator for the EU, says would have liked to go further on phasing out coal in the deal. The new wording is a further disappointment. The longer you take to phase out coal, the longer it takes to tackle climate change. Mr Timmermans says this shouldn’t block the deal.

The Marshall Islands and Fiji expressed “profound disappointment” on the new language on coal. The Marshall Islands said it hurts deeply to see a deep spot from the conference dimmed. Fiji says there is no methodology to measure any “phase down” of coal.

Alok Sharma apologies for the way the process has unfolded. In an emotional response, he says:

“It is is deeply disappointing”

But he says “We have to protect the package”, to applause from the delegates. He proposes the revised text is adopted. There is no objection.

7.07pm: Informal talks coming to an end

A five-minute pause has stretched into more than 90 minutes after concerns are raised about the deal from India and the small island nations.

5.34pm: Alok Sharma adjourns plenary

Alok Sharma says he heard concerns and the UK will continue to work with countries on key issue.

There is a fragile green thread that is weaved through the package. Tug too strongly and it will unravel..

I hope we can leave this conference united, having delivered something significant for our people and planet as one.

He acknowledges the text isn’t perfect.

He calls for a five-minute break to re-arrange the podium so that COP26 can be formally closed.

3.24pm: Responses from delegates

Guinea says the text on loss and damage is a long way from the original facility proposed but the country would accept it in the spirit of compromise.. On adaptation funding, he said this needed to be fast-tracked.

China says the text was not perfect but it doesn’t propose to re-open it again. The final outcome should be acceptable to all parties. China is ready to work with all parties to propose constructive outcomes for a balanced and robust text that reflects all views.

Tanzania says two words are missing from the decision text. We calls for the need to support “systematic observation” early warning systems to reduce loss of life, loss and damage. This is critical for Tanzania. This is a unique opportunity for us to take action to reflect systematic observation in the decision and asked for it to be included. This is supported by Mali.

India says compromise remains elusive. Climate justice is key to the Paris Agreement. Referring to fossil fuels, the country says targeting a particular sector is unreasonable. Developing countries are entitled to a share of the carbon budget from the responsible use of fossil fuels. India gives subsidies for the use of fossil fuels to eliminate biomass burning. These concerns must be addressed.

European Union suggests COP26 risks stumbling just before the end of the conference marathon. The EU’s Frans Timmermans says: “I want everyone here to think about one person in your life and ask how they will live if we don’t stick to the 1.5C limit on temperature rise.

For heavens sake don’t kill this moment by asking for this text, delete that.

The text on the table … allows us to act with the urgency that is essential to our survival.

Our children and grandchildren are waiting for us. They will not forgive us if we fail them today.”

Norway supports comments from the EU. Norway says there is something important for everyone in the text.

South Africa says it will not reopen the text. But it raises concerns on the references to coal and fossil fuels and asks for these to be taken into account.

Tuvalu says Glasgow has delivered a strong message of hope and ambition. It must now deliver. The delegate says Glasgow has made a promise to secure the future of his grandchildren. It will be the best Christmas gift he can give them. We have embarked on the Glasgow train of 1.5C. Climate change is real and there is no politics in climate change. Responding to climate change is critical to the survival of our communities. It should not be linked to political survival in the next election.

Antigua and Barbuda, speaking for the Association of Small Island States, says there priorities they cannot go home without. Elements on loss and damage are not in the package, for which it is very disappointed.

Fiji welcomes text on phase out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies. It says it has to make a compromise on loss and damage. The dialogue proposed must produce a financed-based outcome by COP27 next year.

Marshall Islands says the question that must be asked is “Are we ready to leave this COP without the outcome we need?” Many people could not make it to Glasgow. Can we go back to our communities with nothing? For my country, the answer to that is no. I am not willing to leave here with nothing. The text has extremely important elements that do serve the planet, it is not perfect, we have much work to do, but it does represent real progress. That is what we need at this moment. We cannot not afford no progress. There is work to do on loss and damage and we commit to find actual solutions. We expect partners will go with us on that journey. There are elements that acknowledge the urgency of our situation. It moves us to ending fossil fuel subsidies which have no place in a sane economy. It is a step to helping countries like mine which must make physical changes to survive. We cannot give up on the promise this package offers.

