|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. This one was no different with a Saturday afternoon ending.
Draft texts are issued, debated, watered down, reissued, debated and further watered down until enough compromise has been achieved for consensus. Occasionally some new ambition may sneak in, but generally its a dilution of action. It's a tough process, especially when urgency and ambition is required, which empowers countries with vested interests in maintaining fossil fuel production.
Australia has taken advantage of this process in the past, such as when the Australian delegation threatened to walk out in 1997 at final stage of negotiations unless a special clause on land use emissions was inserted. We got our way and a special clause was created specifically called the Australia clause which allowed us to increase our emissions by 8 percent while all other countries had commitments to reduce emissions.
During the final days of this negotiation process, Small island states and many developing countries gave up in the spirt of compromise on the Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility to be replaced by a vague Dialogue during 2022 as part of Draft texts version 3, but they were not happy about this. But the fact there were other areas of ambition in the overall deal and they are suffering now from climate impacts, made them commit to consensus.
But during the discussion India, Iran, Nigeria and China objected to the wording around coal and inefficient fossil fuel sibsidies phase out. The stocktaking plenary was adjourned and huddles reformed.
Australia actually had accepted the deal that included a call for "accelerating efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies." They had already successfully lobbied with others to soften the text with those two adjectives: unabated and inefficient.
When the plenary restarted India proposed asking to change language to "phase down" coal instead of "phase out". Switzerland, Europe, Mexico, Marshall Islands and Fiji all expressed profound disappointment at this proposed change, and questioned this as a non-transparent process. Switzerland received overwhelming applause.
"On behalf of the Marshall Islands I wish to read into the record our profound disappointment with the change in the language on coal from phase out to phase down. I ask that this be reflected in the report of this meeting. This commitment on coal had been a bright spot in this package. It was one of the things we were hoping to carry out of here, back home with pride, and it hurts deeply to see that bright spot dim. We accept this change with the greatest reluctance. We do so only, and I really want to stress only, because there are critical elements of this package that people in my country need, as a lifeline for their future. Thankyou.
Fiji said "we were told 2 days ago that we could not add Loss and Damage language because it was "last minute", now new language on coal has been added 2 minutes before adoption of the text. A "phase-down" has no demonstrable measures to monitor the end of coal."
The reaction actually put COP President Alok Sharma into tears for a moment, as he said, "I am truly sorry about how this process has unfolded. It is also vital that we successfully conclude this package"
This is going to lead to a much greater push next year for Loss and Damage implementation and finance, at COP27, which has been long delayed at these conferences.
Antigua and Barbuda speaking on behalf of AOSIS commented that they "would like to take note that we expect to see the development of a Loss and Damage facility by COP27." Venezuela added that they "would like to take up the issue of unilateral measures in subsequent COPs".
There was cheering in the American delegation and around other sections of the Plenary hall as the decision on Article 6 on carbon markets was gavelled, putting in place this important part of the Paris Agreement rulebook, although it seems there are already identified issues of integrity with the rules passed.
Read my blog on the assessment of outcomes from the Glasgow Climate Pact.
You can follow the flow of the diplomatic huddles and statements in the tweet thread below:
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
|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|
Still waiting- deals are being stitched up on the floor #COP26— Richie Merzian (@RichieMerzian) November 13, 2021
Ministers huddling - US John Kerry front and center, with EU lead.
New Zealand Minister Shaw also active in venue.
