Tackling climate change: New draft deal released at COP26

Updated on Nov 10, 2021 06:07 PM IST

The text of the newly released draft on combating climate change had several changes over the previous version, making it appear weaker on certain fronts

A camera is seen in front of a screen displaying the COP26 logo at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland. (REUTERS)
A camera is seen in front of a screen displaying the COP26 logo at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland. (REUTERS)
ByJayashree Nandi

The draft of an agreement - also called “cover decision” - that chalks out all important elements of the climate negotiations including how countries will cut emissions to avoid temperature rises of above 1.5°C was published early on Wednesday on the sidelines of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

Two drafts were released. One was released by the CMA, which is basically the group of nations that signed and ratified the Paris Agreement. The group is also called “Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement”. The other draft was released by the COP, which is the Conference of the Parties. It is the CMA’s draft that mainly deals with the important decisions.

The text of the newly released draft on combating climate change had several changes over the previous version, making it appear weaker on certain fronts.

The draft, proposed by COP26 president Alok Sharma, underlines the Paris Agreement temperature goal of capping the rise in the average global temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and it also calls for pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

However, the text says the impact of climate change will be much lesser at the temperature increase of 1.5°C as compared to 2°C.

Also Read: New climate pledges not enough: Studies

The draft recognises that keeping global warming to under 1.5°C requires meaningful and effective action by all parties, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances.

“The text doesn’t crisply, clearly articulate the 1.5-degree goal. It’s still a bit fuzzy,” said David Waskow, international climate director at the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Meeting the 1.5°C goal would require reducing global CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to reach net zero by around mid-century. But the aggregate greenhouse gas emission level, taking into account implementation of all nationally determined contributions (NDCs) submitted, is estimated to be 13.7% above the 2010 level in 2030, the draft says.

Waskow said a positive development in the draft was that the parties have been urged to come forward by 2022 with revisited, improved NDCs. It also has language on phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies, which have been named specifically in the text.

On climate finance, the draft urges developed countries to provide financial resources to developing nations with respect to both mitigation and adaptation, in continuation of their existing obligations under the convention. It also encourages all parties to provide such support voluntarily.

The draft only recognises that discussions on a new post 2025 quantified finance goal has started. It has no other details.

On loss and damage, the draft urges developed nations operating entities of the financial mechanism, the UN, intergovernmental organisations, and bilateral and multilateral institutions including NGOs and private parties, to provide enhanced support for activities addressing the impact of climate change.

On adaptation finance, the draft calls upon the private sector, multilateral development banks and other financial institutions to enhance finance mobilisation in order to be able to deliver the scale of resources needed. There are a lot of gaps, bracketed areas which still need to be addressed.

“There is a placeholder on how we will move towards a global goal for adaptation. There is no date by which adaptation finance will be doubled and baseline is not mentioned. This is weak. But there may be a trade-off between this and other elements. We have to see how developing countries respond,” said Yamide Dagnet, director of climate negotiations at the WRI.

HT has reported that developing countries have expressed frustration over the lack of credibility and failure to deliver promised climate finance of $100 billion.

Developed and developing countries are divided on a new quantified finance goal for the post-2025 period.

India will not update its NDC to reflect the pledges made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Climate Leader’s Summit at Glasgow on November 1 and 2, which was part of the ongoing COP26 talks, until there is clarity on climate finance, a top member of the Indian delegation said on condition of anonymity.

Waskow said these texts are significant international agreements. They have consequence and an important part of international law being under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. “The parties take them seriously, so they negotiate very hard on these,” he said.

“What’s in #COP26 cover decision draft? Call for stronger NDCs next year. Call for coal phase-out, FF subsidy phase-out. Annual ambition push, progress report. Call for loss and damage finance. Loose words on finance,” tweeted Simon Evans, policy editor at Carbon Brief.

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