Gabon says we have achieved movement on the global goal of adaptation and will begin an ambitious work programme. We have a collective goal on finance. We have ambitious adaptation and mitigation programmes. We have language on a just transition. We have a text that is weaker on carbon markets that we had in Madrid. The real issue for Africa is scaled up predictable funding for adaptation. Africa risks being destabilised by climate change. It is already a matter of life and death. Mitigation is critical but we already face a capacity building problem for climate change that we did not create and that our nature-based solutions help to deal with. We have been asked to trust voluntary commitments. I need some more reassurance from our developed country partners.

Bolivia, speaking on behalf of the Like-Minded Developing Countries group, says it has concerns about some of the text. But with spirit of compromise, it supports the document and looks forward. The net zero target by 2050 is unrealistic. It is the “great escape” of developed countries. We need to push developed countries to achieve real reduction of emissions now. That is the real solution for climate change. Climate change is about the life of people, sustainable development. That is why we need to enforce the commitment to enhance ambition in the developed work, to keep the rights of the developing world alive. We refuse to be trapped in carbon colonialism. There is no appetite in developed countries to address their historical responsibilities, their climate debt that they need to pay to the developing world. We need a moral commitment from the developed world to continue to provide financial support to developing countries.

Switzerland, speaking fort the Environmental Integrity Group, is concerned that the text leaves a lot of countries “more than a little unhappy”. But it says it will adopt the text to keep hold of the big picture of 1.5C temperature rise.

Costa Rica says “We don’t have the perfect package but we have the possible package”. There has been progress and it is a package that we can live with.

Bhutan, speaking on behalf of the Least Developed Countries Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience, adopts the text. The outcome on loss and damage was not what we expected.

Peru, speaking also for Latin American neighbours, urges the COP26 president to keep the 1.5C limit alive.

Australia accepts the text and urges other countries to come together to conclude a successful COP. Carbon market mechanism is critical, as are human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples.

Grenada says the text on the table makes us all uncomfortable. Imperfect as it is, it is sufficiently balanced . What the world expects from us is difficult. We now must move forward today. We cannot resolve all outstanding issues here and now. Glasgow was not the destination but another step forward.

“This is our moment of judgement. Let us adopt what we have.”

United States says this has been a good negotiation. We are seeking the shared goal of keeping the world’s temperature at the level that scientists say we must do. You can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We are excited that this raises ambition on a global basis. It asks everyone to be part of the process. We have scaled up on adaptation and moved forward on loss and damage. We look forward to participating on the dialogue on loss and damage. There is a real commitment to double adaptation finance. We are poised to make a remarkable step here. This is a very important step in the right direction.

Maldives says the progress is not in line with the urgency that is required. What is balanced and pragmatic for other countries will be too late for the Maldives. For us, this is a question of survival. It does not bring hope to our lives. We put our homes on the line while these have other options decide on the timescales. We will go along with this text but we implore to deliver the resources we need in time. We have 98 months to half global emissions. The difference between 1.5C and 2 C is a death sentence for us.

Brazil says it has supported positions on carbon markets that are not reflected in the current text. We arrive at this COP with a mature understanding that negotiation to be concluded. They are not perfect but they are workable. Article 6 on carbon markets allows for a new channel for international finance to flow to developing countries. Brazil accepts the new version of the decision document.

Turkey supports the text and is ready to be constructive. We owe this success to our children.

Philippines has concerns about issues in the decision text. We believe we still have a long way to go. We are hungrier for more action.

Palau says the country’s delegates have been getting messages during COP from neighbours whose homes are being flooded. If we don’t act today we are going to see some very scary things in the future. I don’t want to go home to my three children and said I failed. We are not all the way happy but we have to take action today.

Japan says the COP is about to produce “tremendous results”. We should not leave Glasgow without any conclusions. Japan commits to double its assistance for adaptation. We can make a brave new start.

Iceland says it is disappointed with parts of the text but there is also encouragement and hope. COP26 kept 1.5C alive. The next time we meet, we shall do better and the next time even better.

Chile says it is now too late to make substantive changes in the package. There are a number of items that we don’t like. Important action is needed now, particularly on closing the emissions gap. It is imperfect but our call is to move ahead with its adoption.

Ukraine says it is disappointed by the position it finds itself but accepts the package.

Colombia says all countries made compromises. “Remarkable progress” had been made. We cannot downplay the level of accomplishment achieved in the past two weeks.

Trinidad and Tobago says it cannot return home empty handed after expending political capital by traveling during a pandemic. There are aspects of the text that could be stronger but it is prepared to accept.

