Going into overtime, negotiators at the UN climate talks in Glasgow are still trying to find common ground for phasing out coal at a time when nations need to update their emissions-cutting promises, and in particular, on money
GLASSGOW, Scotland — After going into overtime Friday night, negotiators at the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow were still trying to find common ground for phasing out coal, at a time when nations were forced to stick to their emissions-cutting promises and Especially on money need to be updated.
Negotiations are at a “little standstill”, and the United States, with support from the European Union, is stalling talks, Gabonese minister for forest and climate change Lee White said.
As the talks neared midnight, the outlook for the rich countries was more optimistic, reflecting the divisions that could be brewing after the new draft comes out on Saturday.
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, host of the meeting, said through a spokesman that he believed “an ambitious outcome is in sight.”
US climate envoy John Kerry told The Associated Press on Friday night that climate talks were “working away,” making remarks after a late-night meeting with his Chinese counterpart and before a hallway chat with India’s minister .
No agreement had been drawn up until the end of the conference at 6 p.m. local time. And sometimes it helps to get diplomats in the mood for a greater deal.
“The culture of negotiating is not to make hard compromises until the meeting goes into an extra shift, as we have now,” said Alden Meyer, long-time climate negotiating supervisor at European think tank E3G. “But the UK presidency will still have to make a lot of people somewhat unhappy because we need a comprehensive agreement from Glasgow.”
Three sticking points were making people unhappy on Friday: cash, coal and timing.
A pressing issue is the question of financial aid to poor countries to tackle climate change. Wealthy nations failed to provide them with $100 billion annually by 2020 as agreed, causing much anger in negotiations in developing countries.
Friday morning’s draft reflects those concerns, expressing “deep regret” that the $100 billion target has not been met and calls for poorer countries to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. There has been an urge to increase its funding – an issue with which even developed countries are grappling.
Poor countries say regret is not enough.
“Don’t call them donor countries. They are pollutants. They owe this money,” said Salimul Haque, a climate science and policy expert who is director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh.
The draft also proposes the creation of a loss-and-damage fund to help poor countries facing the devastating effects of climate change tap existing sources of aid. But rich nations such as the United States, which have historically been the largest source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, are opposed to any legal obligation to compensate poor countries.
But Gabon White said rich countries, especially the United States and the European Union, had said they were not ready. “They said we never agreed to it. It won’t work. It’s too complicated.”
Addo of Power Shift Africa said, “The proposal to create this mechanism is like creating a bank account. “We don’t need to put cash in the account now,” he said. Account is opening now.”
It was the “elephant in the room”, said Lia Nicholson, the lead negotiator for the Coalition of Small Islands at the summit. She said developing countries and China had a “united position” on it, but the proposal was not met with a “significant push” from wealthy countries.
“Small islands may not always be the ones that are said to compromise our interests with the objectives of reaching consensus,” she said.
That Friday’s draft called on countries to accelerate “the phasing out of non-stop coal power and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.”
A previous draft Wednesday was strong, calling on countries to “phase out from coal and accelerate subsidies for fossil fuels”.
Kerry said Washington supports the current wording. “We’re not talking about eliminating coal,” he told fellow climate diplomats. But, he added: “Those subsidies have to go.”
Carey said it was the “definition of madness” that trillions were being spent on subsidizing fossil fuels around the world. “We are allowing feed into the problem that is here to try to fix. It doesn’t make any sense.”
But there was a mixed reaction from activists and observers about how important the addition of the words “uninterrupted” and “disabled” was.
Richie Merzian, a former Australian climate negotiator who directs the Climate and Energy Program at the Australia Institute think tank, said the additional warning was “enough that you could run a coal train through it.”
Countries such as Australia and India, the world’s third-biggest emitters, have resisted calls to phase out coal any time soon.
Scientists agree that ending the use of fossil fuels as quickly as possible is essential to meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement’s ambitious goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). But it is clearly politically sensitive to include such a call in a broader declaration, which also includes countries such as Saudi Arabia, fearing oil and gas could be the next target.
Another issue of concern from Friday morning’s draft is when nations will have to come back with new emissions-cutting targets they had to submit ahead of the Glasgow talks. Because the pledges were not enough, the draft calls on nations to submit a more difficult target by the end of 2022, but some nations, such as Saudi Arabia, said David Vasco of the World Resources Institute.
In Paris in 2015, there was a debate about whether the targets should be updated every five or 10 years, so going a year after Glasgow is a big deal, said Kelly Kizzier, vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund, a former European Union minister. said the interlocutor.
On 31 October, negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered in Glasgow amid strong warnings from leaders, activists and scientists that not enough was being done to stop global warming.
According to the proposed decision, countries plan to express “alarm and extreme concern that human activities have already caused approximately 1.1C (2F) of global warming” and that the impact is already felt in every region. being done.”
While the Paris Agreement calls for limiting temperatures to “well below” 2C (3.6F) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, ideally no more than 1.5C, the draft agreement notes that The lower limit will “substantially reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” and resolve to achieve that goal.
To do so, it calls on the world to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 45% in 2030 compared to 2010 levels, and to add any additional CO2 to the atmosphere by mid-century. The world is not on track for this yet.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press this week that the 1.5C-target is “still in reach but on life support.”
The annual meetings, first held in 1995 and abandoned only once last year because of the pandemic, have been drawn to all countries to gradually intensify their efforts to curb global warming.
But the process has been too slow for many vulnerable countries.
“We need to act now and act,” said Save Peniu, the finance minister of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu. “It’s a matter of life and survival for many of us.”
Ellen Nickmeyer, Philippe Jane and Karl Ritter contributed to this report.
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