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THE BOTTOM LINES: Here Are the Issues that Will Make or Break COP 26

With high-level talks at COP 26 entering their final couple of days, negotiators are receiving some focused advice on the issues that will make or break the success of the conference that world leaders have called the “last, best chance” to get the climate emergency under control.

The new input on the “incremental” progress of the negotiations landed on their desks this morning courtesy of ECO, the daily COP newsletter from Climate Action Network-International that many delegates treat as influential, essential reading during the annual conference. Today’s ECO scorches draft segments of this year’s COP decision that “fail to reflect the urgency being called for by the people of the world, especially those already suffering the impacts of climate change.” With that, ECO declares that the latest negotiating text drafted by the United Kingdom, in its capacity as this year’s COP President, “is a floor,” and “we must look to raising the ceiling.”

After nearly two weeks of deliberation on issues that governments have been following and discussing for years, ECO points to a worrying imbalance between climate mitigation decisions aimed at driving down greenhouse gas emissions, and the financial and practical support for countries on the front lines of the climate crisis. From what they’ve agreed so far, “ECO wonders whether Parties misunderstood that we are in fact experiencing increasing climate impacts as we currently move on an uncertain temperature pathway.” The newsletter calls for “more clarity on how the solidarity elements around loss and damage finance, adaptation, and finance more generally are to be mobilized in time and in sufficient quantity to address existing and future needs of developing countries.”

The newsletter also calls out the “gross inadequacy of the existing pledges of mitigation targets and finance and the need to bring these in line with the 1.5°C goal,” commenting that “we need urgency rather than ‘urging’, perhaps.” Also lacking in the current draft is any sense of “the wider potential for sustainable development that realizes co-benefits across a variety of social and environmental challenges,” or of the most basic human right to a clean, healthy, sustainable environment.

ECO challenges delegates to:

• Recognize the irrevocable loss and damage from climate disasters as an issue of climate justice, and open the door for loss and damage impact studies to be presented at next year’s COP;

• Boost financial support for people around the world who are already losing their homes, livelihoods, and even lives to climate impacts”;

• Recognize the power of community-based climate adaptation measures that are led from the ground up;

• Add a firm commitment from developed countries to bring their adaptation finance up to 50% of total public climate finance by 2025;

• Commit to annual increases in countries’ emission reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement until they line up with a 1.5°C limit on average global warming;

• Recognize nature and ecosystem protection as “an essential component of keeping 1.5°C within reach,” to be “carried out as well as, not instead of, ending the use of fossil fuels,” and in a way that respects Indigenous and other human rights;

• Accelerate the global energy transition with a “strong broadside against fossil fuels”;

• Commit developed countries to correct their stunning failure to deliver $100 billion per year in international climate finance by 2020, a promise they first made in 2009, and to recognize the importance of financing based on grants, rather than loans;

• Put more emphasis on an upcoming “global stocktake” that is “the guardian of the Paris Agreement”, a moment when governments will need time and front-line communities will need access to be able to fully assess progress on a global deal that “is about saving lives, cultures, and livelihoods.”

This morning’s ECO also includes a post from Indigenous representatives declaring their “red line” that the COP cover decision must include stronger language on human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples than delegates have apparently been willing to consider so far.

2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "THE BOTTOM LINES: Here Are the Issues that Will Make or Break COP 26"

#1 Comment By Yvon CORMIER On November 11, 2021 @ 10:33 AM

World leaders (COP26) must put their plans in order and realize that:
1. The use of fosil fuel ‘cannot be abolished until a reliable, 24-7-365 energy system is in place’. Where hydro is not available in sufficient quantities, Intermittent solar and/or wind source needs a back-up source, such as nuclear energy, which in recent years became ‘relatively very safe to use’. Natural gas is the next immediately available source.
2. Countries or provinces that needs and uses dual systems are paying close to 2 or 3 times the cost of other countries or privinces, compared to the province of Quebec, with abundant hydro power. Therefore, the Quebec province are the most likely type of government capable of helping other jurisdiction to afford helping other jurisdictions transition away from the use of fosil fuel.
3. PLEASE REALIZE
that jurisdictions that needs dual power sources (because they invested in solar and wind) are facing financial ruins and are in no position to help a quick (a few decades) transition from fosil fuel.
My two cents : Yvon Cormierf

#2 Comment By Mitchell Beer On November 11, 2021 @ 12:04 PM

Thanks for this, Yvon. I would encourage you to read further in three very important areas:

* The rapid fall in the cost of energy storage options, beginning with batteries but extending to options like pumped storage in hydro facilities that have already been built;

* Modelling for North America and Europe (I haven’t heard about similar studies that may have covered other regions) that points to a more integrated power grid in which a surplus in one area can meet reliability needs elsewhere; and

* Underlying it all, energy efficiency options that get overall demand under control and, in Canada, can free up enough wasted electricity to power an estimated 10 million electric vehicles.

Unlike nuclear, these options are now practical, affordable, and ready for prime time — with some tough details in some cases that need to be worked out, but nowhere near as tough as the “details” people are living with right now in the climate emergency. And unlike nuclear, they don’t run the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation, which I guess makes renewables and efficiency downright boring in one of the best ways imaginable.

The financial ruin, in the form of climate devastation for citizens and trillions in stranded assets for fossil producers and utilities, comes from ignoring the opportunity to change until it’s too late to get it right. As we’ve been hearing at the COP, we really need to get on with it, because time is running short. For so many people whose plight was brought forward throughout the two weeks, it’s already too late. If we give half a damn about how and how quickly we get this done, we really have to stop leaving people behind.