The UN-led COP26 climate conference in Glasgow has not ended, although the signing of the agreement was expected on Friday. The deliberations will last at least until Saturday afternoon. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he continued to believe that “the ambitious result is in sight” despite the dispute over the fossil fuel abandonment clauses.
COP26 chairman Alok Sharma informed delegates that a new draft final document would be prepared overnight and would be available at 8am on Saturday. On Saturday morning, there will be a short plenary meeting where he will present the documents, share his assessment of the state of the negotiations and outline the proposed next steps.
As he said, he envisages a formal plenary in the afternoon where final decisions would be adopted and then COP26 would end. The approval of the nearly 200 conference countries is required for the adoption of the final document.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that he still believes “an ambitious result is in sight” despite a dispute over the fossil fuel phasing out clause. He also said that the United Kingdom, as the host of COP26, is moving “heaven and earth” to make everyone see how important it is to have an agreement that will keep the possibility of stopping global warming at no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In the Paris agreement of 2015, countries pledged to limit the temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees C and try to limit it to 1.5 degrees C. Scientists warn that stopping the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C requires limiting greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and by mid-century to achieve zero net emissions. However, the agreements reached at COP26 are not enough to get any closer to this goal.
No agreement at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow
The call in the first draft agreement to “accelerate the phase-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels” – which is crucial to ensure that the temperature increase does not exceed 1.5 degrees C – was caused by resistance from, among others, Saudi Arabia and China weakened.
The second draft, published on Friday morning, talks about a gradual withdrawal from “continuation” of coal energy and “ineffective” subsidies for fossil fuels.
In addition, China and Saudi Arabia are opposed to proposals that all countries should submit more ambitious national emission reduction plans for the period up to 2030 by the end of next year.
Meanwhile, many developing countries have called for more funding to help them develop clean energy and mitigate the effects of climate change. The new draft mentions 2025 as the date by which developed countries would double financial aid to poor countries.
Main photo source: ROBERT PERRY / PAP / EPA