Draft climate agreement expresses “concern and concern”


Updated 1 hour and 17 minutes ago

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – Governments are set to voice ‘their concern and concern’ about the extent of global warming and to encourage each other to end their use of coal, according to a draft published Wednesday of the final document expected during the UN climate talks. .

The first draft of the document circulating during the negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland, also insists on the need to halve carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, even if the commitments made so far by governments do not match. to this frequently stated goal.

In a meaningful gesture, the countries would urge each other to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies” in the project, although it does not make any explicit reference to ending the use of oil and gas. gas. Developed countries have pushed hard to shut down coal-fired power plants, which are a major source of heat-trapping gas, but fuel remains a critical and cheap source of electricity for countries like China and India.

While the language on quitting coal is a first and important one, the lack of a date by which countries will do so limits the effectiveness of the engagement, said Jennifer Morgan, longtime observer, Greenpeace international director. climate talks.

“This is not the plan to solve the climate emergency. It won’t give street kids the confidence they need, ”Morgan said.

The draft does not yet include full agreements on the three major goals the UN has set for the negotiations – and may disappoint poorer nations due to the lack of solid financial commitments from the poorest. rich. The objectives are: for rich countries to give the poorest $ 100 billion a year in climate assistance, to ensure that half of this money goes to adaptation to worsening global warming, and to commit to reduce emissions which is mentioned.

The draft does, however, provide a snapshot of issues that need to be addressed in the final days of the conference, which is expected to end on Friday but could extend that deadline. However, many negotiations and decision-making remain to come since everything that emerges from the meetings must be unanimously approved by the nearly 200 nations present.

The project says the world should try to achieve “net zero (emissions) by mid-century.” This means requiring countries to pump only the amount of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere that can be re-absorbed by natural or man-made means.

He also admits “with regret” that rich countries have not kept their climate aid pledge.

Poorer countries, which need financial help both to develop green energy systems and adapt to the worst of climate change, are unhappy that the promised aid has not materialized.

“Without financial support, little can be done to minimize its debilitating effects on vulnerable communities around the world,” said Mohammed Nasheed, speaker of the Maldives parliament and ambassador for a group of dozens of countries most vulnerable to change. climate, in a press release.

He said the project is failing on key issues, including financial aid and steep emission reductions.

“There is a lot more to do in climate finance to give developing countries what they need to get out of here,” said Alden Meyer, longtime conference observer for the European think tank E3G.

The document reaffirms the goals set in Paris in 2015 to limit warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, with a stricter target of trying to keep warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) preferred because it would keep damage from climate change “much lower”.

Highlighting the challenge of achieving these goals, the document “expresses concern and concern that human activities have caused approximately 1.1 C (2 F) of global warming to date and that the impacts are already being felt in each region”.

Small island nations, which are particularly vulnerable to warming, fear that too little is being done to stop warming at the 1.5 degree target – and that allowing temperature increases of up to 2 degrees would be catastrophic for their people. country.

“For the Pacific (Small Island States), climate change is the greatest and the greatest threat to our livelihoods, security and well-being. We don’t need more scientific evidence or goals without plans to achieve them or without discussion workshops, ”Marshall Islands Minister of Health and Social Services Bruce Bilimon told fellow negotiators on Wednesday. “The limit of 1.5 is not negotiable.”

Separate draft proposals were also released on other issues debated in the talks, including the rules of international carbon markets and the frequency with which countries are required to report on their efforts.

The project calls on countries that do not have national targets corresponding to the 1.5 or 2 degree limits to come back with more ambitious targets next year. Depending on how the language is interpreted, the provision could apply to most countries. World Resources Institute analysts saw this as a victory for vulnerable countries.

“This is crucial language,” WRI International Climate Initiative director David Waskow said on Wednesday. “Countries are really expected and are about to do something within this time frame to adapt. “

Morgan of Greenpeace said it would have been even better to set a requirement for new targets each year.

In a nod to one of the big problems for the poorest countries, the project vaguely “urges” developed countries to compensate developing countries for “loss and damage,” a phrase that some rich countries do not. do not like. But there are no concrete financial commitments.

“This is often the most difficult time,” said Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Development Program and former head of the United Nations environment office, of the state of the two-week talks .

“The first week is over, you suddenly recognize that there are a number of fundamentally different issues that are not easily resolved. Time is running out, ”he told The Associated Press.

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