Finger wrestling until the end: the climate summit lasts until the afternoon

Finger wrestling until the end
The climate summit lasts until the afternoon

It does not come as a surprise: The negotiations at the UN climate conference drag on into the weekend. Because the final declaration is not yet available. Opinions about the success of COP26 already differ widely.

The UN climate conference in Glasgow can be expected to conclude in the afternoon at the earliest. This was announced by the advisor to the British COP Presidency, Camilla Born, on Twitter. Hours of debate about a global stop signal for coal and more aid payments to poor countries had thwarted the conclusion of the summit.

The conference was originally supposed to end on Friday evening. Now, after further negotiations over night, a new draft for the final declaration should not be available until around 9 a.m. (CET) in the morning. Another plenary session will not be called before 11.00 a.m. (CET) and the conclusion will then be sought in the afternoon. Environmental associations had recently warned of dilution in the planned final document at the last minute, called for more effort from the federal government and warned that the COP26 should not become an “air number”.

In the evening, amid the halting negotiations, the heads of government of Great Britain and Italy, Boris Johnson and Mario Draghi, also spoke up. After a phone call, both said that progress had to be made with the so far inadequate commitments by the states to curb their emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases. They wanted to help bring COP26 to a positive conclusion “in these critical final hours”.

Despair and cautious optimism

The climate activist Luisa Neubauer criticized the results negotiated so far. “You can see that as a failure,” said Neubauer to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “It’s not about navigating an interesting diplomatic process, but about mitigating a real catastrophe that is happening here right now and bringing people to safety.” The fight against climate change is not an exciting mind game, but a human task. “But hardly anyone here who negotiates behaves like that,” said the representative of the youth movement Fridays for Future.

All the conferences of the past years have been extended to the weekend. At the end of the mammoth meeting with around 40,000 delegates, the around 200 states have to unanimously pass the final text. Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze had recently been cautiously optimistic. There was already good progress on the table, said the SPD politician. For the first time in the history of the UN Climate Change Conference, there is a chance to mention the coal phase-out in a final text. That is a “paradigm shift”.

The director and chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Ottmar Edenhofer, complained that in the draft of the final document discussed last, the formulations on the coal phase-out were watered down. He told the “Rheinische Post”: “In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, we need a global phase-out from fossil fuels by 2050. This is in danger with the current draft.” At the same time, there is progress in the climate conference. “For example, I hope that after China and the United States join forces, ambitious initiatives in the group of industrialized countries will become possible after the climate conference.”

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