Indonesia says the Paris rulebook has been almost finalised. COP26 was the starting point for the Paris Agreement. The text is unbalanced for some countries and wanted its concerns to be registered. There should be no more countries that do not fulfil their commitments, it says.

Iran says it is not satisfied with Articles 6, the rules on carbon markets. It is also not satisfied on the text on fossil fuel subsidies. Iran needs to use fossil fuels for economic development and asks for this paragraph to be changed.

Argentina says many issues still need to be resolved but climate change does not wait. It says it will work for finance for climate change. A spirit of more solidarity is needed.

Cuba is not satisfied with the decision document. We wanted to see a more ambitious document, that clearly reflects the historical responsibility of developed countries in the fight against climate change. There should have been more ambition on emissions reductions and transfer of technology. This is not the document we would want to support with satisfaction. It should have retained the principal of the Paris Agreement . We wanted to see a clear acknowledgement of responsibility from developed countries for climate change and it is not there. But Cuba says it will adopt the document.

New Zealand says talking about climate change has not solved the problem. The text represents the least worst outcome. The worst outcome would be to talk for another year.

Venezuela calls for the section on fossil fuel subsidies to be moved to the preamble. There should not be distinction between subsidies for some sectors. It will support the document but have its concerns put on record.

Kyrgyzstan says it is very vulnerable to climate change and temperature increase. It supports extra funding for adaptation.

Jordan says it is among countries that suffer most from drought caused by climate change. We are need to do a lot for adaptation and deal with loss and damage. It supports the document.

Nicaragua supports the results of COP26, particularly on goals to reduce emissions and increase adaptation funding. They are not perfect results but it is a climate crisis and a collaborative sprit is needed. We wish to insist on work on giving loss and damage the same level as adaption.

Guatemala says it chooses the glass half full. This is in the spirit that gives the world the Paris Agreement. Our region is suffering from climate change impacts but nowhere on earth has been affected. There is still a long way to go. We must reflect on what is needed. We must make a difference.

We must do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

We must do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

Barbados says it is not perfect but it is balanced. On loss and damage innovative work can be advanced quickly to inform our collected position. The text is the basis for an agreement to go forward to strengthen partnerships and the work that is needed.

3.13pm: Alok Sharma proposes bringing CP26 to close

Alok Sharma opens the plenary session. He tells delegates:

“This is the moment of truth for the planet. It’s the moment of truth for our children and grandchildren.

“So much rests on the decisions we take today.”

Mr Sharma says the decision texts are now clean. They were founded on listening and the search for cooperation.

“We have had to balance the views of almost 200 parties.

“We all have to sign up to the same agreement.

Taken together these latest iterations represent the comprehensive, ambitious outcomes you called for in yesterday’s plenary and in the discussions that ran into early this morning.”

He said the text would pursue limits of temperature rise to 1.5C and would ramp up further action.

It set tangible milestones on mitigation, adaptation and finance.

These texts, respond to the unprecedented agenda. We have reached a critical juncture and bring hard work to a successful conclusion.

Do not ask yourself what more you can seek, but ask enough does this package offer enough for all of us. Are the texts a fair balance for all parties with progress on all issues. Please ask yourselves whether these text deliver for all people.

The climate crisis is a global challenge. We will succeed or fail as one.

I propose we will adjourn the plenary to finalise documents.

The world is watching us. I believe that the texts before you deliver on the ambition you sought.

Mr Sharma asked the delegates to bring COP26 to a conclusion. He proposes to close the meeting.

3.07pm: Stocktaking plenary about to begin

2.56pm: COP26 president Alok Sharma in huddle in the main conference room

2.39pm: John Kerry in talks

The US’s climate enjoy, John Kerry, in talks on the floor of the hall

2.22pm: Comments from the COP26 Coalition

 COP26 Coalition spokesperson Asad Rehman said:

“Yesterday, the packed out Conference of the People walked out in protest at COP26. We are frustrated and angry that another COP has further entrenched the injustices causing misery for millions around the world, while shoring up the profits of corporations and rich countries.

“The UK was tasked with the 1.5 COP, but what they’ve delivered is the 2.5c COP. More interested in pruning their feathers with press releases and announcements, they’ve failed to do their job.

“We needed rich countries to step up and finally do their fair share of climate action, while providing compensation for the destruction to lives and livelihoods already being caused by climate change in countries who have done least to create this crisis.

“Instead, the needs of poorer countries have been kicked to the curb, in favour of keeping the hugely over represented fossil fuel lobbyists happy.

