12 November 2021

New draft of Cop26 deal waters down language on fossil fuel phase-out

12 November 2021

A new draft of the deal that could be agreed at the Glasgow Cop26 climate talks appears to have watered down its push to curb fossil fuels.

The first draft of the “cover decision” for the overarching agreement at the summit called for countries “to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”.

In a new draft produced on Friday morning, that has changed to calling on countries to accelerate the shift to clean energy systems, “including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation and accelerating the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”.

The inclusion of a reference to fossil fuels was a first for a UN decision document of this type but was expected to get fierce pushback from some countries – and still may not survive to the final text.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

Talks went on through the night and look set to overrun from their finish time of Friday evening as negotiators come under pressure to resolve issues around finance for poor countries, fossil fuels, the efforts of countries to cut emissions in the 2020s and rules on carbon markets and transparency.

The latest draft appears to have strengthened language on getting countries to “revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets” in their national action plans by the end of 2022 to align with global goals to limit temperature rises to “well below” 2C and try to limit them to 1.5C.

The new version “requests” countries do so, thought to be stronger language within the UN system than the previous version, which only urged them to do so.

There is now a date – missing from the first draft – for when developed countries should double the provision of finance to help developing countries adapt to climate change – by 2025.

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