Participants praise progress: climate conference is being extended

Participants praise progress
Climate conference is being extended

Because the delegates in Glasgow cannot come to an agreement by evening, they are extending the negotiations to at least Saturday. Meanwhile, Environment Minister Schulze praised the summit as a “paradigm shift”. The environmental organization Germanwatch is also seeing positive signals.

The negotiations at the world climate conference drag on until at least Saturday. Only in the morning is a new draft for the final declaration to be presented, as it was called in the evening from negotiating circles in Glasgow. Hours of debate about a global stop signal for coal and about more aid payments to poor countries had slowed down the negotiations in the final phase. While some states go too far with the envisaged resolutions, others are not ambitious enough. At the end of the mammoth meeting with around 40,000 delegates, around 200 countries have to unanimously pass the final text. The declared aim of the UN conference is to keep the limitation of global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era within the framework of what is possible.

Meanwhile, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze expressed her satisfaction with the negotiations at the UN climate conference. “It used to be about goals and procedures, but now the door is also opening to negotiate very specific measures,” said Schulze at the climate conference in Glasgow. The “paradigm shift” towards a stronger focus on concrete climate protection measures is also reflected in the fact that the draft COP26 framework decision calls for an exit from coal.

It is “important that the conversion of the energy systems is addressed here directly, also in the final declaration, towards renewables, away from coal, away from subsidies for fossil fuels,” said the minister.

“Coming soon to ostracize coal”

The head of the environmental organization Germanwatch, Christoph Bals, also positively emphasized the mention of the coal phase-out in the current draft for the final declaration. “That amounts to an outlawing of coal,” said the organization’s managing director. “In retrospect, that will be the great relevance of this summit.”

The call to phase out coal in the framework decision was, however, weakened in the revised version with the addition “without CO2 capture”. Coal-fired power plants that use technologies to capture climate-damaging carbon dioxide are thus excluded, unlike in the first draft on Wednesday. In the appeal to the states to stop their subsidies for all fossil fuels, it was now restricted that “inefficient” subsidies are meant. The definition of what is “inefficient” in this case is left to the state. The weaker formulations caused displeasure among activists.

Schulze emphasized that “a great deal had been achieved” around the negotiations that began almost two weeks ago. The higher target of the Paris Climate Agreement – limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees – has prevailed. In addition, the topic of helping poorer countries to adapt to climate change is “more important than ever at this conference”. The pledges for the adjustment fund provided for this purpose were “as good as never before” at 350 million dollars (305.3 million euros).

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