Here is the summary of the ninth day of the COP26 in Glasgow on November 12, 2021:

Latest text

The latest COP26 draft political text landed at 7:13, and appears more balanced with stronger elements on adaptation, finance and loss & damage. The elements of the text aimed at speeding up action to close the gap towards emissions goals are there – with no radical changes from the previous version and dates still intact. The language on coal has been qualified but has survived the night, which many predicted it wouldn’t. 

  • Para 27: New UN work programme to scale up GHG cuts, reporting at COP27 in 2022
  • Para 28: ‘Urges’ [strong language] countries who have not landed new plans to do so by 2022
  • Para 29: Requests all countries to raise climate targets in line with 1.5°-2°C by and of 2022
  • Para 30: Commissions annual UN assessment of climate plans from 2022
  • Para 32: Urges [strong] countries to deliver net zero mid-century plans by 2022
  • Para 36: Signal to countries to accelerate shift off fossil fuels, coal to renewable energy
  • Para 44: Notes “deep regret” of developed countries for missing $100 billion target 
  • Para 46: Urges countries’ to ‘fully deliver on the $100 billion goal ‘urgently’ through 2025
  • Para 66: Welcomes further operationalisation of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage
  • Para 67: Decides [very strong] the Santiago Network will have a technical assistance facility to provide financial support for technical assistance on loss and damage 

COP26 text tracker: Updated traffic light assessment will be ready here shortly

UN legal language is complex and opaque but active verbs are central. We understand from UN veterans that “requests” is the second strongest wording in UN lingo, but just below “instructs,” not “decides” – which wouldn’t play in a nationally determined framework, and is stronger than the previous “urges.” In other “important details” news, CMA4 is next year’s COP 27 in Egypt.

Late night talks

Reports are that there have been intense consultations between the UK Presidency and lasted well into last night. UN boss Guterres said in a Thursday address: “We cannot settle for the lowest common denominator. We know what must be done. Keeping the 1.5 goal within reach means reducing emissions globally by 45 per cent by 2030.”  

Notice to the UK

14 senior advisors to the COP26 Presidency wrote to Alok Sharma on Thursday, urging him to ensure the summit ends with “measurable acceleration of action on mitigation, as well as adaptation and financing.” Signed by COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, ex UN envoy Rachel Kyte and former Unilever boss Paul Polman, the letter says the final text must ask countries for tougher plans “by COP27, or COP28 at the latest.”

Briefings / pressers – https://unfccc-cop26.streamworld.de/program 

  • 1100 – Informal Stocktaking by the President
  • 1430 – EU 
  • 1515 – Germany
  • 1600 – CAN International 

Ending fossil fuel subsidies aren’t new

Fossil fuel subsidies have been in binding UN text before the draft COP26 cover letter text. Calls to end fossil fuel subsidies were in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol – Article 2.1a (v). “Progressive reduction or phasing out of market imperfections, fiscal incentives, tax and duty exemptions and subsidies in all greenhouse gas emitting sectors that run counter to the objective of the Convention and apply market instruments.” Strictly speaking, it means this is still applicable now.

EU playing catch up

Commission officials held a briefing on Thursday to showcase what Brussels has been up to in the past 10 days following Wednesday’s US-China deal and this AVAAZ stunt. The EU’s lack of visibility had led to some calls for Italy to take charge but Commissioner Franz Timmermans claimed the EU was “active on all fronts” and negotiating “every single subject.” Sepi Golzari-Munro, director of climate think tank ECIU, suggested the European Union was “losing its mojo“.

Art action

At 10am the Glasgow Action Pact will stage an ‘art installation’ just outside the venue featuring some well known figures. Contact denise@glasgowactions.com /+1-608-320-6582 for more information.

Overheard chatter

  • EU: Backs fossil fuel language – “attach huge importance to reference coal exit and fossil fuel staying in the text… removing it would send a really really bad message.”
  • AOSIS: difficult to support an agreement that doesn’t reflect 45 percent GHG cuts by 2030.
  • LMDC: The issue is not to keep 1.5°C alive – but to keep the PA alive. 