Another reminder Australia's Ministers are not here... (busy protecting gas and coal at home) pic.twitter.com/VfDXLRBnmo
The climate envoys of the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, US & China, confer with one another before a major meeting here at #COP26 that was delayed by three hours.— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) November 13, 2021
John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua have known each other for two decades. | via @piaranada pic.twitter.com/pCC9aXlKQz
HAPPENING NOW: Civil society is holding the red line outside the final #COP26 plenary demanding rich countries stop devastating our chances of addressing the #ClimateEmergency: stop fossil fuel production, commit to loss & damage, and pay your fair share of climate finance now. pic.twitter.com/oxvHh4NHYE— Ben Goloff (@benjamingoloff) November 13, 2021
China: Para 36 is the fossil fuel line - they ask the language mirror that of the G20 decision and US-China pact. Sounds like a mention on ff subsidies at least could remain? #COP26 pic.twitter.com/885wTwhICA— Madeleine Cuff (@MadeleineCuff) November 13, 2021
China: "The text showed to be acceptable" #COP26 @COP26 "Has been updated with moderation and pragmatism". "But art. 22 might be more accurate" "And art. 36 should follow joint ##USA- #China declaration"— Antonio Piemontese (@apiemontese) November 13, 2021
Ohhhhhhh - at #COP26 India not at all happy with decisions text, kicks off about inclusion of phasing out of #coalpower & #fossilfuel subsidies, also criticises requirement to come back and submit stronger NDCs more often than every 5 years - says consensus "remains elusive"— Megan Rowling (@meganrowling) November 13, 2021
We call out rich countries who block L&D finance here and now we'll call out our pathetic developing country governments for selling us out on this. #GlasgowLossandDamageFacility #COP26 https://t.co/WsdprfIV0J— Dharini Parthasarathy (@dharinipart) November 13, 2021
Strong message from Tuvalu at #COP26: Yesterday, the Mr. Timmermann told about his grand child. I too am a grand father of 3. What will I tell them, when I get home? Right now, I won't be able to tell them that Glasgow delivered & secured their future. #PayUp4LossandDamage #dkpol pic.twitter.com/aWaxZ6LZ5K— Mathias Høj Kristensen (@MathiasHK_) November 13, 2021
Fiji, Antigua & Barbuda and Marshall Islands have backed in the package and confirmed they can not leave here with nothing— Richie Merzian (@RichieMerzian) November 13, 2021
The text represents 'real progress and that is what we need' says Marshalls lead #COP26 pic.twitter.com/IrJd9kXPYp
Fiji the draft is riddled with holes and we have been asked to accept failure on finance for #LossAndDamage on the understanding that we will deliver a finance facility at #COP27— ColinMcQuistan (Still wearing a mask) (@ColinMcQuistan) November 13, 2021
A huge amount of work still needs to be done to get us on track to deliver more than just words!
Good thread from @chrislittlecott from @e3g on how Para36 is unfolding.— Richie Merzian (@RichieMerzian) November 13, 2021
Seems like coal and fossil fuels is where the line will be drawn...
Where is Australia in all this?
Seems to be silent though course in the room #COP26 https://t.co/2NHjhKA506
Bolivia, tackling the #ClimateEmergency is about working on poverty reduction, it's about working on historical responsibilities, what is being offered here at #COP26 in the decision text, is about reinforcing the dependency of the developing world on the global north pic.twitter.com/rMn2HX43Fg— ColinMcQuistan (Still wearing a mask) (@ColinMcQuistan) November 13, 2021
Bolivia:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-we refuse to get trapped in carbon-colonialism, in which only developed countries can move safely to a low-carbon transition, creating more dependencies for developing countries
-climate debt still needs to be paid
Reupping this because Bolivia for Like-Minded Developing Countries is blasting "carbon colonialism" of rich nations, their net-zero targets for 2050 as a cop-out on emissions cuts and failure to meet #ClimateFinance promises - they are "trying to construct new rules of the game" https://t.co/MzjTny54tj— Megan Rowling (@meganrowling) November 13, 2021
Climate vulnerable nations (Tuvalu, Antigua& Barbuda, Fiji, Marshall Islands) coming in to make clear: This is a PACKAGE that can get us on the right path - it’s not perfect (particularly on #LossAndDamage) but it’s PROGRESS— Jennifer Tollmann (@jennytollmann) November 13, 2021
RMI: are we willing to leave this COP w/o an outcome?
EIG (Switzerland):— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-we are concerned we are leaving this COP with most parties unhappy
-COP has been un-inclusive and un-transparent
-why was option A in transparency changed overnight
-would have had a better outcome when negotiating with parties instead of with the presidency
Costa Rica on the current #COP26 deal:— Laurie Goering (@lauriegoering) November 13, 2021
“We don’t have the perfect package, but we have the possible package”
CR: important to agree on a balance across many areas.— Tennant Reed (@TennantReed) November 13, 2021
Progress in many. Not perfect but we can love with it.
