Pressure intensifies on EU to push through climate deal

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The Cop26 summit faces winding final hours as negotiators attempt to strengthen a declaration and add greater urgency to the global response to the climate crisis – with the greatest pressure on the EU to quash she crosses the line.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday tried to push negotiators to a more ambitious outcome, while Cop26 President Alok Sharma warned time was running out, adding “the window to the maintain 1.5 [degrees] at hand closes ”.

With 197 countries stuck in negotiations on a second version of a draft agreement, a wave of small protests were organized inside the Cop26 site, on its outskirts and throughout the city. Activists deflated the tires of around 60 4X4s in the western part of the city in protest against the cars’ high levels of emissions.

The announcements made in Glasgow “on forests, methane, clean technology and more” were encouraging, said Mr Guterres. “But they are far from sufficient. The emissions gap remains a devastating threat. The financing and adaptation gap is a blatant injustice to the developing world.

“The promises ring hollow when the fossil fuel industry still receives trillions according to IMF measures,” he added, “or when countries are still building coal plants. Governments need to pick up the pace and show the necessary ambition – we cannot settle for the lowest common denominator. ”

“Vulnerable countries”

If the EU does not lead and build the necessary high-ambition coalition, no one else will, the independent European climate think tank E3G said Thursday evening. “There is an immediate opportunity for the EU to build on the political momentum of the first week and the US-China statement to build confidence that the trillions will be mobilized for developing and vulnerable countries for the the net zero and climate change resilient transformation we need. . ”

Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Australia reportedly resisted efforts to tighten emission reduction requirements, while vulnerable countries sought stronger commitments on adaptation, loss and damage and climate finance and moved forward. beyond the issue of providing $ 100 billion per year, to include “the mobilization of trillions across the entire global financial architecture,” he added.

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said removing a textual reference to phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies would be a very bad signal – a view strongly echoed by the Minister of Climate Eamon Ryan.

“If you remove it from the text, what’s the message you’re sending out there?” Because the only way for humanity to learn to live within the limits of the planet is to get rid of the dependence on fossil fuels that make our survival impossible, ”added Mr. Timmermans.

“Close to the abyss”

He said the rulebook for the implementation of the Paris climate agreement could be completed at Cop26. One of the main outcomes of the summit would be to agree on the regulation, which sets out detailed guidance on how countries are to implement the goals agreed in Paris in 2015. “This will allow us to start delivering. which was agreed six years ago in a way that is transparent for everyone and accountable for everyone, ”he said.

Mr Ryan, who is negotiating on behalf of the EU, said in a briefing that the issue of climate finance could be the last item to cross the line, with the hope that Cop26 will run through the weekend. end. He confirmed that Mr Guterres had attended an EU coordination meeting and stressed “when you are close to the abyss, your next step is important”.

Irish climate activist and FaithInvest director Lorna Gold said Elders president Mary Robinson’s emotional intervention on Thursday “really changed the tone”.

“Leading now requires vulnerability to pass through ‘blah’. Name what is at stake. This is under our supervision. I think governments today see that the time has come to choose which side of history they want to be on, ”she added.

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