The COP26 draft deal has been revised since its first publication on Wednesday. What is the newest announcement, and what are we still needing from the final announcement?
The mainstay topics of the climate conference have included “adaptation, negotiation, and finance”, as reinforced by Boris Johnson in his recent press conference at COP26. In this refreshed version of the draft deal, countries are being asked to more drastically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and to showcase their plans to do more quickly. In terms of finance, developed countries are being asked to give significantly more money to developing nations that are already seeing the effects of the climate crisis. Under the four COP26 aims, we have expanded on what the draft deal proposes in comparison with initial suggestions made about what should be achieved.
Secure global net zero by 2050 and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
Meeting this goal involves the “phase-out” of coal, stopping further deforestation, switching to electric vehicles and encouraging investment in renewables. The current draft deal “invites Parties to consider further actions” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The deal places emphasis on the need to “rapidly scal[e] up clan power generation” and accelerate the “phase-out of unabated coal power” alongside “inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”. The language change from phasing out “coal” to “unabated coal” is notable: getting rid of unabated coal means stopping coal burning that doesn’t include carbon capture and storage, meaning that the coal pledges are perhaps not going to go as far as they need to.
“The language change from phasing out “coal” to “unabated coal” is notable…”
Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
This was initially set out by the UNFCCC as “protect[ing] and restor[ing] ecosystems”, and the need for a better provision of warning and defence systems, alongside better infrastructure, to prevent devastating effects on peoples’ homes and lives. The draft deal “welcomes” the adaptation plans that have been so far submitted as they help to better peoples’ understanding of the priorities to address in this area. Resultantly, governments have been “urge[d]” on a local and national level to better integrate these adaptation actions into their planning. However, COP26 is only a stepping stone to COP27 in this regard: the IPCC have been invited to present its findings on adaptation needs to next year’s summit for more action to be declared then, and so perhaps adaptation measures being proposed are not as fully finalised as they should be by this stage of the conference.
The target consistently being referred to is the directing from developed to developing countries of “at least $100bn in climate finance per year”. This was to be achieved by 2020, however this never happened. As such, the COP26 presidency has asked developed countries to “significantly scale up their provision of climate finance” to countries of lower socioeconomic backgrounds. On top of this, COP26 also appeals to money in the private sector to help the achieving of climate plans. As of yet, public sector money is being most relied upon.
“The target consistently being referred to is the directing from developed to developing countries of “at least $100bn in climate finance per year”. This was to be achieved by 2020, however this never happened. As such, the COP26 presidency has asked developed countries to “significantly scale up their provision of climate finance” to countries of lower socioeconomic backgrounds. On top of this, COP26 also appeals to money in the private sector to help the achieving of climate plans. As of yet, public sector money is being most relied upon.
“COP26 also appeals to money in the private sector to help the achieving of climate plans…”
Work together to deliver
The aim of COP26 was for all the countries present to come together in their efforts to finalise the rules that were created in Paris in 2015 – the Paris Agreement – and speed up the actions each are taking to tackle the climate emergency, placing an emphasis on communication between public and private sectors, and society itself. So far the draft deal “strongly urges all Parties that have not yet done so to meet any outstanding pledges under the Convention as soon as possible”. The draft places an emphasis on how vital cooperation across countries is in the combatting of the climate crisis, and to “support sustainable economic growth and development”.
There were worries mid-week that China and the US – two of the world’s biggest emitters – would not cooperate, however the recent US-China deal where both nations have pledged to boost their collaboration on climate over the next 10 years, knocks back those concerns. Progress was made on a number of issues, including emissions of methane and transitioning to clean energy.
However, the executive director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan, commented: “Ultimately, their statement falls short of the call by the climate vulnerable countries demanding that nations come back to the table every year with greater ambition until the 1.5C gap is closed.” Alongside this, with the lacking presence of China and Russia’s world leaders at the conference ruffling more than a few feather, there are still major doubts remaining about how effective this COP can actually be.