COP26's latest draft deal focuses on ambitious climate goals with talks in overtime
A delegate walks past a sign during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 11, 2021. /Reuters

A delegate walks past a sign during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 11, 2021. /Reuters

A new draft agreement for the United Nations (UN) climate conference in Glasgow on Saturday maintained a core demand for countries to set more ambitious plans to tackle global warming and asked them to phase out inefficient subsidies for the fossil fuels heating the planet.

The proposal retained its core demand for nations to set tougher climate pledges next year, in a bid to bridge the gap between their current plans to cut emissions this decade and the far deeper reductions scientists say are needed to stop global temperatures rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius and becoming catastrophic.

The draft deal attempts to unblock talks on finance, which have dominated the COP26 summit, by offering reassurances that rich countries, whose emissions are largely responsible for causing climate change, will provide finance to poorer nations that are facing huge costs from worsening storms, droughts and rising sea levels. 

It asks rich nations to double by 2025, from 2019 levels, their financial support to help poor countries to adapt to climate impacts. The previous draft deal had used 2020 levels as the baseline, and nations will lock horns on Saturday about whether the latest version would deliver sufficient money.

The draft COP26 deal would also fund an organization dedicated to helping vulnerable countries cope with "loss and damage" – the huge costs they have already incurred from climate change.

It maintained a request that countries phase out "unabated coal power" – referring to power plants that do not use technology to capture their CO2 emissions – as well as "inefficient fossil fuel subsidies."

But its request that countries "accelerate efforts towards" doing this appeared weaker than a previous draft, which had clearly asked countries to phase them out faster.

Negotiations stretch

The draft proposal, drawn up by the COP26 conference's British hosts, needs approval from the nearly 200 countries represented, who will wrangle over the details on Saturday. 

The conference president, Alok Sharma, urged an injection of "can-do spirit" to the COP26 which were supposed to finish on Friday.

The draft deal would be the first mention of fossil fuels in the conclusions of a UN climate summit, upon approval in the day's negotiations, Reuters reported. 

(With input from Reuters)

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