COP26 | Negotiators brainstorm over draft

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COP27 and COP28 to be held in Egypt and UAE respectively.

The 2022 edition of the Conference of Parties, or the 27th COP, will take place at at Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt and the 28th edition in 2023 will be held in the United Arab Emirates, the Council decided even as a final agreement to conclude COP26 proved elusive until the time of going to press.

The ongoing COP26 in Glasgow is expected to formally conclude on Friday evening, Glasgow time. However, negotiators from 200 countries continued to be in discussions polishing a draft agreement that has been ready since Wednesday. For a final agreement, all countries have to agree to every word in the text agreement, that has been drafted by the team of COP President Alok Sharma. This text is a synthesis of all the discussions since November 1 when COP26 began.

Also read: U.N. chief says global warming goal on ‘life support’

The COP26 will not unveil a treaty like in 2015 when the Paris Agreement came into being but is expected to guide implementation of the Paris Agreement, that exhorted countries to take steps to keep temperatures from rising beyond 2C by the turn of the century and “pursue efforts to keep it” to 1.5C. Negotiators at Glasgow started ambitiously keeping the 1.5C target but several outstanding issues and disagreements — most prominently on climate finance — have proved to be stumbling blocks.

Developing countries such as India and China are pushing for formal acknowledgment from the West that they haven’t delivered on past promises of providing $100 billion annually until 2020.

Developed countries have promised to deliver on this by 2023-24 but India and several other low income and developing countries have demanded financing post 2025 and also funds for the loss and damage that has already been incurred in their countries due to climate catastrophes.

Also read: Climate march keeps up pressure on leaders at U.N. summit

Though much of the text is ready, bones of contention are usually single verbs that open paragraphs of the draft text: “Urges,” “Considers”, “Notes” as each of them, in UN climatespeak denote specific degrees of commitment. For instance, para 48 of the text currently says: “(The Presidency) Urges developed country Parties to fully deliver on the USD 100 billion goal urgently and through to 2025 and emphasizes the importance of transparency in the implementation of their pledges.”

This is considered the highest level endorsement of developing countries’ position that enough hasn’t been done in the past by developed countries to keep promises. As of now, the latest draft shows up 94 such paragraphs.

As The Hindu reported on Thursday, India has demanded $1 trillion over the next decade from developed countries to adapt to and mitigate the challenges from global warming and has kept this as a condition for delivering on climate commitments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a late evening intervention, Richa Sharma, who is part of India’s negotiating team said: “The outcomes of COP26 must reflect the urgency in scaling up finance and other means of implementation support to developing countries. We express our disappointment at the lack of significant progress in climate finance related agenda items. We add our voice in support of other parties and groups like LDCs that have called for continuation of the long term finance agenda under the convention;  for a mandate to the standing committee of finance to deliver a multilaterally agreed definition of climate finance,  and for a structured process that will deliver the new quantified goal for climate finance well before 2025.”

 

An earlier version of the draft also called upon countries to “accelerate” the phase out of coal subsidies, a point that wasn’t taken to kindly by India and China. Despite India’s commitments to significantly increasing its reliance on renewable energy in the coming decade, it also expects to double its use of coal.

“Shockingly, COP26 is the first time that fossil fuels have been mentioned in the text of a global climate negotiations agreement. That shows the tide is turning against the oil, gas and coal companies that knowingly caused the climate crisis and blocked solutions. But our leaders, especially President Biden, must move faster to replace oil, gas and coal with renewable energy. There’s no way to avert climate catastrophe without limiting its root cause, which is fossil fuels,” Jean Su, Director, of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Energy Justice Program, said in a statement.



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