COP26 latest news LIVE: New draft deal appears to water down curb on fossil fuels

·24-min read
COP26 latest news LIVE: New draft deal appears to water down curb on fossil fuels

A new draft of the deal that could be agreed at the Glasgow COP26 climate talks appears to have watered down its push to curb fossil fuels.

The first draft of the “cover decision” for the overarching agreement at the summit called for countries “to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”.

The inclusion of a reference to fossil fuels was a first for a UN decision document of this type, but was expected to get fierce pushback from some countries.

Meanwhile, more protests are expected on the last day of negotiations with activists asking world leaders to choose between fossil fuels and a liveable planet.

Follow live updates below

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Coal and fossil fuel subsidy phase-out call survives into new Cop26 draft text

Push to hammer out deal at Cop26 as talks spill over into extra time

COP26 runs into overtime with talks expected into the weekend

18:29 , Tammy Hughes

The curtain was due to fall on COP26 at 6pm but talks have overrun and look likely to go on into the weekend.

This concludes the Standard’s blog of the summit today. Look on our website and social channel for more updates tonight and tomorrow.

COP26 runs into overtime with talks expected into the weekend

18:29 , Tammy Hughes

The curtain was due to fall on COP26 at 6pm but talks have overrun and look likely to go on into the weekend.

This concludes the Standard’s blog of the summit today. Look on our website and social channel for more updates tonight and tomorrow.

Explained: Where do Russia and Canada stand on the final deal?

18:20 , Daniel Keane

Russia seemingly signalled no major concerns with the cover agreement, and urged other countries not to “drag down” the negotiations, saying the talks must show “specific tangible results” to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Russian envoy said: “We need to show a clear signal on the further steps we are intending to undertake jointly to further climate agenda.”

But he called for further detail on the mechanism to set up carbon trading between countries - a key element of the Paris Agreement that successive Cops have failed to deliver upon.

Canada, a country which relies heavily on extractive industries like logging and oil, acknowledged that it had not always been “exemplary” in past climate talks.

The Canadian envoy said this attitude was changing, but said its plans were still “not enough”.

Calling for the wording of the text to be strengthened, the representative said: “In essence my country is the very incarnation of why we need strong language in this text.”

But he welcomed the language supporting the rights of indigenous peoples “and the inclusion of their traditional knowledge in the fight of climate change”.

Sharma: critical issues ‘outstanding’ in talks

17:55 , Daniel Keane

COP26 president Alok Sharma has said that critical issues remain “outstanding” as countries seek to put the final touches to an agreement.

He told reporters: ““I think you’ve heard in the room, people do want an outcome.

“But there are still some critical issues that are outstanding. There’s a lot of hard work to do.”

Asked about fossil fuels being in the text, he said: “I will get back to the negotiation rooms. We’re looking for a high ambition outcome.

“As new texts emerge, you’ll get to see them.”

‘I’ve brought my sleeping bag’, says minister

17:32 , Daniel Keane

Simon Stiell, Grenada’s climate change minister, says he’s prepared for negotiations to go late into the night.

He told Sky News: “The agreement keeps 1.5C alive. If there are attempts to weaken this, it could be an issue.

“All parties need to step up and continue to lean forward. This is about all of us.

Asked if talks would wrap up by 6pm, he said: “I have my sleeping bag.”

‘Climate change is bigger than politics’, says EU vice-president

17:11 , Daniel Keane

EU vice-president Frans Timmermans has hinted at providing more funding in order to get a deal over the line at the COP26 summit.

He told delegates: “An hour ago, my son Mark sent me a picture of my grandson, Kees, who is one year old. Kees will be 31 when we’re in 2050, and it’s quite a thought to understand that if we succeed, he’ll be living in a world that’s liveable. He’ll be living in an economy that is clean, with air that is clean, at peace with his environment.

“If we fail, and I mean fail now within the next couple of years, he will fight with other human beings for water and food.

