Countries are being urged by a draft agreement at the COP26 Glasgow climate summit to increase their carbon-cutting targets before 2022. It also calls for long-term strategies to reach net-zero by next year. While some critics have stated that the draft pact is too limited, others have welcomed its focus on the 1.5C target. The document may be just seven pages long but it attempts to steer COP26 towards a series of significant steps that will prevent global temperature rises going above 1.5C this century. Perhaps the most important part of that is getting countries to improve their carbon-cutting plans.
To that end, this draft decision urges 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”.
It will be interesting to see how countries such as China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia respond to this request to put new plans on the table by the end of next year.There is some comfort for developing countries to see that their financial needs are recognised as countries are asked to mobilise climate finance “beyond $100bn a year” and the draft welcomes steps to put in place a much larger, though as yet unspecified, the figure for support from 2025.
Loss and damage, an issue of key importance to the developing world, is included in the draft with encouragement to richer countries to scale up their action and support including finance for poorer nations. The document also calls on countries to accelerate the phase-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels – but has no firm dates or targets on this issue. Campaigners will be happy to see the inclusion of the document and hope that it survives into the final text. The draft asks the UN secretary-general to convene world leaders to discuss the progress of efforts towards achieving the 2030 target.
David Waskow from the World Resources Institute said that there would be opposition to new plans being presented next year, but that it would come from different countries. He said that there have been parties who have been pushing back on the question of revisiting and strengthening targets. The Russians and Saudis have been very clear about this, while others have been more blunt. “The other countries who are pushing back are many of the vulnerable countries, who don’t comprise that large percentage of global emissions often or have very limited resources to develop nationally-determined contributions and then to implement them. “Loss of and damage, a key issue for the developing world, was included in the draft. This encourages richer countries to increase their support for the poorer countries, but they are not able to set targets or date the end of coal subsidies. “This draft agreement is not a plan for solving the climate crisis. It’s an agreement we’ll all cross out our fingers and hope for best,” Jennifer Morgan from Greenpeace International said. “We must pull out all the stops to ensure 1.5C is within our reach. “Research from the summit on Tuesday showed that countries’ short-term plans would see a rise in temperature of 2.4C. Scientists have stated that their short-term plans for 2030 do not have enough strength to limit climate change. Boris Johnson COP26