COP26: Last push to finalise eco-deal as conference runs into extra time

Alok Sharma President of the Cop26 climate summit takes part in a plenary session during the official final scheduled day of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow yesterday.
Alok Sharma President of the Cop26 climate summit takes part in a plenary session during the official final scheduled day of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow yesterday.

Talks are expected to go into Saturday afternoon with negotiators still hammering out finance packages to help poorer countries adapt to climate change

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Negotiators have been working to hammer out a deal at the Cop26 talks as the conference spilled over into another day.

The talks are expected to go into Saturday afternoon, with new versions of texts which set out agreements on climate action set to be published in the morning and countries due to come back to another meeting later in the day.

Key issues focus around doubling finance to help poor countries adapt to climate change and a facility to support them for the loss and damage they are facing from rising seas and more extreme weather.

A bid to get countries to come back next year with stronger emissions cutting plans to limit dangerous warming, and a push to accelerate the phase out of “unabated coal and subsidies for inefficient fossil fuels” are all being debated.

And negotiators are trying to find agreement on delivering workable carbon markets and on transparency so it is clear the action countries are taking on emissions.

Boris Johnson believes “an ambitious outcome is in sight” at Cop26, according to a readout of his call with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Friday evening.

Extinction Rebellion Red Rebels during the official final day of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.
Extinction Rebellion Red Rebels during the official final day of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “They discussed progress in the ongoing Cop26 negotiations in Glasgow and agreed that an ambitious outcome is in sight.”

And she said: “The leaders committed to work together to help resolve outstanding issues in the talks and reach an agreement at Cop26 that works for all countries.”

At an afternoon plenary on Friday, countries set out their views on the latest drafts of the agreements that could be secured at the UN conference, which had been published earlier in the day.

Many developing countries called for more finance for poorer nations to develop cleanly and adapt to the changing climate, and for support for loss and damage.

A range of countries called for stronger action on phasing out fossil fuels after language on accelerating a phase-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels was weakened in the latest draft of the overarching “cover decision” that could be secured at the talks.

And there were warnings that limiting temperature rises to 1.5C, beyond which the worst impacts of climate change will be felt, was a “matter of life and death”.

Climate activists protesting during the official final day of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.
Climate activists protesting during the official final day of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

In the Paris Agreement in 2015, countries committed to limit temperature rises to “well below” 2C and try to limit them to 1.5C to avoid the most dangerous impacts of storms, droughts, crop failures, floods and disease.

Scientists have warned that keeping temperature rises to 1.5C requires global emissions to be cut by 45% by 2030, and to zero overall by mid-century.

But despite countries being required to update their action plans, known as nationally determined contributions, for emissions cuts up to 2030 in the run-up to Glasgow, the latest pledges leave the world well off track to meet the goal.

Therefore, countries are under pressure to come up with a deal in Glasgow that will see them rapidly increase their ambition for emission cuts in the 2020s to stop the 1.5C goal slipping out of reach – as well provide the finance for developing countries to cope with the crisis.

At the meeting of countries on Friday, Cop26 President Alok Sharma urged negotiators to put in a final injection of can-do spirit, and to deliver on the high ambition set by world leaders at the start of the summit.