Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

Glasgow, Scotland Climate change researchers at COP26 challenged a final draft communication released by the United Nations on Wednesday, questioning its ability to protect the planet from catastrophic weather chaos.

The concept – released before Friday’s last day of negotiations between 197 nations to curb runaway climate change – was praised for stressing the need to end fossil fuel subsidies for the first time, but criticized for vague language on commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a lack of fixed liability provisions.

Alden Meyer, a senior contributor to the European Climate Think Tank E3G, noted the importance of targeting fossil fuel subsidies in the draft, but lamented how long it took to address it.

He pointed out that former US President Barack Obama raised the issue at the 2009 G20 summit in the state of Pennsylvania.

“It’s absurd 12 years after Pittsburgh that we still pay taxpayers’ money and hundreds of billions of dollars a year to encourage the production and consumption of fossil fuels,” Meyer said.

“The first line of holes when you find yourself in one – you stop digging. And we are still digging the hole deeper by paying people to produce and use more carbon. It’s insane. “

Climate activist Jennifer Morgan noted that it would “go to the wire” whether the subsidy text would be included in the final COP26 document while world leaders negotiated language.

“Of course, Saudi Arabia will work hard not to include it,” Morgan said. “This text needs to be strengthened, not weakened, and I think you will see the most vulnerable countries in the world come out and just fight for their lives – which is at stake here.”

‘Radical transformation change’

The Climate Action Tracker research group took note in a report Tuesday that the average global temperature by 2100 by 2100 will heat 2.4 ° C below the current emission reduction promises – a level that will mean punishment for the planet.

Emissions should be halved by 2030 to limit heating to reach 1.5C, according to climate scientists. However, the latest data rather show that emissions will increase by 13-16 percent over the next eight years.

“We do not need incremental steps, we need radical transformation and that must happen in the next two years. We are running out of space and time to make the shift we need, ”said Meyer.

Climate observers said the proposed COP26 document was also weak on the crucial issue of vague language funding on commitments and the enforcement of promises.

Developed countries agreed a decade ago to support developing countries with $ 100 billion a year to protect them from the devastation of climate change, and to transform their economies to work on green energy.

‘Security’ of financial flow

But rich countries – overwhelmingly responsible for flooding the atmosphere with harmful emissions and creating the climate crisis – so far failed to fulfill those financial promises.

The leaders of developing countries remain reluctant to limit the burning of fossil fuels until they receive money and assurance for both climate change measures and renewable energy development.

“You can not ask developing countries to contribute to maintaining 1.5C if you do not provide the assurance that there will be financial flows to be used for this transition,” said Eddy Perez, International Climate Diplomacy Manager at Climate Action Network Canada .

He also noted that $ 100 billion a year is not nearly enough to help developing countries. “None of these issues are addressed in the [draft] SMS immediately, ”Perez said.

The International Energy Agency and the World Bank have said that $ 850 billion a year is needed from rich countries for the poorer to degas their economies.

The leaders of the European Union and the United States must work to ensure that greater financial obligations are entrenched in the final document produced in Glasgow, so that greater emission cuts are made, Meyer said.

“They must all reach out to the leaders of developing countries to get them on board. “This is the only way to get the package we need,” he said.

“I have seen this rodeo many times. It always seems the darkest before dawn, and we are in that stage in the [COP26 negotiating] process.”

“Under pressure”

James Cameron, an independent adviser to the COP26 presidency, noted that there are 197 nations trying to create language that is acceptable to all in the final document. He said “the package” currently on the table requires a lot of compromises by countries.

“The text, which I think is pretty good now, will be put under pressure within the next 24-48 hours. “In some ways, I really hope that what is there now remains with one or two adjustments,” Cameron told Al Jazeera.

He described the draft communication as a ‘general business plan’ for governments once COP26 ends and leaders return home. But he acknowledged its shortcomings.

“People are right to demand that those big declarations of intent be implemented. The text… it is not to be diminished – but it is also insufficient to deal with the problems, ”Cameron said.

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