“That’s the stark reality we face. So 1.5C is about avoiding a future for our children and grandchildren that is unliveable.

“I might not reach 2050, probably won’t. But he will be there as a young man, and I want him to live a peaceful prosperous life, like I want it for everybody’s children and grandchildren in this room. This is personal. This is not about politics.”

‘We risk blowing it’, says Boris

16:52 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has said the world risks “blowing it” as nations prepare a final draft agreement at the COP26 summit.

Speaking some 435 miles away during a visit to a vaccination centre in Sidcup, the prime minister said: “What everybody needs to do now is recognise that we really are in the final furlong, and it’s in the final furlong where the horses change places.

“What needs to happen now is that people need to understand that the deal that’s on the table - the so-called cover decision - that is the text.

“We either find a way of agreeing it or I’m afraid we risk blowing it. That’s that’s the reality.”

China ‘willing to support draft text'

16:30 , Daniel Keane

The country’s Cop26 representative called for a science and rules-based agreement with “urgency” and strengthening in areas of mitigation, adaptation and finance.

He said: “We still see a lack of specific and detailed arrangements and substantial content on the implementation means for adaptation and finance, particularly on global adaptation goals and how to deliver on the 100 billion US dollars climate finance that should be further strengthened.”

China has indicated it would be willing to support a Cop26 agreement but expressed disappointment about a lack of details on how to achieve the 100 billion dollar climate finance pledge for poorer nations.

‘We have been criminalised by our government’, says protester

16:14 , Daniel Keane

Protesters have joined a rally held by Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion and other groups at the gates on Finnieston Street.

One of those speaking at the People’s Plenary was Ta’Kaiya Blaney, an indigenous activist from Canada.

She said: “Myself and others have been criminalised by our government.

“I watched (Canadian prime minister) Justin Trudeau pose for pictures with indigenous land defenders, meanwhile, land defenders are taken as political prisoners back home.”

Mary Church, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the meeting was to express “deep frustration” with the climate summit.

She said: “We are hurtling ever closer to reaching the critical 1.5C threshold.

“Climate change already impacts and threatens billions of lives.”

Hundreds march through COP26 venue in protest at ‘lack of progress'

15:57 , Daniel Keane

Hundreds of activists from around the world have marched through the Cop26 venue in Glasgow, leaving a gathering in one of the main halls to join a demonstration outside.

The marchers sang and chanted as they made their way through the summit’s blue zone, with a group of indigenous activists leading the procession.

They carried banners and red ribbons to represent the red lines crossed by negotiators.

Two people were led away by police after they tried to scale the fence outside the venue.

Watch: Nicola Sturgeon says Boris Johnson should return to COP26

15:45 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson: We’ve been shifting heaven and earth to get agreement

15:30 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson has said the UK has been shifting heaven and earth to get delegates to see the importance of an agreement.

The Prime Minister said we won’t clinch it all at Cop26 but we should start, according to Reuters news agency.

He said this is the moment, and negotiating teams should agree a cover decision.

China: The draft text ‘had some improvements’

15:26 , Elly Blake

China has said the current text should “further strengthen” the parts on adaptation, finance, technical and capacity building.

A representative for the country said the deal should “strike a balance” on implementation talks for mitigation, adaptation and finance.

He said China also thinks the text should adhere to the goals, principles and mandates of the Paris Agreement.

Protests under way as Cop26 enters its last day

15:09 , Elly Blake

As delegates continue negotiations inside the SEC venue in Glasgow, activists have been protesting outside the conference, on what is scheduled to be the last day of talks.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Police presence outside Cop26 venue as protestors try to scale perimeter fence

15:01 , Elly Blake

Police Scotland have detained an activist at demonstration outside the SEC venue in Glasgow.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Another protestor was apprehended by police officers while trying to scale the perimeter fence into the Cop26 climate summit.

 (PA)
(PA)

Crowds have gathered outside the venue as Cop26 talks enter their last scheduled day.

