Nations in conflict over how to keep 1.5 C target alive as UN climate negotiation enters last day

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Negotiators at the UN climate summit in Glasgow are expected to lock the horns on Friday for what is scheduled to be the final day of negotiations on how to stop global warming from disaster.

After nearly two weeks of negotiations, the nearly 200 countries represented at the summit remain in conflict over a range of issues from how rich nations should compensate poor people for damage caused by climate-driven disasters to how often nations should be required to upgrade their emissions. promises.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) meets annually and is the global decision-making body set up to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted in the early 1990s, and subsequent climate agreements.

“There is still much more work to be done,” Alok Sharma, British chairman of the COP26 summit, told reporters on Thursday on the state of the negotiations.

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The COP26 conference aimed at a core goal: to keep alive the aspirational goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Hopes for ever more ambitious goals

But according to the current promises of countries to cut emissions this decade, researchers say the world will hit levels of global warming far beyond that limit, triggering catastrophic sea level rise, floods and droughts.

Although there is little hope that new pledges will emerge on the final day of negotiations to limit that gap, negotiators are trying to impose new requirements that could force countries to raise their pledges in the future, hopefully fast enough to keep the 1.5 C target achievable.

Protesters march through Glasgow during a march on November 5. (Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

A draft of the COP26 agreement circulated earlier this week, for example, would force countries to update their climate targets in 2022, something climate-vulnerable nations hope they can strengthen in mandatory annual reviews to ensure the globe stays on track.

“Glasgow must be the moment when ambition becomes a constant process at every COP, and this year’s COP decision must require annual ambitious platforms by 2025 to ensure that,” said Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives ’parliamentary speaker and former president and ambassador for the Climate Forum group of 48 countries.

2030 “edge of a cliff”

“Action is needed right this decade. 2030 feels like the edge of a cliff and we are running towards it,” said Nicolas Galarza, Colombia’s deputy minister for the environment.

A senior U.S. official said the world’s largest economy has backed a strengthening of targets to meet the Paris targets, but cannot support a requirement in the COP26 agreement for annual revisions of pledges.

Currently, countries have to revisit their pledges every five years.

Negotiators are also fighting over a language on the removal of subsidies for fossil fuels in the conclusions of COP26, against which Arab countries – many of them large fossil producers – have warned.

A final agreement requires unanimous consent

European Union climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said on Thursday that removing the language “would be a very, very bad signal”.

Questions of finance continue to threaten negotiations, and developing countries are pushing for stricter rules to ensure that rich countries, whose historical emissions are largely responsible for global warming, offer more money to help the poorest nations adapt to climate impacts.

Giant sand artwork adorns New Brighton Beach in May to highlight global warming and the climate conference in Wirral, UK. (Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

Ministers are also trying to finalize the dispute rules that will implement the Paris agreement, demanding an agreement on multi-year disputes over carbon markets and transparency.

A final agreement will require the unanimous consent of the nearly 200 countries that have signed the 2015 Paris Agreement.

On Thursday night, diplomats bowed to work out the technical terms of the Paris rulebook, while in other negotiating chambers their government ministers discussed other points of political conflict.

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