Doubling Climate Finance and New Homework for Poor Students: What’s in Glasgow’s Draft Text?

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Rich countries should give much more financial climate aid to poorer countries. And countries that have not done their homework in terms of emissions will have to present new, better plans as early as next year because this decade will be crucial for the one and a half degrees.

 

This is stated in an introductory text for further negotiations at the climate conference in Glasgow (COP26). Host Boris Johnson stressed that “everyone should do their utmost” as the conference gradually enters its decisive phase.

The UK Presidency has released a first text. The seven-page document outlines how the world can still achieve the Paris climate goals and deal with the new climate reality with more weather extremes.

Poorer countries, often the first victims of climate change, need more money. “COP26 notes with deep concern that current climate finance is insufficient (…) and calls on wealthier countries to scale up their efforts,” it read. “We call on richer countries to at least double their efforts.”

It was agreed to put 100 billion dollars annually in a large pot to better arm the poorer countries against climate change in Paris, but that amount has not yet been achieved. And so it has to be much better, says the draft. Governments and the private sector, and banks are being looked at to meet this financial challenge.

The text adheres to the Paris climate agreement (keeping global warming well below 2 degrees and making efforts for one and a half degrees). “The COP26 recognizes that there is a big difference between warming by one and a half or two degrees Celsius (the world is currently at 1.1 degrees more compared to the reference period 1850-1999, ed.)”, it reads. It, therefore, remains essential to finish as close as possible (or preferably at) that one and a half degrees.

The emphasis is on the importance of the short term: only if we act quickly between now and 2030, one and a half degrees is still (a little) realistic, scientists had already calculated. So the text calls for “accelerated action” to reduce greenhouse gases and calls this decade “critical”.

“COP26 recognizes that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees by 2100 requires rapid, far-reaching and lasting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in particular a 45 percent reduction in CO₂ by 2030 (compared to 2010) and climate neutrality around 2050.”

Countries that have not yet done their homework or are insufficiently behind the Paris targets are urgently asked to tighten further their targets for 2030, an apparent reference to countries such as China, Russia or India. What’s more, they should come up with new plans next year. There should also be an annual ministerial conference to monitor the 2030 targets.

The text also acknowledges the wide gap between promises and what is needed: “With the promises made after Paris, our emissions will be even higher for the time being by 2030, namely 13.7 percent more compared to 2010 levels. “

The COP26 is “calling” for an accelerated phasing out of coal and an end to subsidies for the extraction of fossil fuels. There was already a partial political agreement on this with certain countries outside the COP26, but an attempt is now being made to include this in the broad final statement.

It is a proposed text of the British organization. All participating countries will now have to discuss the text further and find a compromise. The question is to what extent this text is acceptable to all parties because unanimity is required.

Some things in it will be difficult for certain countries. For example, how will countries like China, Brazil or India deal with the demand to set new, sharper targets for 2030 by next year? The coal story can also be difficult, although the formulation is not very binding. Thus “a call” is made, and there is no binding term.

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