US climate envoy: The language can’t weaken on mitigation

14:23 , Elly Blake

US climate envoy John Kerry has said there is a “spirit of determination here to get this done and to get it done well”.

He told delegates 20 countries equal 80 per cent of the emissions and “they do bear the greatest responsibility”.

He said world leaders must live up to the expectations of young people, who don’t want COP just to be a “place of words” – as it has to be a “place of action” in the next few hours.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Mr Kerry added the US strongly supports the language on adaptation in the draft decision.

On mitigation, he said the US believes “very deeply” it’s “imperative” the text be preserved – it “cannot get weaker, it cannot go backwards from here”.

1.5 target is a ‘matter of life or death’ for Africa

14:18 , Elly Blake

A representative for Kenya has said 1.5C is a “matter of life or death” for the continent, which climate change has had a devastating effect on.

“We bleed when it rains, we cry when it doesn’t rain,” he said, alluding to the extreme weather caused by climate change.

“1.5 is not a statistic - it is a matter of life or death.”

For example, he said two million Kenyans are facing starvation due to crop failures caused by drought.

He added that African countries have done their bit “within the limited resources that is within their means”.

Saudi Arabia: Keeping global warming limit to 1.5C a ‘no brainer’

14:11 , Elly Blake

The Cop26 representative for Saudi Arabia said the target of keeping global temperature increases to 1.5C was a “no brainer”.

But he warned against pushing for an agreement that would “skew the balance that we struck in the Paris Agreement”.

He said: “I think if we all conduct ourselves and hold positions faithful to the Paris Agreement, we’ll get a good decision out of Glasgow.

“I’m not going to go into the details of the current decision, but the one overarching discussion we are hearing is the ambition for keeping the 1.5C alive.

“This is a no brainer. We all know that in the room. Nobody disagrees in the room.

“The question is how we’re going to do that. On what grounds we are going to do that?”

‘We are holding onto 1.5C by our fingernails’, says Grenada

14:09 , Elly Blake

A minister for Grenada has said the new Cop26 draft deal is “the bare minimum” that world leaders should be committing to.

Simon Stiell, climate resilience minister for Grenada, a small Caribbean island that is highly vulnerable to climate change, said: “This text is the bare minimum. The next few hours are going to determine the new dawn.

“If the text withstands the battering it may get, we are holding onto 1.5C by our fingernails.”

EU climate policy chief: Everyone needs to take responsibility

13:49 , Elly Blake

EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said the major emitters need to “reduce their emissions so we can we keep 1.5C alive” and this must be “at the heart of our conclusions today.”

Everyone needs to take their responsibility, Mr Timmermans said, adding the EU is “doing our part”, with targets written into law.

Cop26 must send a clear signal about commitment to halt fossil fuel subsidies and finally turn the page on coal.

Norway says there must be ‘no doubt’ about 1.5C target in final text

13:48 , Elly Blake

A spokesperson for Norway says the final text needs to be strong, ambitious and clear - it must not be “too long and complicated”.

There must be “no doubt that it leaves a strong impression we sincerely aim to keep 1.5C alive”.

There has to be “a clear ambition level about what to do about it”, he added.

Delegates from around the world speak about draft deal

13:39 , Elly Blake

The Canadian Cop26 delegation has called for nations to agree “strong language” backing a 1.5C target.

A spokesman said: “We need to support a forceful text on keeping 1.5C alive because it’s our best collective effort.”

He added: “I would like to say that Canada strongly support the language on the rights of indigenous peoples and the inclusion of their traditional knowledge in the fight against climate change, as well as the protection of human rights as part of this text.”

A South Korean delegate at the Cop26 climate summit said she was “pretty confident” an agreement can be reached by the end of the day.

And a representative from Peru also called for plans to end the use of fossil fuels.

She said: “The text of the Cop26 decisions is improved, but still not perfect.

“1.5C requires a full phaseout of coal and fossil fuel subsidies, to be able to know we are on the right track.”

