COP26 draft document: “it’s hard to know where we’ll end up”

10 November 2021 

Activists are continuing to push for robust climate outcomes in the draft final text of the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow as the conference comes down to its final days. 

A draft version of the conference’s outcome was published late last night, which urged countries to up their end-of-decade climate targets and noted the current provision of climate finance for adaptation is insufficient for developing countries. 

The document also was the first time fossil fuels were explicitly referenced in such a text, a move which civil society organisations have been pushing for according to Aideen O’Dochartaigh from Irish grassroots campaign group Not Here Not Anywhere. 

The current text reads that countries should “accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies”. 

However, while the development is welcome, Ms. O’Dochartaigh told The Green News that the cessation of subsidies should “cover a timeline for all fossil fuels and it should have equity references. Developed countries have to take the lead on the phase-out.” 

Activists, including Ms. O’Dochartaigh, are worried that the provision could be axed from the final version of the text due at the end of negotiations and protests within the Blue Zone itself took place today in support of the clause.

As the final document is set to be published in the coming days, Ms. O’Dochartaigh said that as it stands now, it is “hard to know where we’ll end up.” 

“It’s still very aspirational” 

The draft document, while having the aforementioned progress on fossil fuel subsidies, is still very much a “vague and aspirational” text, according to Christian Aid Policy Officer Conor O’Neill. 

“It’s not the kind of detailed, ambitious and fair agreement that’s needed and that can reflect the demands of the people outside. The text we have so far doesn’t really align with the scale of the emergency, so it’s essential we keep pushing over the next three or four days to up ambition,” he told The Green News. 

Climate finance provisions of the document have so far proved to be “very disappointing” as there is language in the document around at least doubling adaptation finance, which according to Mr. O’Neill is “promising, but it’s still not time bound”. 

A key metric of success for the conference would be hinged on a number of measures appearing in the final text, such as climate finance focused on grants rather than debt-settling loans and at least 50 per cent of climate finance being funnelled into adaptation, he added. 

“I think we need to see the big wealthier, high-emitting states realise that agreement on so many other issues rests on an equitable, fair financial package and delivering on what’s previously been promised,” he said. 

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Kayle Crosson