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News > United Kingdom

COP26 New Draft Agreement Softens Demands on Fossil Fuels

  • Protests at COP26, Glasgow, U.K., Nov. 12, 2021.

    Protests at COP26, Glasgow, U.K., Nov. 12, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @COP26_Coalition

Published 12 November 2021
Opinion

While the first draft called on countries to accelerate the end of coal and fossil fuel subsidies, the new text demands the elimination of "inefficient fossil fuel subsidies." 

On Friday, the British presidency of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) presented a new draft of the final agreement, which calls for fewer efforts from developed countries in the fight against climate change.

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While the first draft called on countries to "accelerate the end of coal and fossil fuel subsidies", the new text limits itself to calling for the elimination of "inefficient fossil fuel subsidies" and dilutes that request in a paragraph on the development of new clean technologies.

The summit "calls on the parties to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies and the adoption of policies to transition towards low-emission energy systems, rapidly increasing the generation of clean energy and accelerating the elimination of carbon and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels," states the draft agreement that should be examined in the COP26 plenary.

Given that the inclusion of fossil fuels for the first time in a UN document raised great suspicions among rich countries, this issue is expected to be one of the most contentious points in today's negotiations.

The new draft asks countries to review and strengthen their 2030 national emission reduction plans (NDC) before the end of 2022 in order to make them compatible with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.

Although the summit is scheduled to end on Friday afternoon, the number of remaining discrepancies, especially on issues such as financing for developing countries to adapt, make it presumable that the negotiations could be extended into the weekend.

“The best thing about COP26 was the protests. World leaders flew in and talked a lot of hot air, but on the streets people expressed their frustration about the lack of actual progress,” said Vroni Holzmann, a Scottish cartoonist.

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