Russia: Other countries should not ‘drag down’ negotiations

13:33 , Elly Blake

Russia has urged other countries not to “drag down” negotiations in an attempt to reach an agreement at Cop26 in Glasgow.

A Russian Federation spokesman said: “No progress today might slow down climate action.

“That is why all of us today will have to make certain concessions and not to drag out the discussion around the key issues in the negotiation process.”

He added: “We’d like to express our concern that there was no consensus on the baseline limits to transfer and use of units and overall mitigation of global emissions.”

‘We must rise to the occasion’ says Alok Sharma in final hours of Cop26

13:32 , Elly Blake

Cop26 president Alok Sharma has urged countries to achieve agreement and identify issues that require “urgent collective attention”.

Alok Sharma, Cop26 president, on the final day of the UN climate summit (AP)
Alok Sharma, Cop26 president, on the final day of the UN climate summit (AP)

Addressing the climate summit on Friday afternoon, Mr Sharma said: “This is our collective moment in history, this is our chance to forge a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous world.

“This is our time to deliver on the high ambition set by our leaders at the start of this summit.

“We must rise to the occasion.”

More activists gathering outside COP26 as conference enters final hours

13:06 , Barney Davis

The activists at the People’s Plenary are due to march from within the blue zone to meet other groups, who are gathering outside.

A rally is expected to take place in Finnieston Street outside the venue in the afternoon.

One of those speaking at the People’s Plenary was Ta’Kaiya Blaney, an indigenous activist from Canada.

She said: “Myself and others have been criminalised by our government.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

“I watched (prime minister) Justin Trudeau pose for pictures with indigenous land defenders, meanwhile land defenders are taken as political prisoners back home.”

Mary Church, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the meeting was to express “deep frustration” with the climate summit.

She said: “We are hurtling ever closer to reaching the critical 1.5C threshold.

“Climate change already impacts and threatens billions of lives.”

Scottish Ballet to review partnership with BP after protest

13:03 , Barney Davis

In a win for campaigners, Scottish Ballet has said they will review their partnership with BP just hours after a dancer staged a protest outside their theatre.

The ballet company said on Twitter they needed sponsors who could help them achieve their goal of turning carbon neutral by 2030.

Eco warriors stage a mass walkout from COP26 venue

12:42 , Barney Davis

Activists demonstrating inside the venue of the COP26 have staged a mass walkout at the lack of progress world leaders have made in Glasgow.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Others chanted “We are unstoppable, another world is possible” as they stormed out of the venue to join bigger protests outside.

Ballet dancer draws attention to BP sponsorship

12:36 , Barney Davis

Climate activists with the anti-oil protest group BP or Not BP have staged a mini-arts festival outside the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, to challenge BP’s sponsorship of Scottish Ballet.

What’s in the new Cop26 draft deal?

11:55 , Elly Blake

A new draft of the deal that could be agreed at the Cop26 climate talks has weakened language on fossil fuels – but has kept them in the text.

There is also more on finance for poorer countries to adapt with climate change and a request for all nations to strengthen their plans for cutting emissions up to 2030 by the end of next year.

Find out more here.

11:39 , Elly Blake

Climate justice activists have gathered at the gates of the Cop26 climate summit on the final day of negotiations.

The are asking world leaders: “Are you with us or with fossil fuels?”

 (PA)
(PA)

It comes amid anger over what appears to be a watering down in the new Cop26 draft text over curbs on fossil fuels.

The first draft of the “cover decision” called for countries “to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”.

In a new draft produced on Friday morning, that has changed to calling on countries to accelerate the shift to clean energy systems, “including by... accelerating the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”.

The legacy of Cop26

11:30 , Elly Blake

As Cop26 enters its final day of negotiations, many will now be wondering what the legacy of the last two weeks shall be.

After a fortnight of climate talks, protests, keynote speeches and fringe events - what has the outcome of Cop26 been?

And what can we do as individuals to live greener futures?