**Check this Carbon Brief explainer on key negotiating alliances**

Climate money

Much of the finance pars in the new text are placeholders as negotiations continue. Rumours persist that talks are blocked due to a disagreement over process and procedures between South African and US negotiators. The EU is talking up its contributions on adaptation finance but hasn’t agreed to stronger text on doubling the pot, worrying other rich nations won’t fulfil their commitments. The text on the common goal for post 2025 finance remains bracketed.

What would success look like

This COP should i) agree to collectively double adaptation finance ii) agree a plan to define climate finance including countries’ needs, and establish a comprehensive process for a climate finance plan post 2025 iii) Establish a docking point for the financing of loss and damage iv) Acknowledge the missed $100 billion promised by 2020 and agree to $500 billion between 2020 and 2024.

Carbon markets

Negotiations over Article 6 technicalities are getting complicated with Art 6.2 para 11 of the Annex causing confusion about whether it’s double counting or not. If it is, the integrity of the whole agreement could be called into question. Brazil and Japan came out with a new proposal (not available online), but NGOs are saying it creates a two tier system for good and not so good credits, meaning it skews the market. REDD+ (avoided emissions from deforestation) is in, prompting talk about hypothetical future reductions by averting illegal logging. New text due later. For more email liz.gallagher@gsccnetwork.org

Slap in the face

“If offsets are a scam, double counting of emissions reductions is a slap in the face… negotiators must stop the greenwashing monster that the UN Secretary General warned against. We cannot leave Glasgow with an Article 6 Agreement that is littered with loopholes that undermine real climate action.” said Greenpeace’s COP26 lead Juan Pablo Osornio.

Full disclosure

The only enforcement the Paris Agreement has is international pressure which only works if countries can see and understand what others are doing. So far, it’s not clear who is gaming the system, who is cheating and what the metrics we need to be judged on are. Negotiators are agreeing on the format for and standards of the reports they will all file – the first reports due in 2024 – which means we need to get it done now to give countries time to learn to use the software. The technical talks have done their bit, this is now purely politics and will get traded off against other issues. Link to yesterday’s briefing here

Timeframes

The latest text calls for countries to do five years in 2025 (2035 targets) but has a second paragraph inviting countries who can’t commit to five years in 2025 to do so in 2030 (ie for 2040). But it doesn’t specify what countries who do so in 2030 would do in 2025 – and there’s a fear this would mean many countries setting ten year timeframes if they want. There’s intel suggesting this proposal came from Saudi.

Breakthrough on loss & damage?

Late Thursday, after contentious talks, a ministerial concluded with what could be a breakthrough, but the details remain vague. The G77 + China submitted proposals for a funded loss & damage facility. They want it founded here but with a process to provide recommendations to the next COP on how to get it up and running. CVF chair Saleemul Huq says there’s precedents for doing so. But it is unclear whether this would get support from countries like the US who have traditionally opposed big moves in this space. 

Danger money

Some developed countries are suggesting that the IMF’s special drawing rights – emergency currency distributed based on GDP size which can then be re-channelled to vulnerable countries – could be put in a trust and used for climate finance, including on loss and damage. However vulnerable countries were eyeing that to address their indebtedness as a result of the COVID crisis and the SDRs are a one-off, which climate impacts won’t be. 

UK in a Scottish bind

The Scottish Government re-announced plans to double its loss & damage / climate justice fund on Thursday, putting the UK hosts of COP26 in an awkward position as they have no plans to directly fund loss and damage. It won the First Minister the ‘Ray of the Day‘ from civil society and warm praise from activists. “The US is giving us zero dollars and the EU is giving us zero euros. But Scotland is giving us 2 million pounds… the true leader that has emerged here in COP26,” said Saleemul Huq.

MERCOSUR united

Yesterday, Paraguay joined ABU, the negotiating bloc created by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in 2016. This is the first time that the four members of MERCOSUR (Common Market of South America) join forces in the UNFCCC. Their aim is to agriculture at the top of the agenda.