UN climate talks being held in Glasgow are ending without much progress. Around 200 countries are participating in the COP26 summit called by the UN chief for world leaders to join hands and speed up efforts to curtail a “climate catastrophe”.
Britain’s president of the COP26 summit Alok Sharma said, “There is still a lot more work to be done. The world is watching us”. The conference aimed at keeping the 2015 Paris Agreement’s ambitious target to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and prevent the vilest effects of climate change.
However, the existing pledges made by countries to cut emissions this decade is according to research insufficient, and the planet will be hitting levels of global warming far beyond that limit, unleashing catastrophic sea level rises, floods as well as droughts.
A revised draft document released on Friday appeared to weaken the language regarding the phasing out of fossil fuels. European Union climate policy chief Frans Timmermans had said on Thursday that removing that language “would be an extremely, extremely bad signal”.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons said the draft had removed the language owing to “strong opposition from fossil fuel states including Saudi Arabia and China.”
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that fossil fuels will be phased out because a potential get-out clause is there,” Simmons continued.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Governments need to pick up the pace and show the necessary ambition on mitigation, adaptation, and finance in a balanced way. We cannot settle for the lowest common denominator. We know what must be done.”
Developed vs developing countries
Issues pertaining to financing continue to loom over the talks, as developing countries push for tougher rules to make sure that rich countries, who are largely responsible for heating up the planet, commit more cash to aid the poorest nations to deal with climate impacts.
Trust levels also lowered as developed countries failed to provide the $100bn a year that they had promised to provide by 2020.
European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans told the AFP news agency that “We have made steps forward”.
He added, “It’s not enough to address the issue that we face, but we’re having a completely different conversation now than we had only a couple of months ago. Adaptation has really gone up on our global agenda.”