The first draft of a climate deal has been published at the United Nations COP26 talks in Glasgow, spelling out what actions countries will take to slow global warming.
The draft is only six pages long and has called on countries to re-evaluate their climate targets and put in place greater ambitions in order to limit global warming.
Adaptation to climate change, which explains exactly how countries will build the necessary resilience to cope with and survive the changing climate, is the first thing that the draft text has touched on. It says “parties note with serious concern that every additional increment of global warming worsens climate and weather extremes and their impacts on people and nature” and “emphasizes the urgency of scaling up action and support to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change in line with science and the priorities and needs of developing country Parties”.
Financing for adaptation and mitigation of climate change has often been a thorny issue at all Conference of Parties (COP) on climate change, and COP26 is no different. This is because poor countries blame rich countries for causing the climate crisis, and demand that they fund poor nations so that they can build the needed resilience.
The draft text noted “with serious concern that the available provisions of climate finance for adaptation are insufficient to fully respond to worsening climate change impacts on developing countries, and urged developed countries to scale up their provision of climate funding”.
The other critical issue that has been addressed in the draft is loss and damage, which is a matter close to Africa’s heart. Countries have acknowledged that climate change has already and will increasingly cause loss and damage and, as temperatures rise, impacts from climate and weather extremes, as well as slow onset events, will pose an ever-greater social, economic and environmental threat.
In light of this, countries have called for urgency in scaling up action and support — including finance, technology transfer and capacity building — for implementing approaches for averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Over the past few years, scientists have called for an end to carbon emissions, because life on the planet was quickly becoming unbearable due to climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that the world only has eight years left to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with the Paris Agreement.
To do so, carbon emissions need to be cut by 45 per cent by 2030. However, latest analysis indicates even if all countries implemented their climate action plans as submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it still wouldn’t be enough to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target. In fact, the earth is on a path to warm by 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.
At COP-26, however, a lot more pledges on cutting carbon emissions have been made, and many countries, including Kenya, pledging to be Net Zero by 2050. Those pledges have been analysed and a new report now says despite the pledges, the world is on track to heat by 2.4 degrees Celsius, contrary to earlier estimates of 1.8 degrees Celsius.
Because of this analysis, the draft agreement has called on countries to review their 2030 targets, rework their climate action plans — formally known as Nationally Determined Contributions — and resubmit them by November 2022, when the world meets for another round of climate negotiations (COP27) in Cairo, Egypt.
This specific clause is thought to be targeted at China, India and Saudi Arabia, who have set carbon cutting targets beyond 2050. China and Saudi Arabia pledged to transition to net zero in 2060, while China pledged 2070. These three countries are some of the world’s top emitters of carbon and, therefore, their pledges will have an impact on the overall outcome of the COP.
Eyes are now on them to see how they respond to this request.
However, this draft has to be discussed and its contents negotiated by all countries represented at the UN climate talks, before a final deal is published at the end of the week.