COP26 Live: New draft as UN talks heads for overtime

12 November 2021

After a long night of intense negotiations new texts for a possible agreement in Glasgow appeared at 7.13 on Friday morning. Reactions are mixed, with the cover text strengthened in key areas like finance, but diluted in others. While many observers view it as a step forward, international NGO:s slams it as too weak, with various groups staging a walk-out of the negotiation center by midday. Crucially it remains to be seen how the new texts are received among parties. As it seems, a bunch of key issues remain to be solved, and participants are preparing for a long final day, with negotiations likely to slip over well into the weekend.

The ball is still in play, but despite strengthened language on various points, ambitions need to increase substantially, says Jens Ergon, at CCL Uppsala. Words on fossil fuels and to ratchet up ambitions has to remain undiluted, as a minimum. And in particular we would like to see enhanced ambitions on the key issue, in negotiations and reality, of financing. The coming hours will be crucial, he adds.

From a positive perspective, words on finance and adaptation have been strengthened, and the hope to ratchet up mitigation ambitions in the next few years, clinging onto hope for the 1.5 degree target, remains in the cover text, including a new UN work program to scale up emission cuts.

However, much of the wordings on finance and adaption are only possible landing zones, with intense negotiations going on about what they actually means. The mentioning of coal and fossil subsidies remains, but in a diluted form, now referring to ‘unabated’ coal and ‘inefficient’ fossil fuel subsidies – creative languages for allowing for coal power plants utilizing CCS and fossil fuel subsidies directed to keep prices of fuel low in many countries. As for loss & damage, frustrations remains, as clear words on finance, not just for technical assistance, is missing, and a proposal for a new finance mechanism by G77+China has been left out of the text. Also, deals on article 6 (carbon markets) and other unresolved issues are yet to be seen, with differing positions remaining, not the least on carbon markets. A first stocktaking plenary on the new texts are to begin early in the afternoon, giving a more clear view on how different parties view the development.

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