Here is the summary of the ninth day of the COP26 in Glasgow on November 10, 2021:
US Chinese joint statement
Washington and Beijing released a surprise joint statement. Two views emerged overnight. One: This was an overhyped disappointment. There was nothing new bar words, nothing on coal, finance or loss and damage. The other: The methane and forest lines are positive, as is a new diplomatic alliance and foundation forged between bitter rivals after 30 meetings in 2021.
How big of a deal?
“The success of that cooperation will be judged on the outcome of COP26,” said Laurence Tubiana, Paris Agreement architect. Paragraph 12b is key, said Li Shuo, Greenpeace’s long-time talks observer, leaving the door open for tougher GHG cuts from both. “The language is carefully drafted for China to claim it’s ‘not re-negotiating Paris,’ [and] for the US to claim current NDCs are not the last word,” he says.
US and Chinese allies react
The deal will add a new dynamic into the talks, raising questions over China’s role in the BASIC and LMDC alliances it is a part of. Beijing extracted zero cash for developing nations from the US – which Oxfam/WRI suggests owes $40 billion a year – while brushing aside the 1.5°C target. China media was broadly positive, while NRDC and CAP were among the US think tanks praising the deal. While that was going on, the BASIC group issued a communique doubling down on demands to rich nations for promised funding.
There’s a strong push to finalise COP26: Mexico offered tequila to the UK delegation should talks conclude on time; Russia offered vodka. In a tense heads of delegation meeting yesterday evening, countries worked through the headline ‘CMA’ text that will form the main political outcome from COP26, perhaps in the next 48 hours. After the first draft dropped early on Wednesday, a new iteration is due soon.
This has been complex and at times difficult to pars COP. What’s emerging is that there is no universal goal here – party priorities are diverse, from the so-called 1.5°C ‘ratchet’, finance and support to a concluded rulebook and a range of sectoral deals that have marked both weeks. There is draining complexity to this meeting like no other, and with around 48 hours to run, people are getting tired.
Briefings / pressers
- 1030 – Chatham House’s Bernice Lee & ex-Australia negotiator Richie Merzian will offer an update on the talks & a guide on how the next 24-48 hours could roll. Register here.
- 1115 – LMDC
- 1145 – CAN International daily press conference
- 1245 – Launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Initiative
- 1330 – Paris Agreement architect Laurence Tubiana will give her assessment of the final stages of talks & set expectations for the final deal register here
- 1500 – EU
- Time TBC – Ex-UK chief negotiator Pete Betts & WRI’s Nathan Cogswell to brief media on latest in transparency talks & how they will factor in judging COP26
Track how the text evolves with this tracker, updated by a roster of analysts from civil society
Below is a cut of what was said at the Heads of Delegation meeting – a venue for senior diplomats. It doesn’t capture all views nor can it represent all opinions – so follow up directly with delegations with questions – but it offers a sense of the general sentiment and views inside the room.
- Saudi Arabia: Scrap any mention of fossil fuels in the decision text
- Russia: Offered vodka shots if it closes Friday/questioned fossil fuel language
- Guinea: Finance key – concern with lack of progress/L&D – positive but further work needed
- Bolivia: Not a balanced first text – a lot on mitigation ambition but not much on the rest.
- Chile: Appreciate language on fossil fuels/ambitious text/covers a lot of topics
- Solomon Islands: Strengthen ambition/balance with regards to adaptation and mitigation
- Australia: Welcome focus on ambition, IPCC refs and urgency of action
- Norway: Crisp message of keeping 1.5 within reach is important
- South Africa: Difficult to support outcome if nothing on Global Goal for Adaptation under CMA
- Bangladesh: Level of adaptation finance should be linked to mitigation/temp targets
- Mexico: Offered a bottle of tequila if it closes by Friday
- New Zealand: Welcome focus on 1.5C alignment. Matter of survival for many in the Pacific region.
- Brazil: Need is clear implementable language on adaptation and means of implementation
Over 60 organisations have joined with the 55 Climate Vulnerable Forum countries to sign on to a petition calling for a Glasgow Climate Emergency Pact in response to the draft text released overnight by the UK presidency. It includes annual assessment and revision of national climate plans and boosted finance, adaptation and loss and damage provisions. The CVF are hoping to get the pact in the official outcome of COP26.
Highlights from the CVF
The CVF press conference highlighted the need for action. “Our nations are burning on the frontline of a planet on fire,” said Abul Kalam Azad, Bangladesh prime minister envoy in a presser. “Given the $100 billion in climate finance is a failed promise, we need to see that change here at COP26,” added Ghana envoy Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng. “The text does not reflect the voices of the vulnerable and those in the streets. It completely ignores the calls of Antigua & Barbuda and Tuvalu,” said activist Harjeet Singh.
**COP26voices.org – if you need voices / analysis / quotes this is your one-stop-shop**
Update on finance
It is up to the presidency to balance that input and include it in a new text. On adaptation finance, the moves towards the 50 percent goal remain tense. Richer countries, like the US, want individual donors to double their pledges, but developing nations say that wouldn’t go far seeing as they start from a low base. Still, observers suggest EU ministers haven’t talked a single time about climate finance yet. That needs to happen fast.
Finding financial solutions
Solutions to resolve finance talks involve requesting parties to (1) collectively double adaptation finance from 2019 levels by 2025 (2) to work with relevant bodies and the entities of the UN/MDBs to enhance access to funds and (3) deliver $100 billion a year over 2020-25, acknowledging the passed deadline, and a robust process for post-2025 cash. For more, contact David Ryfisch at Germanwatch.
Off the radar
Some countries appear to have a lower than expected profile at COP. Germany, France, Japan, Mexico and Argentina are among submarine delegations, while the EU’s low profile is being noticed in the halls. Tiny negotiator numbers among Pacific Islands and other small islands are hampering their outreach efforts. Reuters’ Alister Doyle reported this was already a problem last week but, as the intensity of talks rises, it’s hammering coordination efforts among these smaller, under-resourced groups.
Article 6 update
Not much new in the new texts from yesterday morning. It’s a mixed bag and all options are on the table. Now it’s up to ministers to decide. Three sticking points referenced in the stocktake from yesterday include Share of Proceeds (adaptation finance levy), corresponding adjustments (double counting) and use of Kyoto credits (what do you do with old surplus credits no-one wants). This now enters end-game trade-offs with getting adaptation finance in the cover decision and NDC transparency negotiations.
Ending oil and gas
UK PM Johnson is being criticised for not joining an alliance of countries fixing a date to phase out oil and gas production – one of the headline ‘deals’ at COP26. No.10 is already under fire for various coal mines and offshore oil fields that are being proposed. The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) lands today, led by Costa Rica and Denmark, with some unusual names promised.