“Rich countries have tried to make it look as if they care about climate change – but it is clear that they plan to continue polluting with impunity, sacrificing the poorest as they do so. The oil and gas industry, once again, is off the hook and leaves COP26 laughing all the way to the bank.

“Developing countries, already overwhelmed by the Covid crisis, inequality and a spirally debt crisis, desperately needed huge increases in financial support to deal with the impacts of climate change, and compensation for the damage already done. Yet rich countries flatly refused to put hard cash on the table, offering a pitiful advice helpline instead.

“At COP26, the richest got what they came here for, and the poorest leave with nothing.”

1.43pm: Plenary delayed to 2.30pm

Photo: Livestream

Alok Sharma allows more time for discussions before formal plenary session. It is now due to start at 2.30pm.

There have been huddles of delegates in the plenary hall, particularly around John Kerry of the US and the EU vice-president Franz Timmermans. Both are being pressured to move their positions from around 130 countries calling for action on reparations for climate impacts, known by the shorthand here of loss and damage. 

Mr Sharma says

“It is my sincere intention to close the Cop this afternoon. We will close.”

On the latest text, he says:

“Collectively this is a package that moves things forward for everyone, he says.

1.21pm: Still waiting for start of plenary

12.50pm: Plenary rescheduled for 1pm – all quiet outside

Photo: DrillOrDrop
Photo: DrillOrDrop

12 noon: Delegates gather for another review of negotiations

Photo: Livestream

11.20am Plans for the next COP

11am: Katie White, WWF – “Continuing pressure needed”

“We are now in a better position than we have ever been,  in terms of action commitments, business, people’s commitment, and that’s a good thing.  But we are also a long way from where we need to be.”

Katie White told a news conference that after the Paris COP, the “political anchor” was at 2 degrees of warming, but after Glasgow it was now at 1.5. The difference in achieving this was in the effort needed.

WWF welcomed the link with nature, as the 1.5 target couldn’t be achieved without nature restoration.

Katie White said that the UK Presidency role was going to have to go all the way up to Egypt

“For this next year, it has to be delivery, delivery, delivery.  The UK Presidency role does not end here in Glasgow”

10.15am: Reaction to new text

Chris Stark, CCC – “stronger commitments needed for 2030”

The chief executive of the UK’s Climate Change Committee has cautiously welcomed the latest draft agreement. Chris Stark told the BBC that he felt the conference was now “motoring towards a positive outcome”.

“I have to say I’m feeling quite good about the way its been brought together,” he said.

“Language about fossil fuel financing, language about phasing out coal is still in there. The language on returning to the table to make those 2030 targets stronger next year is still in there.

“Over the course of the next 12 months we will need to see those stronger commitments for 2030. If we do that, there is a path in play to something below 2C, and possibly just hanging on by a thread that 1.5C outcome.”

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International – “US should drop block to public adaptation funding”

Even at this late hour President Biden should send a signal to his team in Glasgow that they shouldn’t block public adaptation funding and finance for loss and damage from richer nations to developing countries threatened by rapidly rising temperatures.” 

Bob Ward, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE – “still pretty good”

“This text is still pretty good and one I hope that all countries can embrace. It continues to request countries to deliver more ambitious pledges next year.”

Tracy Carty, Oxfam – “still not good enough”

“Here in Glasgow, the world’s poorest countries are in danger of being lost from view, but the next few hours can and must change the course we are on. What’s on the table is still not good enough.

“We need the strongest possible outcome to ensure governments come back next year with strengthened emission reduction targets that will keep 1.5C alive. And decisive progress on finance to help countries adapt and for the loss and damage endured.”


9.45am: New plenary review planned for noon

The COP26 president, Alok Sharma, is to chair an informal plenary stock-take at midday

9am: New text published

The latest version of the main decision document has been published. There’s some weakening in the wording on coal phase out. But there no changes to the text on methane cuts, consideration of doubling adaptation finance and revising national emissions reduction plans.

What has changed?

Phase out coal and fossil fuel subsidies (para 36)

  • Additional wording appears to weaken this paragraph: Accelerating the phase on unabated coal power has been replaced with Accelerating efforts towards the phase out of unabated coal power
  • Addition of recognising the need for support towards a just transition
  • Addition of the deployment of and energy efficiency measures

Calls upon Parties to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies, and the adoption of policies, to transition towards low emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures, including accelerating efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, recognizing the need for support towards a just transition

Funds for loss and damage (para 67) -New text on loss and damage reparations:

Decides that the Santiago network will be provided with funds to support technical assistance for the implementation of relevant approaches to avert, minimize, and address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change in developing countries in support of the functions as set out in paragraph 9 of decision -/CMA.3;

It seems that the US and EU are resisting anything stronger than a series of ‘dialogues’.

