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Draft Glasgow agreement strengthens language on global warming
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 10 - 11 - 2021

A draft of the Glasgow Agreement published on Wednesday includes language acknowledging that the world should be aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which could be a first step in obliging countries to make more ambitious pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The document is not final and COP26 delegates will negotiate the details over the next few days. The language would be the first strong acknowledgment that 1.5 degrees is the limit the world should aim for, but it includes soft language like "urges" and "recognizes" around emissions cuts.
The document says it "recognizes that the impacts of climate change will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5 °C compared to 2 °C and resolves to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C, recognizing that this requires meaningful and effective action by all Parties in this critical decade on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge."
It "also recognizes that limiting global warming to 1.5 °C by 2100 requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero around mid-century."
The agreement also "urges parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets" in their emissions cuts pledges, which is a significant development because it means that by the end of next year, parties should come to the table with stronger plans.
The draft urges countries to "accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels," but makes no explicit reference to ending the use of oil and gas.
Highlighting the challenge of meeting those goals, the document "expresses alarm and concern that human activities have caused around 1.1 C (2 F) of global warming to date and that impacts are already being felt in every region."
Separate draft proposals were also released on other issues being debated at the talks, including rules for international carbon markets and the frequency by which countries have to report on their efforts.
The draft calls on nations that don't have national goals that would fit with the 1.5 or 2 degree temperature rise limits to come back with stronger targets next year.
Depending on the language is interpreted, the provision could apply to most countries. Analysts at the World Resources Institute counted this element of the draft as a win for vulnerable countries.
"This is crucial language,'' WRI International Climate Initiative Director David Waskow said Wednesday. "Countries really are expected and are on the hook to do something in that timeframe to adjust.''
There is an extensive section on the issue of climate finance. A dynamic has emerged at the negotiations where developing nations are demanding that rich nations honor a pledge they made more than a decade ago to transfer $100 billion a year to the Global South by 2020.
The draft agreement reaffirms that the goal will likely be met by 2023, three years later than promised, although it includes several points to encourage a faster mobilization of money.
In a nod to one of the big issues for poorer countries, the draft vaguely "urges" developed nations to compensate developing countries for "loss and damage," a phrase that some rich nations don't like.
Whatever comes out of the meeting in Glasgow has to be unanimously approved by nearly 200 nations attending the negotiations.
A lot of negotiating and decision-making is to come in the next three or possibly four days. The deadline for the talks is Friday, but climate talks often go past planned end dates. The cover decisions provide more than anything the parameters for the issues that need to be resolved in the last few days of the annual UN conference, Waskow said. — Agencies


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