The second draft of the final text landed in the early hours of this morning and is something of a mixed bag. Progress has been made in some key areas, but key details are still missing (not entirely surprising given the day is young and breakthroughs tend to happen only under the most intense time pressure).
Let’s start with the positive. The language on coal and fossil fuels has survived from the first draft. This may not sound like a win, but many expected references to both to be removed. The language has, however, been watered down – we’re now talking about “unabated” coal power and “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies. The industry will no doubt use this wording to back calls for greater focus on carbon capture and storage.
There has also been some movement on finance. Stung by criticism from developing countries that there was no mention of the USD100bn promised by developed nations in the first draft, the latest version expresses “deep regret” that this target has not been met. This will go some way to rebuilding trust, but without concrete pledges on finance, supported by detailed plans on how to deliver it, doubts will remain.
There was some movement. The language around adaptation and loss and damage was fleshed out, with more “urgent” calls for greater financial support alongside a “technical support facility”. The G77 + China has submitted proposals for a funded loss & damage facility, but we’ll have to wait till the final text to see whether they’re enough to make a material difference.
🔥The texts appear significantly more balanced with stronger elements on adaptation, finance and loss & damage. Also, the elements of the text aimed at speeding up action to close the gap towards emissions goals seem to have broadly survived the night. #COP26
— UN Climate Summit News (@UNClimateSummit) November 12, 2021
This does however fall some way short of what developing nations are asking for. Indeed many of the paragraphs on finance are just placeholders while negotiations continue. Rumours suggest that talks are blocked due to a disagreement between South African and the US over process and procedures. Meanwhile, the EU appears to be holding back on further commitments, concerned that others will not follow suit.
Pressure will ratchet up during the day and, potentially, overnight, not least regarding the thorny issue of double counting which, if allowed, would undermine the carbon markets that many countries are relying on to meet their NDC targets. Negotiations will go down to the wire.
There is, however, a feeling in some quarters that the draft text does not fully represent the progress being made in the negotiations. The next few hours will decide whether these hopes are justified.