Draft outcome agreement released to drive net zero commitment – COP26

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Phasing out of coal and adaptation and funding for developing countries are among focusses of the document.

The seven page draft published by the UN climate agency, which will form the focus of negotiations during the final days of COP26, reaffirms the Paris Agreement goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

At the same time, it strengthens the push to limit the increase to 1.5°C, with greenhouse gas emission reductions including CO2 emission reductions by 45% by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero around 2050.

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“This requires meaningful and effective action by all parties in this critical decade on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge”, the document states, as it urges parties to strengthen their 2030 targets and to communicate their strategies for net zero emissions by or around 2050 before the end of 2022.

The latest assessment based on nationally determined contributions of the majority of Paris Agreement signatories has greenhouse gas emissions plateauing in 2030 at 13.7% above the 2010 level.

The draft calls on parties to accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuel, although without specifying targets or dates, and it also emphasises the “critical importance” of “nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches”, including protecting and restoring forests to reducing emissions, enhancing removals and protecting biodiversity.

With the claims that the wealthier countries are not contributing enough to the developing world, the draft urges developed countries to urgently scale up their provision of climate finance to assist developing countries with both mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The level needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including significantly enhanced support for developing country Parties, is beyond $100 billion per year, the document notes.

Early reactions have been mixed, with some commentators claiming the text of not going far or fast enough on emissions reductions to achieve the 1.5°C limit.

For example, Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Institute on Climate Change, was quoted as saying the draft includes all the key elements of a successful outcome, but there needs to be more ambition and more precision.

“It is clear that the current set of pledges on emissions are not yet consistent with having a reasonable chance of holding warming to no more than 1.5°C.”

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