COP26 told climate pledges ‘hollow’ without fossil fuel phasing out

Cop26 Told Climate Pledges ‘Hollow’ Without Fossil Fuel Phasing Out

GLASGOW: Climate pledges from countries sound “hollow” as they continue to invest in oil, gas and coal, UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Thursday (Nov. 11), as the COP26 summit struggled to make progress on its goal of curbing devastating warming. to put a stop to.

Representatives from nearly 200 countries have gathered in Glasgow for close discussions aimed at keeping the world within the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

But with emissions still rising and current promises putting the world on a path to well beyond that target, negotiators bickered over a range of issues.

“The announcements here in Glasgow are encouraging, but they are far from enough,” Guterres said at the COP26 climate summit, urging negotiators to “pick up the pace”.

“Promises ring hollow if the fossil fuel industry continues to receive trillions in subsidies.”

Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate said the deputies had “two avenues” to choose from.

“There’s the path of pledges and hype and promises and fanciful Net Zero goals and happily ever after,” she told the plenary.

“And then there’s the path of the best available science, of ever-increasing storms and droughts and floods of toxic polluted air of real people suffering and dying.”

COP26 President Alok Sharma warned that time is running out to strike a deal before the scheduled end of the meeting on Friday night.

“We still have a monumental challenge ahead of us,” he said, calling on delegates to show more ambition.

“A lot has already been achieved. But we are still a long way from closing those very critical issues that are still open.”

He welcomed a joint pact between China and the US to accelerate climate action this decade, which experts say should allay fears that tensions apparent early in the summit could derail talks.

SCIENCE WARNING

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries pledged to limit heating to “well below” two degrees Celsius and work towards a safer limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius through sweeping emissions cuts.

Warming of 1.1 degrees Celsius to date is already amplifying extreme weather events, exposing communities around the world to increased fire and drought, displacement and severe economic hardship.

But the UN says even the most current national pledges set the Earth on course to warm 2.7 degrees Celsius this century.

More than 200 scientists sent an open letter to the summit on Thursday urging countries to take “immediate, strong, rapid, sustainable and large-scale actions” to halt global warming.

A handful of countries have committed to phasing out oil and gas production, which organizers Denmark and Costa Rica hope will inspire a global move toward the end of fossil fuels.

“The fossil age must come to an end,” said Danish Climate, Energy and Utilities Minister Dan Jorgensen.

“But just as the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, the Fossil Age will not end because there is no more oil in the ground. It will end because governments decided to do the right thing.”

However, major issuers were not part of the initiative.

‘CREDIBILITY TEST’

Egypt was confirmed on Thursday to host COP27, scheduled for 2022, while the United Arab Emirates will host COP28 in 2023.

The draft “decisions” were released Wednesday, which were the first real indication of where the nations stand for 10 days of in-depth technical discussions.

The text, which is sure to change during ministerial debates, called on countries to “review and strengthen” their new climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) next year, rather than 2025 as previously agreed.

The issues that remain unresolved during COP26 include how to financially support vulnerable countries to green their economies and prepare for future shocks.

Rules on transparency, joint reporting on climate action and carbon markets are also all still under discussion.

Also controversial is the wording in the draft to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies,” something major emitters oppose, according to sources close to the talks.

And countries already hit by climate disasters are demanding support for “loss and damage” from wealthy polluters.

But the main bottleneck is ambition: which countries plan to reduce their CO2 emissions fast enough to avoid dangerous heating.

“We need action if the pledges are to pass the credibility test,” Guterres said, urging negotiators not to settle for a lowest common denominator outcome.

“We know what needs to be done.”

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