WW0 x COP26: Daily Dispatch #10
GLASGOW, Nov. 11 -- As the clock ticks down at COP26, and despite the vast differences in perspective playing out, negotiators work to strike a deal.
A group of 22 nations known as Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) have requested to remove "completely the section on mitigation" from the draft agreement. In this, the group (which includes key players China, India, and Saudi Arabia) is putting pressure on rich countries with the highest historical emissions to take greater responsibility for mitigating the climate crisis. On the other side of the negotiating table, rich countries like the US request all countries do their part. Keeping emissions under 1.5 degrees Celsius will fail if China and India, the first and third largest emitters in the world, do not join in.
Carbon Brief: Which countries are historically responsible for climate change?, October 4, 2021.
However, a lot can change in a matter of hours, and adjustments to agreements and language are currently being negotiated. Rumors are also circulating that negotiations will extend into the weekend.
Millions of people around the world have their eyes on Glasgow, and thousands of concerned citizens have taken turns assembling outside the venue to make their voices heard -- even trying to catch a diplomat's attention, if just for five seconds. Thursday morning, Extinction Rebellion activists staged a die-in protest outside the barricaded entrance, greeting delegates with the image of corpses and a sign reading "remember climate death."
Inside the venue, the Pacific Climate Warriors carried the national flags of the Pacific nations to the plenary space, protesting the energy lobbyists they believe are sabotaging meaningful climate protests. Members of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus lobbied for increased safeguards for human rights, Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and direct inclusion of Indigenous peoples in decision making on the emerging carbon markets language in Article 6.
Meanwhile, Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists called on the United Nations to declare a state of emergency on climate change, to implore Secretary General António Guterres to invoke the institution's full powers to confront the crisis as it did for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sky News: COP26 is a 'two-week-long celebration of business as usual', says Thunberg, November 5, 2021.
On Thursday, the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance led by Costa Rica and Denmark announced that France, Greenland, Ireland, Quebec, Sweden, and Wales are joining the coalition as full members, with California and New Zealand joining as associate members. These member governments pledge to end new licensing for oil and gas exploration and production, and set an end date for oil and gas production altogether. "We don't answer this call for the thrill of the challenge," said Denmark's Minister for Climate, Energy, and Utilities Dan Jørgensen. "We do it because we truly believe that we need to. We are unwilling to accept the consequences if we don't."
In a parallel move, 150 parliamentarians from 32 countries have added their names to a call to phase out fossil fuels.
At the end of two long weeks, negotiators are understandably tired, running to and from bilateral meetings with circles under their eyes. This exhaustion is translating into increased tension, and a breakdown of collaborative spirit for some. However, Christine Kaaya Nakimwero, Uganda's Shadow Minister for Water and Environment, even after two long weeks, is still hopeful for a good outcome. We spoke with her this morning and she stated:
This is a global challenge, and tackling the challenge of climate change requires all of us. If we are the ones that make up the planet, we must solve the problem as one. That is why I feel the COP26 is bringing out that, that is what I see. Many other countries here, others feeling for others, others volunteering for others, others working for others, and then coming up with solutions that can solve planetary challenges caused by climate change.
For those of us on the sidelines, all we can do now is hope the parties find the will to do everything in their power to keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive. It will take every country on Earth to meet this crisis of planetary proportions. And since the UNFCCC operates by consensus, somehow by the weekend 197 countries will have to find a vision to agree on -- to protect the future of life on Earth.
The Economist: See what three degrees of global warming looks like, October 30, 2021.
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft: Climate Chaos - Confronting the Real Existential Threat, November 4, 2021.
See our coverage of the previous days at COP26:
Dispatch #9 - November 10
Dispatch #8 - November 9
Dispatch #7 - November 8
Dispatch #5 & #6 - November 7
Dispatch #4 - November 4
Dispatch #3 - November 3
Dispatch #2 - November 2
Dispatch #1 - November 1