December 2, 2022

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Tough negotiations continue on COP26

(Glasgow) The British Presidency of COP26 sought to defend its plan on Saturday, saying it was “really doing things”, while a number of controversial points, especially aid to poor countries, threatened to derail the deal with the aim of curbing global warming. .

Stephen ORJOLLET and Ameli Bottollier-DEPOIS
France Media Company

The new draft final declaration of the World Climate Conference released by the British Presidency did not lead to the expected progress and could not even begin a new full meeting announced for the afternoon.

In the eyes of the cameras – but without sound – US Ambassador John Kerry and the Vice President of the European Commission spoke for very long minutes with various groups of developing countries inside the entire arena, while COP26 President Alok Sharma waited on stage. .

Photo by Yves Herman, Reuters

US Climate Commissioner John Kerry with Franz Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission.

The president finally declared that “what we put on the table is a balanced set” and “really does things for everyone” and adjourned the session until the afternoon.

After nearly 24 hours of already overflowing two-week marathon talks, London still hopes to complete COP26 on Saturday as the most ambitious objective of the Paris Agreement to “keep alive”. Pre-industrial period.

According to the UN, while the world is still on the “catastrophic” path of + 2.7 ° C warming, the new text protects the progress of this COP on emissions reduction and fossil fuels, key sources of greenhouse gases. .

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“Chat room”

But at the heart of the tensions of the last days of these talks has not been progress on the issue, the financial envelope to help the poorest countries – the least responsible for climate change but at the forefront in countering its impacts.

Developing countries have called for a specific mechanism to take into account significant “loss and damage”, i.e. damage already caused by the catastrophic effects of increasing storms, droughts and heat waves.

But according to Mohamed Ado, a volunteer from PowerShift Africa, the text has been “weakened” compared to the previous version released on Thursday, which has already been reduced to a “technical” support system. He denounced the inaction of the British president, saying that “rich countries are pushing for an organization that leads to a relentless dialogue.”

According to sources close to many observers and negotiators, rich countries, especially the United States and the European Union, have blocked the proposal. “The EU is ready to help build bridges,” Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, said on Saturday, adding that Europeans had “significantly” increased their financial contribution.

Guinea’s representative to the G77 + China negotiating team (more than 100 developing and developing countries), Amado Sebori Tour, stressed on Friday that such a mechanism should be included in the text, recalling that the proposal “came from all developing countries”. ”, Including major developing countries.

Another highly controversial point is the unprecedented reference in this text to fossil fuels that are the main cause of global warming and not even mentioned in the Paris Agreement, which is preserved in the third edition of the draft declaration. Producing countries.

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But from version to version, the scope of the text has been reduced. He now calls on member states to accelerate efforts to phase out coal energy without seizure systems (COs).2) And inefficient fossil fuel subsidies ”.

In particular, the terms “attempts” and “futility” were not included in the first notice.

“When a few countries try to eliminate this, we have to fight like crazy to keep it in the text,” commented Jennifer Morgan, director of Greenpeace International.

Debates are complicated by the distrust of poor countries because rich countries have not yet kept their promise made in 2009 to increase climate aid to the south to $ 100 billion a year by 2020.

In the case of greenhouse gas emissions, the new text does not replace the call for member states to continue increasing their reduction commitments than provided for in the Paris Agreement, which begins in 2022.

But with the possibility of making changes in “specific national circumstances,” the point was added during Friday’s talks and sparked criticism from NGOs over the countries ’real ambition to control global warming.

The delegates want to finally conclude discussions on the remaining provisions for the use of the Paris Agreement, especially on the functioning of the carbon markets. Negotiations for this hotly contested article have failed in the last two COPs.