The latest draft agreement is softer on exiting coal and ending oil and gas subsidies. The anger of the delegates forces the leaders to another round of negotiations. Today the new plenary
FROM THE ENVIRONMENT TO GLASGOW. Yesterday morning, around the barriers surrounding the COP26 works, the yellow bibs of the Scottish police began to move fast. A fluorescent patch of agents, suddenly uninteresting to Extinction Rebellion activists who have been garrisoning the Blue Zone for days, spilled towards the main entrance. Inside, inside, inside, inside, the radios crackled. Inside, in the suddenly silent pavilions, an extraordinary protest was taking shape: hundreds of delegates, activists, representatives of civil society and some politicians responded in their own way to the latest draft – released yesterday morning – of what should be the final agreement of this tormented Cop26. A procession, led by the indigenous communities of the Amazon, and a very long human chain, walked the corridors of the convention center and then headed towards the exit, and met with the demonstrators beyond the security barrier. Everyone was holding a piece of a very long red ribbon, red like the lines crossed by the leaders of the COP. “With this draft I can’t imagine how we will be able to reach the 1.5 ° target in the next 24 hours – says the green MEP, Caroline Lucas – and in the meantime people are dying. Mass migration, famine, hunger, I don’t really know that other apocalyptic words can be used to bring home a decent result “.
Anger erupted in the early hours of the last day of the Glasgow Conference of the Parties, which was due to close yesterday. Negotiations, on the other hand, continued throughout the day and part of the night, in an attempt to reach a compromise starting from this last painful draft which is still full of points of disagreement. The main one, unsurprisingly, remains the exit from coal and the stop to subsidies to fossil fuels, even if the second version is softer, to the happiness of the producing countries, Saudi Arabia in the lead. It reads: “Countries are requested to accelerate the gradual elimination of coal-fired power plants without reducing emissions and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.” Three words make the difference: the “exhorts” of the first version becomes “is required” and, above all, they appear “without abatement” (unabated, CCS) and “inefficient”. With this formulation it will be possible to continue burning coal provided, however, to reduce in some way the release of greenhouse gases and to subsidize fossil fuels by eliminating only the inefficient ones, whatever that means. “It is clearly a step backwards – says the WWF in a note -. The elimination of all coal and all subsidies for fossil fuels is urgent ”.
The call for national plans remains in the draft next year, and new paragraphs appear on climate finance and losses and damage. But Tracy Carty, head of the Oxfam delegation, points the finger at another key element: “Most glaring is the lack of mention of the financial plan for losses and damages proposed by the G77 group of developing countries. “Acknowledging losses and damage will not bring back sunken homes, poisoned fields and lost loved ones.” This is not surprising Sriranjini Raman, Fridays for Future India: “As long as rich white men of a certain age will decide our future, it is obvious that the goal will remain profit.” The Ugandan Patience Nabukalu will return home “disappointed and angry”, because “we should be the ones who decide, the victims of climate change, not them,” he says as he points towards the negotiating rooms.
Meanwhile, it is now clear that the negotiations will continue indefinitely. Last night the plenary, which ended at 8pm Glasgow time, was reconvened for this morning at 10am. The delegates, led by COP president Alok Sharma, worked all night on the draft, trying to modify words, verbs, adjectives. Notwithstanding that the paragraphs aimed at accelerating action to bridge the gap towards emissions targets remain intact, the chisel work has been done on the issues of mitigation and above all, of course, on the carbon market and fossil fuels.
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