COP26 | “This is the moment of truth for our planet”

(Glasgow) Vivid calls grew on Saturday at COP26 for the 200 or so participating countries to set aside their own interests to accept the settlement on the table at a “moment of truth” in order to curb global warming.

Stéphane Urgolet and Amelie Butler Dubois
France media agency

The draft of the new final declaration of the global climate conference published by the British presidency on Saturday did not lead to the hoped-for progress, but the plenum, postponed by several hours, highlighted a desire on Saturday afternoon for a compromise. .

“This is a moment of truth for our planet and it is also a moment of truth for our children and grandchildren,” Alok Sharma, British President of COP 26 told delegates.

Photo by Yves Hermann, Reuters

COP26 President Alok Sharma

He admitted that the world had not fulfilled the promises of the Paris Agreement, and said that the text “recognizes this fact and calls for a response”, and demanded that delegations adopt this text, which he called “balance.”

“We are at a negotiating point where your delegation may be wondering if you can use this time to get more for your country, region and group. I implore you not to do that,” he added after two weeks of negotiations that have already exceeded 24 hours.

The British goal stated at this COP is to “maintain” the more ambitious target of the Paris Agreement, to limit warming to 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era.


While the world, according to the United Nations, is still on the “catastrophic” path of warming +2.7 degrees Celsius, the new text maintains this COP’s progress in terms of reducing emissions and fossil fuels, the two main sources of greenhouse gases. .

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The representative of China emphasized that he did not intend to “re-open” negotiations on the text, as it was “incomplete” as it is.

Portrait of Alberto Pezzali, Associated Press

US climate envoy John Kerry (right) talks with China’s chief negotiator Zi Zhenhua (left) and COP26 chief Alok Sharma.

The Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, also stressed the “risk of getting stuck in this marathon in the last meters before the finish line” should discussions on this latest proposal reopen.

Photo by Yves Hermann, Reuters

US climate envoy John Kerry with European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.

These debates are complicated by a mistrust of poor countries – least responsible for global warming but on the front line in the face of its effects – given that rich countries have yet to deliver on their 2009 promises to deliver climate aid from 2020 onwards. in the South to $100 billion a year.

And the latest text does not make much progress on the issue at the heart of the tensions of recent days – lamented by Fiji, the Marshall Islands or Tuvalu, which may be in waves.

Nor at the request of developing countries for a specific mechanism to take into account the “loss and damage”, that is, the damage already caused by the devastating effects of storms, droughts and increasing heat waves. Mohamed Addo of the NGO Power Shift Africa denounced “rich countries are pushing for a system that will lead to a forum of constant conversation”.

But the developing countries nevertheless indicated their intention to accept, reluctantly, the absence of their proposal in the text.

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On behalf of the negotiating Group of 77 + China (more than 100 developing and emerging countries), which has led the fight in recent days, Guinean Amadou Sibouri Toure expressed his “extreme disappointment” on this point, stressing that in the “spirit” of the settlement, “we can For the group” live “with her.

“Right” to the excavations

Another very controversial point, the unprecedented reference in a text to this level of fossil fuels, the main responsible for global warming and which was not even mentioned in the Paris Agreement, was retained in this third version of the draft declaration, much to the chagrin of the producing countries.

The text, which has been scaled back to releases, now calls on member states to “accelerate efforts toward ending coal-fired power without takeover regimes.” [de CO2] and ineffective fossil fuel subsidies,” while the early versions notably did not include the terms “efforts” and “inefficiencies.”

On this point, India has raised a dissenting voice. “Developing countries have the right to their fair share of the global carbon budget and responsible use of fossil fuels,” said Environment Minister Bhubandar Yadav.

On greenhouse gas emissions, the new text did not change the call for member states to increase their reduction commitments more regularly than under the Paris Agreement, starting in 2022.

But with adjustments possible for “certain national conditions,” the point added Friday, which has drawn criticism from NGOs about the real ambition of states to curb rising temperatures.

Delegates would also like to finally come to the end of discussions on the last remaining rules for the use of the Paris Agreement, in particular on the performance of carbon markets. Negotiations over this hotly contested article failed at the last two COPs.

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