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COP26 inches to a close, for the first time including language on coal and fossil fuels phaseout


Watching the UNFCCC livestream

UN Climate Change conferences are reknowned for running extensively into overtime with last minute negotiations to try and salvage a way forward through the consensus process.

Draft texts are issued, debated, watered down, reissued, debated and further watered down until enough compromise has been achieved for consensus. It’s a tough process, especially when urgency and ambition is required, which empowers countries with vested interests in maintaining fossil fuel production.

Negotiations on a fine wire in conference overtime

According to Bevan Shields in SMH, “Disagreement focuses on three key areas: emissions reduction pledges, compensation and financial aid for vulnerable developing nations, and the design of a voluntary international carbon market.”

Some comments gleaned from Richie Merzian (Australia Institute) and others on Draft texts Version 3:

  • Maintains phaseout of unabated coal and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies recognizing the need for support towards a just transition;(+)
  • countries would be “requested” to update their pledges in 2022. CMA text still requests countries come to the next round of talks with strengthened 2030 targets (with specific reference to those countries that didn’t bring updated targets to Glasgow).(+)
  • Glasgow Loss and Damage facility removed, to much civil society anger (CAN) replaced by a dialogue (more blah, blah, blah). Richie Merzian thinks “not sure enough Parties will hold up Plenary and the whole package if it comes down to it”(-)
  • Under the current text Parties are requested to bring back better targets for 2030. But it doesn’t mandate that those targets align with 1.5 degrees, instead it uses past language which is weaker.(-)
  • “Version 3 of the covering text looks like it is firming up into a final – hope things will wrap this afternoon. Less likely to move on coal phase out, ambition, finance. Still big calls needed on markets” 
  • The real flashpoint is around markets, Whether the framework is tight enough to ensure integrity, avoid double counting, avoid the import of hotair and the creation of non-additional credits.
  • Article 6.4 market mechanism adds an independant grievance process (+)
  • Finance has always been a key issue, developed countries failed to meet $100bn target by 2020, but likely to reach this in 2023. “UN committee to report next year on progress towards delivering the $100 billion, and proposes government ministers meet in 2022, 2024 and 2026 to discuss climate finance.” ABC
Here are some document change comparisons between version 2 and version 3:
Article 6.4 carbon market: Independant Grievance process included

Draft CMA decision to update NDC and 2030 targets

Draft CMA decision on phaseout of coal and fossil fuel subsidies
(1st time coal, FF included in COP decision)

Draft CMA decision – drops support for Glasgow Lass and Damage facility

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