The trajectory of ongoing talks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) does not match aspirations going into the summit, with the current draft agreement off track in terms of key climate targets.
So far, the draft urges nation states to ‘revisit and strengthen’ their commitments for 2030 within the next year, in order to meet the global target of keeping temperatures from rising by 2C, although tangible legislation has not yet been considered to enforce these commitments.
Revisions have also been made in the second draft of the text that appear to exclude earlier proposed plans. While the core issue of fossil fuel reduction has been retained, with countries pledging to phase out coal usage, there has been an overall softening of language throughout the second agreement. Nation states were previously ‘urged’ to revise their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in the first draft, for example; they are now simply being ‘requested’ to amend them.
Green Party co-leader, Carla Denyer, commented: “It’s clear from the draft final agreement that world leaders are failing to achieve the diplomatic breakthrough we need to prevent catastrophic climate change.
“The draft agreement clearly fails to keep 1.5 alive – it has the world on track for warming well above 2 degrees and instead of making essential commitments now, it proposes kicking the can down the road with more discussions through the 2020s.
“During the months when the climate deal should have been the top priority the Conservative government was distracted by Brexit wrangling and more recently they have lost focus due to sleaze within their own party.
“But as WWF said today, three days is a long time in climate diplomacy. The people who share this planet demand that in these last few days the UK presidency moves heaven and earth to keep 1.5 alive.
“The UK government could show leadership on both fossil fuels and climate finance that could help take us towards the stronger agreement the climate needs. We need action now and time is short to avoid COP26 turning into a historic failure.”