COP 26 draft deal includes pledge to phase out fossil fuels for first time
Glasgow, United Kingdom, Nov 12 (EFE).- The draft United Nations deal, published Friday morning on the last day of the conference of parties climate summit, includes an unprecedented reference to phase out fossil fuels despite the fact the new document has tempered demands on countries to eliminate coal and fossil fuel subsidies.
The first draft agreement published Wednesday called on countries to accelerate the end of coal and fossil fuel subsidies, but after intense lobbying on behalf of polluting industries, the new draft deal adjusted the text to call for the elimination of “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
Despite representatives at COP bowing to the demands of the fossil fuel and coal lobbies to adjust the language, the draft deal includes a pledge to phase out fossil fuels and “unabated coal power.”
The term “unabated coal power” means states can continue to use coal if they can capture and store the carbon dioxide they emit via the use of highly efficient coal technologies.
Paragraph 20 calls upon the parties “to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies and the adoption of policies to transition to a low emission energy systems including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation and accelerating the phase out of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies of fossil fuels.”
It is the first time that any COP deal mentions the term coal or fossil fuel subsidies.
The inclusion of the term will likely be hotly contested among the 197 parties in attendance at the Glasgow summit who will now have to agree on the draft deal.
The agreement “recognizes that the impacts of climate change will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5 °C compared to 2 °C and resolves to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.”
The summit is scheduled to end on Friday afternoon, but the number of remaining discrepancies, especially on issues such as financing for developing countries to adapt to green energy systems mean negotiations may spill over into the weekend.
The E3G think tank noted that the new draft contains new emissions reduction ambitions and a better balance between mitigation and adaptation measures, but that “may not be enough to build confidence that the necessary finance will be there so key parties (EU, US) will need to bring more to seal a deal.”