Climate commitments must be kept, says Cop26 president Alok Sharma
Countries must live up to the commitments they made last week in the COP26 talks, conference chairman Alok Sharma said as the trade end of the negotiations looms.
UN climate talks enter their second week with the arrival of ministers for the political phase of negotiations, while on Monday the focus is also on supporting poorer countries to cope with change climate.
It comes after leaders and countries signed a series of initiatives last week, ranging from tackling deforestation to cutting coal power and cutting back on methane to avoid dangerous global warming.
Mr Sharma said finding consensus among nearly 200 countries – necessary for an agreement under the United Nations climate system – was not going to be easy, but progress over the past week demonstrated a “constructive spirit” among negotiators.
The announcements made by countries last week are not necessarily included in their national action plans for this decade, leaving the world a long way from achieving the internationally agreed target of trying to limit global warming to 1, 5 ° C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Negotiators are trying to come up with a Glasgow “hedging decision” that will explain how countries will close the gap between action plans to reduce emissions during this decade and what is needed to avoid increases in emissions. temperature above 1.5 ° C.
Vulnerable countries are pushing nations to revise their plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), every year to close the gap, but others are opposed to accelerating the process from its five-year cycle.
Mr Sharma said: “Here in Glasgow we have a unique opportunity to achieve a historic result and I am committed to bringing countries together to forge a deal which means we will see more action this decade which helps keep the 1.5 ° C temperature limit close at hand. “
He said there was an urgent need in the negotiations and warned: “Last week countries made commitments that will all help protect our planet, but they must be kept and acted upon. “
Getting countries to scale up their ambition this decade is a topic of debate, as is financing for the poorest countries to develop properly and cope with climate impacts, and financing for them to cope. to loss and damage.
Ministers are also to work out the final parts of the Paris Agreement – under which countries agreed in 2015 to limit temperature increases to “well below” 2C, or 1.5C to avoid the worst impacts of warming – to make it operational.
On Monday morning, countries will meet for an update from the presidency on the past week and the progress of the negotiations.
Over the weekend, Greenpeace activists accused Saudi negotiators of trying to block the “cover decision” – a final statement from Cop26 that could include a pledge to accelerate action to achieve the goal 1.5C – and delay adaptation efforts.
Meanwhile, the UK, as host of the summit, is focusing Monday on supporting developing countries to adapt to climate impacts and the loss and damage caused by rising seas, increasingly intense storms, droughts and forest fires.
As part of its target, the UK government has announced plans to invest nearly £ 300million to help the most vulnerable countries tackle the impacts of rising temperatures.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will convene a ministerial session with ministers from at least 26 countries and regions, including the United States and the European Commission.
Ms Trevelyan, UK government champion for Cop26 adaptation and resilience, will urge countries to do more to support developing countries, while announcing a financial commitment from Westminster.
It comes as a Christian Aid report warns that some of the most vulnerable countries could suffer an average of 64% damage to their economies by 2100 under current climate pollution policies.
Mr Sharma said that on Monday the spotlight would be on the most vulnerable countries – which would still suffer the negative consequences of rising temperatures even if pollution stopped tomorrow – and they would be so throughout the negotiations.
“They and the generations to come will not forgive us if we fail to deliver in Glasgow. “
As talks enter their second week, former US President Barack Obama – a veteran of the failed UN climate summit in Copenhagen and the successful meeting in Paris that secured the first treaty Global Climate Forum – will take part in a series of events in Glasgow.
They include a speech outlining the progress made in the five years since the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, highlighting the leadership of young people around the world and urging governments, the private sector, philanthropy and civil society to act more vigorously.
He will also meet with young leaders present at Cop26 to discuss how their generation is leading the fight against climate change.