A6 is not optimum but what we could agree.
Will work with San Jose coalition to ensure highest integrity. In spirit of compromise we welcome package as it it.
Now as #COP26 is coming to an end, beware of a tsunami of greenwashing and media spin to somehow frame the outcome as “good”, “progress”, “hopeful” or “a step in the right direction”.— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 13, 2021
Australia (Ambassador Jaime Isbister) takes floor— Richie Merzian (@RichieMerzian) November 13, 2021
Can accept present text! 👏
Qualified of course - to 'unabated' coal phase out and 'inefficient' fossil fuels. pic.twitter.com/plOg4zmP0r
Australia scrambling to figure out how to reframe its fossil fuel subsidies as "efficient" #COP26— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) November 13, 2021
Australia’s Environment ambassador Jamie Isbister says Australia accepts the current draft text at #COP26— Freya Cole (@freya_cole) November 13, 2021
But this isn’t the end game - there have been several objections from various countries in the room today.
Australia says it looks forward to seeing this end today. pic.twitter.com/Mwgj6SW05O
Australia:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-this was an ambition COP
-we accept the text
-carbon markets need to have integrity, be transparent
-Australia will double its climate finance
-we have delivered on what we have come to do pic.twitter.com/kB29IYPsgl
Today's action outside the #COP26 plenary as climate talks draw to a close with weak language on #lossanddamage. We denounce the erasure of the proposed #GlasgowLossandDamageFacility tabled by developing nations for rich countries to #PayUp4LossandDamage. pic.twitter.com/2Q51PCfoUu— Climate Action Network International (CAN) (@CANIntl) November 13, 2021
#COP26— Natalie Bennett (@natalieben) November 13, 2021
Astonishing - every other nation accepting 1.5 as essential. Australia reviving "well below 2".#ClimateEmergency: a government that astonishingly - despite massive fires, floods, droughts - still at back of pack as #climatecriminal pic.twitter.com/NR2Qt3AU6t
United States, been very active at #COP26, confirming 'this has been a good negotiation'— Richie Merzian (@RichieMerzian) November 13, 2021
Calling on the power of the first couple of days, all the commitments from leaders, and that this 'raises ambition' and asks 'everyone to be part of the process' pic.twitter.com/suxKEfdlYK
When it comes to #climate COPs, the victims least responsible for #climate change, small #islands and the poorest countries, some faced with #extinction, consistently provide a reprieve to the guilty, the major #emitters and rich nations most responsible. #COP26 #ClimateActionNow— Ronny Jumeau (@ronny_jumeau) November 13, 2021
United States:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-look forward to dialogue on Loss & Damage and contribute to its success
-To our friend from Gabon: I can assure you and others that every effort will be made to double adaptation finance + deal with the challenge of adaptation
Australia says it will accept deal at #cop26 that includes a call for "accelerating efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal— Karl Mathiesen (@KarlMathiesen) November 13, 2021
power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies."
"We are poised to make a remarkable step here," says @ClimateEnvoy John Kerry tells delegates at #COP26. "Not everybody gets to make choices that actually affect an entire planet. We here are privileged today to do exactly that." #Glasgow #climatechange— David Fogarty (@FogartyClimate) November 13, 2021
Maldives:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is a death sentence for us
Powerful words by the Maldives just now at #COP26— Freya Cole (@freya_cole) November 13, 2021
“The world has 98 months to halve emissions and if we don’t it is a death sentence.”
I've never felt sad listening to interventions at a COP until now. The countries most vulnerable to climate change have to accept a bad deal as the crisis is so great that, for them, something is better than nothing.— Seán McCabe (@SeanMacCaba) November 13, 2021
A "balanced" text to hold upright imbalanced power. pic.twitter.com/jERfZiPOwN
Turkey:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
agree with text..