Climate activists deflate tyres of around 60 ‘gas-guzzling luxury cars’

10:29 , Elly Blake

Campaign group Tyred of SUVS has said it had targeted around 60 4x4s in the city’s affluent West End.

Activists placed “climate violation” flyers on the windscreens stating: “Your SUV contributes to the second biggest cause of carbon emissions rises in the last decade.

“This is why we have disarmed your car by deflating one or more of its tyres.”

Tyred of SUVs said that no tyres were damaged in the action.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

‘Just hours left to negotiate a better deal’ says Oxfam campaigners

10:25 , Elly Blake

Cop26 has seen a number of protests take place in Glasgow and the last day of the UN climate conference is no different.

 (AP)
(AP)
 (PA)
(PA)

Campaigners from the charity Oxfam have dressed up as world leaders including, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden, to highlight what they say is “ineffective fire-fighting” against climate change.

The group said there are just hours left to negotiate a better deal and want to see a significant increase in financial support to countries and communities on the frontline of the climate crisis to adapt and address loss and damage.

Gabriela Bucher, Oxfam International Executive Director said: “Years from now, how do today’s biggest emitters want to be remembered?

“As those who let arsonists torch the planet? Or as those who led us to a world of safety and survival?

“The next few hours can and must change that.

“We need an outcome that commits countries to coming back next year with stronger emission reduction targets to keep 1.5 degrees alive.

“It is not good enough to just acknowledge loss and damage, it’s overdue and has to be addressed.”

‘It looks like rich countries are preparing their escape hatch’ - Friends of the Earth

10:19 , Elly Blake

Friends of the Earth has expressed concern about language used in the new Cop26 draft deal over fossil fuel subsidies.

The group said the latest drat agreement, released by the summit chair on Friday morning, “speaks about removing inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, as if efficient ones are acceptable”.

Rachel Kennerley, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: “Back in 2009 the G8 were talking about this, and the UK clearly failed at delivering it.

“This summit has recycled announcements to much fanfare that weren’t done the first time so there is still a worrying gap between existing commitments and the deeper cuts needed to get to the key COP goal of 1.5 °C.”

The group also said that on the final day of climate negotiations world leaders should be “accepting reponsbility” and talking about how to “ramp up climate finance”.

“But instead, it looks like rich countries are preparing their escape hatch,” Ms Kennerley continued.

WaterAid: World leaders letting down millions of people who don’t have luxury of time

10:07 , Elly Blake

WaterAid has criticised the current draft agreement which they say “sadly lacks decisive language”.

The global charity said that, while positive steps have been taken, the call to support poorer countries lacks a “clear, sufficient financial pledge”.

They said that the consequences of this would have a real-world impact on vulnerable communities who “do not have the luxury of time”.

Chief Executive of WaterAid, Tim Wainwright said: “Cop26 was an opportunity for rich countries to start repay their deadly climate debt to poorer nations, but they have not yet delivered on that.”

“Investment in essential services such as climate-resilient water systems must be prioritised to help those on the frontline of the crisis adapt to the unavoidable consequences climate change is having on them today.”

'Problem that remains in the text is ambiguity', says Ed Miliband

09:47 , Elly Blake

Ed Miliband has said he welcomed the draft text strengthening in some areas but warned there still remained "ambiguity".

Ed Miliband has argued strengthening still needed in some areas of new Cop26 draft text (PA Wire)
Ed Miliband has argued strengthening still needed in some areas of new Cop26 draft text (PA Wire)

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Shadow Energy Secretary said: “The problem that remains for me in the text is there is ambiguity… the Paris goals were to keep global warming to well below 2C and make efforts to keep it to 1.5C, and there is ambiguity in the text about whether we are coming back for the former goal or the latter goal.

“So that needs strengthening if at all possible.”

Mr Miliband added that the 1.5C target is “in mortal peril, and we’re going to have to do some things very differently in the next 12 months from the previous two years if we’re going to change things”.

