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Negotiators still working on draft deal at COP26


Negotiators still working on draft deal at COP26
Delegates resting during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 13, 2021. (Reuters)

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Glasglow – Negotiators in Glasgow are poring over a new draft agreement aimed at averting the worst impacts of climate change.

The COP26 talks were due to finish on Friday, but sticking points – especially on fossil fuels and on financial help to poorer nations – mean they have overrun.

Key language on phasing out coal use has been kept in the latest text.

But it remains unclear if the draft will lead to a deal later on Saturday – or to further negotiations.

Developing nations are unhappy about a lack of progress on what’s known as “loss and damage”, the idea that richer countries should compensate poorer ones for climate change effects they can’t adapt to.

Scientists say that limiting temperature rise to 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels will protect us from the most dangerous impacts of climate change. It is a key part of the 2015 Paris agreement that most countries signed up to.

Meeting the goal requires global emissions to be cut by 45% by 2030 and to zero overall by 2050. One example of the impact of global temperature rise above 2C is the death of virtually all tropical coral reefs, scientists say.

The new version of the agreement released on Saturday continues to refer to “accelerating efforts towards phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” – watered-down commitments that have been criticised by campaigners, even though some observers underlined that it is the first time coal is explicitly mentioned in UN documents of this type.

China and Saudi Arabia are said to be among a group of countries seeking to remove references to fossil fuel subsidies.

Earlier drafts of the deal had also promised more money to developing nations for adapting to extreme weather and sea level rise.

Promises in Glasgow will not be enough to limit global warming to 1.5C. One estimate by the Climate Action Tracker calculated that the planet is still set to warm by 2.4C if the current pledges are all met. But experts say the current target is still achievable: at COP15 in Copenhagen more than a decade ago, estimates suggested the world was heading for between 3.5 and 4.2C of warming. (BBC)