Cop26: Fossil fuel line survives into third draft of Glasgow agreement as talks go into extra time

·3-min read
Cop26: Fossil fuel line survives into third draft of Glasgow agreement as talks go into extra time

A call to take action on fossil fuels has survived into the third draft of the Cop26 outcome, the clearest indication yet of what is likely to feature in the final deal from the Glasgow summit.

The latest version of the Cop26 agreement calls on countries to accelerate “efforts towards” phasing out unabated coal power and “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, a slight softening of the language used in the second draft.

The draft texts from Glasgow are the first UN climate papers to make a specific mention of fossil fuels.

But there are still fears that any mention of fossil fuels could be wiped from the final Cop26 texts as summit negotiations carry on through Saturday. Countries with large coal, oil and gas interests, such as Australia and Saudi Arabia, are reportedly pushing back on efforts to call out fossil fuels.

Cop26 talks were scheduled to finish on 6pm Friday, but negotiations are now expected to carry on until at least Saturday afternoon, with a run into Sunday also possible.

The latest draft is the first to recognise “the need for support towards a just transition” for countries shifting away from using fossil fuels.

This new language suggests that there is an acknowledgement that wealthier nations will need to provide support to poorer ones as they transition away from using fossil fuels.

The latest draft also retains passages that could be key to keeping alive efforts of limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the aspiration of the Paris Agreement.

It requests that countries “revisit and strengthen” their climate pledges for 2030 by the end of next year to ensure they are in line with the Paris goals.

Analysis published last week found that countries’ current 2030 targets would put the world on course for around 2.4C of global heating by the end of century.

Without further action, global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 will be twice as high as what would be needed to meet the 1.5C aspiration, the analysis added.

Despite progress on key elements, there are still concerns that the latest text does not go far enough on the need for wealthy nations to provide finance to developing countries grappling with the effects of global heating.

Earlier in the week, a large coalition of developing countries and island states came forward with a plan for a “Glasgow financial facility for loss and damage”. If created, this would be the first ever pot of money set aside specifically to help communities around the world that have been devastated by climate impacts such as rising seas and deadly droughts.

But as negotiations wore on, the US and EU pushed back strongly against the idea, and the text that emerged on Saturday morning contained no reference to the facility at all.

Mohamed Adow, a climate justice advocate and director of the energy and climate think tank Power Shift Africa, on Saturday said vulnerable countries “couldn’t afford” to leave Glasgow with “this current version of the text”.

“Whether Glasgow delivers a proper finance facility is how this summit will be judged by the world’s most vulnerable countries,” he said.

“The latest text from Cop26 is a slap in the face for those who are already dealing with the devastating impacts of the climate crisis,” said Teresa Anderson, climate policy coordinator for ActionAid International.

“The vast majority of the world’s countries are calling for a new funding facility for loss and damage yet their voices have been ignored, again.”

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