‘Not the breakthrough deal people hoped for,’ says Greenpeace

09:36 , Elly Blake

Greenpeace has said the new draft Cop26 text published on Friday morning "could be better" and "should be better".

The document has been criticised after it appeared to weaken language around curbs on fossil fuels.

The latest draft proposal from the Cop26 chair calls on countries to accelerate “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.”

A previous version on Wednesday had called on countries to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuel.”

Commentators say the addition of “inefficient” could help countries that want to retain some fuel subsidies for the poor, while removing subsidies for major fossil fuel interests.

Reacting to the new draft deal, Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said: “It could be better, it should be better, and we have one day left to make it a lot, lot better.

"Right now the fingerprints of fossil fuel interests are still on the text and this is not the breakthrough deal that people hoped for in Glasgow.

“The key line on phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies has been critically weakened, but it’s still there and needs to be strengthened again before this summit closes.

"That’s going to be a big tussle and one we need to win."

Protest inside venue calls on world leaders to 'keep 1.5C alive’

08:42 , Elly Blake

Protestors wearing animal masks have staged a small demonstration inside the SEC venue on the final day of Cop26.

 (AP)
(AP)

The group are calling on world leaders to keep “1.5C within reach”.

Nicola Sturgeon ‘wouldn’t bet lots of money’ on Cop26 negotiations finishing on Friday

08:17 , Elly Blake

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she "wouldn't bet lots of money on" Cop26 negotiations ending by 6pm on Friday.

She said: "I hope we see progress today, I certainly hope finishing at 6pm tonight would be possible.

“Equally, I would not be surprised to know that it was going into tomorrow.”

Ms Sturgeon stressed that it is "not unusual" for climate talks to overrun and "nobody should read anything particular into that if it does happen".

When asked if Boris Johnson should return to Glasgow to see the agreement get across the line she said: "If that is what it takes, then yes".

Nicola Sturgeon has called upon Boris Johnson to return to Glasgow (PA Wire)
Nicola Sturgeon has called upon Boris Johnson to return to Glasgow (PA Wire)

The First Minister was speaking on Sky News.

Ms Sturgeon defended the organisation of the climate summit in Glasgow, which has attracted criticism for inclusion and accessibility issues, as well as pictures of long queues outside the venue.

She said: “I think it has been well organised but what matters most, of course, is the political outcome of it.”

Ms Sturgeon also thought it was positive a reference to ending subsidies to fossil fuels was still included in the recently published Cop26 agreement.

She told Kay Burley that "everyone thought that may be a casualty" between drafts.

New draft deal appears to have been watered down on fossil fuels

08:02 , Elly Blake

A new draft of the deal that could be agreed at the Glasgow Cop26 climate talks appears to have watered down its push to curb fossil fuels.

The first draft of the “cover decision” called for countries “to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”.

In a new draft produced on Friday morning, that has changed to calling on countries to accelerate the shift to clean energy systems, “including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation and accelerating the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”.

The inclusion of a reference to fossil fuels was a first for a UN decision document of this type, but was expected to get fierce pushback from some countries.

Draft Cop26 agreement published

07:43 , Elly Blake

Alok Sharma has published the draft proposal of the Cop26 agreement, running into 46 pages.

All 197 Parties involved with the UN climate summit will need to sign and agree on the exact wording of the pact.

More details of what is in the document will be announced soon.

Monumental challenge ahead, but one we have to rise to - Cop26 president

07:31 , Elly Blake

As the UN climate summit enters its final scheduled day, Cop26 president Alok Sharma has warned of a “monumental challenge ahead of us”.

Cop26 President Alok Sharma said the summit will end today (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Cop26 President Alok Sharma said the summit will end today (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

But Mr Sharma stressed: “Collectively we have no choice but to rise to that challenge and strain every sinew to achieve a timely outcome that we can all be proud of.

“Because ultimately, this outcome, whatever it is, will belong to all of us.”

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