Empty Promises, Softened Language, And Demands For Climate Reparations: COP26 Ends In Hypocritical Whimper
Negotiations at the UN climate conference in Glasgow are expected to bleed over into the weekend, as countries craft a new draft agreement which – so far, includes softened language ‘requesting’ (but not ‘urging’) that nations come back to the drawing board in one year with better climate-action plans for 2030. Bloomberg describes the softened language as a “get-out clause.”
Activists are sure to be pissed.
Other changes include a closely watched line on fossil fuels and coal – which was changed to phasing out “unabated coal” instead of “consigning coal to history” after China and other countries voiced their displeasure.
Next, negotiations hit an impasse over the global carbon market Thursday, with countries disagreeing on how to account for emissions credits sold around the world.
Climate talks #COP26 in Glasgow are entering the final stage. Negotiators are still far apart on several key issues, including international #carbon markets. Here is what it is about:pic.twitter.com/YCOa9dWb5o
— Ewa Krukowska (@E_Krukowska) November 11, 2021
…the risk is that a weak deal would enshrine in the system rules so loose that they could end up allowing for emissions to rise rather than fall.
Talks on carbon trading collapsed in 2019 at the last round of climate talks in Madrid, with Brazil and the European Union at loggerheads on topics including how to avoid counting the same emissions reductions twice. Those accounting issues remain a stumbling block, and other obstacles have also emerged during talks in Glasgow. –Bloomberg
Meanwhile, ‘vulnerable countries’ have railed against Friday’s proposed draft – saying they need a more ambitious deal on climate reparations from rich nations responsible for global warming, in order to handle costs from ‘worsening storms, droughts and rising sea levels.’
The new draft balances the demands of smaller nations and the world’s biggest polluters whose economies rely on fossil fuels. As Reuters notes, some countries say the draft would just barely maintain the Paris Agreement’s cap on global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the limit at which climate scientists claim the most severe impacts would be averted, however the draft asks countries to ‘upgrade’ their climate targets in 2022 in order to reach the goal.
The COP26 conference has so far not delivered enough emissions-cutting pledges to nail down the 1.5C goal, so the draft asked countries to upgrade their climate targets in 2022.
However, it couched that request in weaker language than a previous draft, and failed to offer the rolling annual review of climate pledges that some developing countries have pushed for.
It said the upgrade of climate pledges should take into account “different national circumstances”, a phrase likely to please some developing countries, which say the demands on them to quit fossil fuels and cut emissions should be lower than on developed economies. -Reuters
“If the text that is currently on the table withstands the battering that it may get – yes, we are holding on by our fingernails,” said Grenada climate minister Simon Stiell after being asked if the latest proposal maintained the temperature target.
According to the draft, the world must cut carbon dioxide emissions from oil, gas and coal by 45% by 2030, and to net zero by 2050, in order to hit the 1.5C target.
Bitch better have my money (or else?)
Poorer COP26 attendees are reportedly ‘furious’ that wealthy nations have yet to fulfill a 12-year-old pledge to give $100 billion per year by 2020 to help them line their elites’ pockets cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. The draft expressed “deep regret” at the missed target which rich nations now expect to meet in 2023, but offered no solutions to make sure the money materializes – just that rich nations should double the funding they currently set aside for poor countries.
“Loss and damage is too central for us to settle for workshops. We must strengthen action on loss and damage,” according to Marshall Islands climate envoy Tina Stege.
In addition to the softened language on fossil fuels, the draft calls on nations to pledge to phase out “inefficient” subsidies for fossil fuels in general – changes in language which Arab nations had lobbied for, much to the chagrin of climate activists.
“The key line on phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies has been critically weakened,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International.
The United States and China – the world’s two largest polluters, unveiled a deal on Wednesday that would see China strengthen its emissions-cutting targets. Beijing has committed to “work jointly and with other parties to ensure a successful COP26 and to facilitate an outcome that is both ambitious and balanced.”
In a hilarious final note, a UK government report reveals that the carbon footprint for COP26 itself is expected to reach the equivalent of 102,500 tons of carbon dioxide – roughly equivalent to the amount of CO2 emitted annually by 10,000 UK households.
The document, compiled by sustainability consultant Arup, notes that some 60% of the emissions are related to international air travel of some 39,000 delegates who have taken part in the environmental crisis talks. Other major sources of pollution are cited as accommodation for the delegates, ferrying of guests to and from the summit, and venue catering.
The last UN climate change summit in Madrid welcomed some 27,000 people and produced some 51,101 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Data suggest the COP summits have been gradually getting more polluting, with the 2009 COP15 in Copenhagen producing around 26,000. –RT
In short, nobody’s going to be happy and that was a giant waste of time.
[_] Not Ruined