Compared to world leaders making decisions at #COP26 “the protestors and the civil society movements … are much more in line with what the science is calling for.” -@KevinClimate #PeoplePower https://t.co/mlaIj6gKCM— OMChef (@LA_OM_Chef) November 13, 2021
Nigeria:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-support interventions from SA and India concerning para 36 [on coal phase out]
Japan:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-this COP is about to produce tremendous results
-Japan commits to double its assistance from previous levels
-this can be a brave new start
I: let’s do better next time and the time after that. Support the text— Tennant Reed (@TennantReed) November 13, 2021
The most climate vulnerable countries are being forced into accepting the final text (despite not including all their demands) as something is better than nothing in addressing the climate emergency they are facing.— Jess Cooke🌍♻️🌳 (@JessCooke21) November 13, 2021
How is this the state of play at the 26th COP? 😔#cop26 https://t.co/7vig5V6CpS
Ukraine:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-6.4 is not reflecting what we asked for, but will accept the Glasgow package
Ukraine: all parties should have access to 6.4 in transitional period. Leave disappointed. But so are many, hopeful we can work together, we accept package and hope others can too— Tennant Reed (@TennantReed) November 13, 2021
Trinidad and Tobago: We have all spent significant political capital to be here in the midst of a global pandemic. We cannot leave empty handed, we are prepared to accept the texts even if some could be stronger.— Earth Negotiations Bulletin (@IISD_ENB) November 13, 2021
Trinidad & Tobago:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
- we are not prepared to leave empty-handed
-we need to capture the progress made here
-Loss & Damage, outcome could be stronger
-Carbon markets could be more robust
-It's time to close the Paris Rulebook, let's adopt this package
So - even Australia's recent highly suspect and controversial climate modelling (not net zero, but 85% drop) shows coal power falling to 0 by 2050.— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) November 13, 2021
The problem: it needs to fall to 0 by 2030, to align with 1.5c and make economy wide net zero even remotely possible. https://t.co/rmnnMqKYfk
Iran:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-not happy with Art.6
-not happy with para on fossil fuel phase out
Cuba:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-not happy with text, should have retained Common but Differentiated Responsibilities + more commitment from developed countries
-No real balance of the document
-in spirit of compromise will accept the text
New Zealand supports the text, although says he doubts that it will hold global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.— Earth Negotiations Bulletin (@IISD_ENB) November 13, 2021
Venezuela:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-inclusion of Art.3.5 of convention [unilateral measures] should be moved to preamble & include measures on trade and subsidies
-subsidies for fossil fuels are not a taboo in Venezuela
-But, Venezuela is prepared to show flexibility, but our concern should be recorded
Kyrgyzstan:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-pleased to see rise in adaptation finance
J: we don’t have time for elaborations, must start acting this minute. J is among the most impacted countries, with population increase through forced displacement. Much to do re adaptation, finance, L&D. Let’s start today, adopt these outcomes, arm@with good faith and intentions— Tennant Reed (@TennantReed) November 13, 2021
#Guatemala: "We always have a choice. The glas is half empty or half full – I choose it to be half full. Central America is also suffering from climate change. But there is no place on earth not impacted. Why do we have such a hard time to listen to one another? We accept #COP26— Friederike Hartz (@frhartz) November 13, 2021
@AlokSharma_RDG closes the #informalstocktake saying that they will continue to work on the concerns raised. But he urges that the balanced compromise should not be jeopardised. He proposes a closing plenary which will start very shortly #COP26— Friederike Hartz (@frhartz) November 13, 2021
naming of #COP26 outcome actually reflects main issue faced in Glasgow— Sébastien Duyck 🌍⚖️ (@duycks) November 13, 2021
Most vulnerable countries & @TheCVF called for adoption of "Climate Emergency Pact" at #COP26... Final outcome will be called "Glasgow Climate Pact!" - illustrating that missing is precisely sense of emergency pic.twitter.com/FFULceOnLc
"Developing countries’ proposal to set up a mechanism to mobilise and channel money to vulnerable people has been brushed aside by the rich nations, particularly the US, Australia, Japan and the European Union." (2/3)#PayUp4LossAndDamage #COP26— Harjeet Singh (@harjeet11) November 13, 2021
