Cop26 draft outcome urges countries to ‘revisit and strengthen’ efforts to limit global heating to 1.5C

Nations urged to ‘revisit and strengthen’ emissions cutting targets for 2030

Daisy Dunne
Climate Correspondent
Wednesday 10 November 2021 07:45 GMT
COP26 overshadowed by grim progress report on carbon emissions

A draft “cover decision” setting out the potential outcome from the Cop26 climate summit has been published, urging countries to “revisit and strengthen” their pledges again next year.

Climate pledges for 2030 should be discussed again by the end of next year, the document says, to try to give the world a better chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the aspiration of the Paris Agreement.

It says that meeting the 1.5C aspiration needs meaningful and effective action in “this critical decade”.

The first iteration of the draft comes after a stark analysis published on Tuesday warned that even when pledges agreed at the Glasgow summit are taken into consideration, global greenhouse as emissions in 2030 are likely to be twice as high as what would be needed to meet the 1.5C target.

Keeping temperatures at 1.5C could be vital for stemming further increases in extreme heat, sea level rise and the fast disappearance of the world’s tropical coral reefs, among other issues.

The document, published in the early hours of Wednesday, calls for countries to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels. If this language is kept in the final Glasgow pact, it would set a new precedent as previous UN climate agreements have not specifically mentioned fossil fuels.

It also says that developed countries should at least double the amount they spend on helping poorer nations adapt to escalating climate impacts, as part of scaling money for poorer nations to tackle the crisis.

Bob Ward, director of policy and communications at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said the draft included “key elements” but that more “ambition and precision” is needed.

“It is clear that the current set of pledges on emissions are not yet consistent with having a reasonable chance of holding warming to no more than 1.5C,” he said.

“We need countries to agree to return every one or two years with more ambitious pledges. We also need stronger evidence of action to deliver the pledges.”

Dr Kat Kramer, climate policy lead at Christian Aid, noted that the mention of fossil fuels was “historic”.

“This is a historic moment as it’s the first time a Cop text outlines the phase out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies. This wasn’t even mentioned in the Paris Agreement,” she said.

This is a historic moment as it’s the first time a Cop text outlines the phase out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies. This wasn’t even mentioned in the Paris Agreement

Dr Kat Kramer, climate policy lead at Christian Aid

“However there’s lots of work that needs to be done on the finance side for poorer countries.  There’s very little on how vulnerable nations are to be supported to adapt and cope with the permanent losses and damages caused by climate change.” 

Country ministers are expected to be in contact with their leaders to discuss what their position on the proposals will be. This will particularly be the case for countries whose leaders did not attend the world leaders' summit, such as China and Russia.

On Tuesday, UK minister and Cop president Alok Sharma said there was still a “mountain to climb” before negotiations reach a conclusion.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is returning to the summit on Wednesday ahead of the final few days of crucial negotiations.

Negotiators are also trying to reach consensus on the final parts of the rulebook for the landmark Paris Agreement.

Delegates are also discussing the issue of how to aid countries who are already experience “loss and damage” as a result of the climate crisis. These conversations have been bolstered by scientific evidence showing that the climate crisis is already making extreme weather events more severe and likely.

As negotiations carry on, delegates will also turn their attention to fossil-fuelled cars and planes this Wednesday on “transport day”.

The UK government announced that 24 countries had agreed to “work towards” ensuring all new cars and vans sold are zero emissions by “2040 or earlier”.

The new pact also includes six major car manufacturers, including GM, Ford, Mercedes, BYD, Volvo and JLR. However, Volkswagen and Toyota, the world’s two largest manufacturers, did not agree to sign the pledge.

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