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.