Power Shift Africa director, Mohamed Adow, said:

“Not much progress particularly on loss and damage financing. Instead of agreeing to a loss and damage finance facility, vulnerable countries are being pushed to settle for a never ending talk shop.”

Baseline for doubling adaptation finance (18)

  • Replaces “from the current levels” with “2019 levels).
  • Replaces “as a step towards achieving the balance” with “in the context of achieving the balance”

Urges developed country Parties to at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing country Parties from 2019 levels by 2025, in the context of achieving a balance between mitigation and adaptation in the provision of scaled-up financial resources, recalling Article 9, paragraph 4, of the Paris Agreement;

Scaling up action and support (para 63)

  • Adds the words as appropriate” after “reiterates the urgency of scaling up action and support”.

Updated synthesis report (para 30)

  • Addition of “at each of its sessions” at the end of a request to the secretary to annually update the report on national-determined contributions

Stocktake on the Paris Agreement (para 75) – addition of the word “comprehensive” to the determination that the stocktake will be inclusive and consistent.

Implementation (para 78) – new contents on decision making

Enhanced transparency framework (para 80) – new content that acknowledges the call from development countries for implementation of the enhanced transparency framework in a timely, adequate and predictable manner

Global Environment Facility (para 81/82) – new content on considering ways to increase financial resources allocated for climate and improved access to capacity-building

Non-party stakeholders (para 88) – addition of local and regional governments to noting the important role of non-party stakeholders in contributing to progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement

What key points stay the same?

Methane reduction (para 37) – continues to invite the parties to consider further actions to reduce  by 2030 non-carbon dioxide emissions including methane

USD100bn climate finance (para 44) – continues to note with deep regret the failure of developed countries to meet the annual goal of USD100bn in financial pledges by 2020.

Meeting the finance deadline (para 46) – continues to urge developed countries to fully deliver on the USD 100 billion goal urgently and through to 2025

Loss and damage (para 66) – continues to welcome the operation of the Santiago Network on averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change

Doubling of adaption funding (para 18) – continues to urge developed countries to at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing country Parties from 2019 levels by 2025

Submission of national plans (para 28) – continues to urge parties that have not yet communicated new or updated nationally determined contributions to do so as soon as possible in advance of the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement

Revising national emissions reduction plans (para 29) – continues to request 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, taking into account different national circumstances.

DrillOrDrop’s reporting from COP26 was made possible by donations from individual readers

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3 replies »

  1. Yet again,Ruth, thanks. You’ve proved a main source of up-to-date information. What would we do without DorD?
    A mixed result to the conference of course. As far as the UK is concerned the criterion of success might prove to be whether we have the backbone to say ‘No!’ to new coal mines, oil fields or gas wells. The industry will try hard to impose these now given the lacunae in the final document. An undoubted plus, amidst very few, is that in one year’s time we and the rest of the world will have to demonstrate real progress towards limiting to 1.5C, not just in new pledges but in what we have achieved by then, together.
    For me, the big negative is that the global North, the industrialised nations, have still to hold up their hands and say to the global South, “Yes, we are where we are in terms of development because we have kept you where you are. We owe our progress and in many cases our existence to you. We therefore take on responsibility for enabling you to do what must be done as well as the costs thereof, cancelling those debts we have burdened you with, shouldering with you the task of holding temperature rise to 1.5C.” A big negative which was of course foreseeable now that our moral compass is that of the ff industry or other industries which have exploited them.
    Another positive to my mind is the integrity and nobility of Alok Sharma, a leader I had seriously misjudged, a giant amongst his Party confrères.

  2. Well, maybe the biggest positive is that judgement amongst some is so swift and so inaccurate, and that events then show that.

    Now for the reality-the cost of living.

    It will rapidly become obvious that the someone else is a mythical beast, and it is everyone who will pay (not Governments)-quite a lot-to enjoy what has been decided. At the very least, that nasty green washing fossil fuel industry will be expected to put their hands in their pockets to avoid all those someone elses coughing up more. They will, if the encouragement is there. They won’t if it is not.

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