#COP26: While the deal recognises need for deep emissions cuts this decade, those commitments are punted to next year. Young people who’ve come of age in the climate crisis won’t tolerate many more outcomes like this. Why should they when they’re fighting for their futures?— Jennifer Morgan (@climatemorgan) November 13, 2021
Sharma trying to assure Chinese delegation pic.twitter.com/18qBnStXCe— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
The #COP26 closing plenary is ACTUALLY starting now (we're 7.5 hours in people..)— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
India:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
asking to change language to "phase down" coal instead of "phase out"
EU:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-EU would have wanted to go even further than the initial text on coal, this is a consequence of our own painful experience with coal
-European wealth was build on coal, but in the future European death will be build on coal
Mexico:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-fully aligns with Switzerland and EIG
-have been fully sidelined in this process
-have been told could not reopen the text
Fiji:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-we were told 2 days ago that we could not add Loss & Damage language because it was "last minute", now new language on coal has been added 2 minutes before adoption of the text
-a "phase-down" has no demonstrable measures to monitor the end of coal
India proposal— Richie Merzian (@RichieMerzian) November 13, 2021
KEEPS IN GETTING RID OF COAL in the COP text
'phase down unabated coal power'
'phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies'#COP26Glasgow
The EU has its say— Richie Merzian (@RichieMerzian) November 13, 2021
'Coal has no future' confirms EU lead Frans Timmerman
'The longer you take to get rid of coal, the more burden you put on our natural environment and on your economy, its not a smart economic proposition'.#COP26Glasgow pic.twitter.com/mfmlhhb58d
“It hurts deeply to see that bright spot dimmed.”— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) November 13, 2021
The Marshall Islands’ representative expressed their disappointment at last-minute changes to the text of the #COP26 deal, from “phase out” coal power to “phase down” https://t.co/Dy4kcvX0xV pic.twitter.com/Pm0ckwP0iV
There is (very rightly) a pile on given the last minute change from small island states and the Environmental Integrity Group (led by Swiss)— Richie Merzian (@RichieMerzian) November 13, 2021
That s the what happens when G20 countries want changes.
Its the harsh truth of geopolitics.
But the end is in sight #COP26
Sharma in tears:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-I am truly sorry about how this process has unfolded
-It is also vital that we successfully conclude this package
"Our land is fast disappearing. Tuvalu is literally sinking. We must take action - now."— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) November 12, 2021
Incredibly powerful speech from Tuvalu's @SPaeniu to COP26 - let's hope the world listens pic.twitter.com/8Apoft0kvw
gavling through CMA items on Article 6 now .. cheers in many corners of plenary.. US tapping each other on the back— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
While adoption of CMP is still ongoing, US delegation is already cheering and chatting in the corner - they're very happy with the article 6 outcome— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
Adaptation decisions adopted. Includes a two year work programme on the global goal on adaptation.— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-we welcome this, proud to have co-facilitated this with Spain
-Maldives proposes launch workshop for work programme
Egypt:— Arthur Wyns (@ArthurWyns) November 13, 2021
-I welcome Maldives' announcement to hos the 1st workshop of the Glasgow-Sharm El Sheikh workshop, Egypt would like to host the 2nd workshops
Pledges made at COP26 still leave the world on track for over 2°C of warming, and so success depends on these commitments and actions being rapidly scaled up in the wake of Glasgow.— Climate Council (@climatecouncil) November 13, 2021
“The federal government showed up empty-handed to a pivotal moment in the fight for our future. They’ve let down our Pacific neighbours, as well as Australians who do not deserve to endure more frequent and severe bushfires, floods, droughts and heatwaves,” Dr Bradshaw said.— Climate Council (@climatecouncil) November 13, 2021
BREAKING: #COP26 is over.— Climate Council (@climatecouncil) November 13, 2021
We now have 'The Glasgow Pact' which pressures countries to strengthen 2030 climate targets - including Aus- by next year.
For the first time in 26 years COP summits, there is a specific call to move beyond coal and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
[MEDIA RELEASE]— Climate Council (@climatecouncil) November 13, 2021
For the first time in 26 years of COP summits, there is a specific call to move beyond coal power and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
The new pact places enormous pressure on Aus to step up its efforts during the critical years ahead.https://t.co/nktVYLDCIe