The United States and China, the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, have unveiled a deal to step up cooperation on tackling climate change, including by cutting methane emissions, phasing out coal consumption and protecting forests. The framework agreement was announced by US climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua at the UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland and was billed by both as a way to make the summit a success.
The head of the UN climate conference had previously acknowledged that countries’ climate commitments so far in talks would do too little to tame global warming and urged them to “get to work” on a ambitious deal during the remaining two days of negotiations “Together we expressed our support for a successful COP26, including certain elements that will further the ambition,” Kerry told a news conference about the deal between Washington and Beijing. “Every step is important now and we have a long journey ahead of us.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Xie Zhenhua told reporters that the deal would strengthen China’s emissions reduction targets. “Both sides will collaborate and work with other parties to ensure a successful COP26 and enable a result that is both ambitious and balanced,” said Xie. An initial draft of the COP26 deal, released earlier in the day, received mixed reactions from climate activists and experts. Nearly 200 countries present in Glasgow have until the end of Friday’s two-week meeting to agree on a final text.
In an implicit admission that current commitments https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/new-promises-glasgow-climate-talks-2021-11-02 were insufficient to prevent a climate catastrophe, asks draft countries to “review and strengthen” by the end of next year their targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans told Reuters that the US-China agreement offered room for hope.
“It’s really encouraging to see those countries that disagreed in so many areas have come to an agreement on what is the greatest challenge facing humanity today,” he said. “It also shows that the US and China know that this topic transcends other issues. And it certainly helps us here at COP to come to an agreement.”
Negotiations are likely to be fierce for the next two days. While some developed countries point the finger at major polluters such as China, India and Russia, poorer countries are accusing the rich world of failing to deliver on promises of financial aid to tackle the ravages of climate change.
While delegations watched the wording of the final statement, a group of countries, companies and cities watched on another pledge in Glasgow to phase out fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. Major automakers agree to phase out fossil fuel vehicles by 2040, says 2021-11-10. The overarching goal of the conference is to keep alive hopes of limiting global temperatures to 1.5 decrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, which is well out of reach based on current commitments from countries to reduce emissions.
That ambitious target was set during the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015. Since then, there has been mounting scientific evidence that crossing the 1.5°C threshold would cause significantly greater sea-level rises, floods, droughts, wildfires and storms than the current ones, with irreversible consequences. EXTENDED COAL
The draft paper urged countries to accelerate their efforts to stop burning coal and phase out fossil fuel subsidies, targeting directly the coal, oil and gas that produce carbon dioxide, the main cause of human-induced climate change, although there is no set date to phase them out. By laying down rules to require countries to upgrade their pledges next year – a key request from countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – it aims to keep the 1.5C target in sight.
Sharma said he would not push for an extension of the conference beyond Friday’s scheduled closure. Soberingly, the research group Climate Action Tracker said on Tuesday that all of the national pledges made so far to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 would raise the Earth’s temperature by 2.4°C. cop/world-track-24c-global-warming-after-latest-pledges-analysts-2021-11-09 v 2100.
Greenpeace dismissed the draft as an inadequate response to the climate crisis, calling it “a polite request that countries might do more next year”. Helen Mountford, a vice president of the World Resources Institute, said the explicit reference to fossil fuels was an advance on previous climate summits, and warned major emitters could try to scrap it as talks continue.
“The real problem will be whether it can be kept inside,” she said. WHO PAYS?
The final text will not be legally binding, but will bear the political weight of the nearly 200 countries that have signed the Paris Agreement. The design evades poorer countries’ demands for guarantees that rich countries provide much more money to help them curb their emissions and deal with the effects of rising temperatures.
It “urges developed countries to “urgently scale” aid to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and says more funding is needed in the form of grants, rather than loans burdening poor countries with more debt, but it contains no new plan to provide that money — prompting climate-vulnerable island nations to say they will push final negotiations for clearer commitments.
“The level of ambition needed to keep 1.5 within reach is not yet reflected in the financial texts,” Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi, chairman of the least developed countries group in the UN climate talks, said at the conference on Wednesday. Rich countries have broken their 2009 pledge to give poorer countries $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020, and now expect to deliver it three years late. That broken promise has damaged confidence and prompted poor countries to seek stricter rules for future funding.
(additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Bhargav Acharya; Writing by Kate Abnett, Gavin Jones, Kevin Liffey; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Richard Valdmanis)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)