UK proposes climate finance plan as negotiators race against time

By Kate Abnett, Elizabeth Piper and Valerie Volcovici

GLASCOW (Reuters) – UN negotiators continued climate talks in Scotland on Saturday after two weeks of wrangling in a bid to hammer out a deal that would give the world a realistic chance of avoiding the worst effects of global warming.

Alok Sharma, president of the British Congress, said he expected COP26 to close on Saturday afternoon with an agreement among nearly 200 nations present, ranging from great powers from coal and gas to oil. Producers and Pacific islands threatened by sea level rise.

A new draft agreement unveiled on Saturday, like previous versions, attempted to balance the demands of weak states, major industrial powers and those whose consumption or export of fossil fuels is vital to their economic development.

The UK has attempted to resolve one of its most thorny issues by proposing mechanisms to ensure that poorer countries eventually get more of the financial aid they have promised to prepare to manage the increasingly severe weather that is prevailing.

China, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, were among a group of countries that sought to prevent the final deal from including language in opposition to fossil fuel subsidies. , the main cause of global warming, two sources. to Reuters on Friday.

However, the new UN draft continued to target fossil fuels, something that no UN climate conference has yet succeeded in achieving.

He also urged rich countries to double funding for adaptation to climate goals by 2025 from 2019 levels, providing funding that was a major demand of small island nations at the conference.

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Maintain 1.5 degree goal

The overall goal of the meeting is to maintain the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels.

Exceeding that limit would lead to extreme sea level rise and weather disasters, such as droughts, brutal storms and wildfires, far worse than the ones the world is already experiencing, scientists say.

But the national emissions cut commitments made so far will limit the average global temperature rise to just 2.4 degrees. While there is little chance of filling that gap in Glasgow, Sharma said he hopes the final COP26 agreement will pave the way for deeper cuts.

Climate change adaptation funds go mainly to the poorest countries and currently represent only a small part of the financing of the problem.

Britain has said a UN panel should report next year on progress on about $100 billion a year in climate finance that rich countries have pledged by 2020 but have failed to meet, and that governments should meet in 2022, 2024 and 2026 to discuss financing for climate change. the climate.

wait and watch

US climate envoy John Kerry put on a positive note when asked late Friday if he agreed with activist Greta Thunberg that COP26 is “a festival going on as usual.”

He replied, “Obviously I don’t agree, and I think they’ll know when they see what’s going to happen.”

Kerry helped revive hopes at the conference when he announced, jointly with Chinese negotiator Xie Zhenhua, on Thursday that nations would redouble their efforts to conserve forests, which are essential to absorb and retain carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and reduce carbon dioxide production. One of the second most important greenhouse gases, methane.

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The agreement between the United States and China requires both countries to put aside mutual tensions over other political differences.

US President Joe Biden, who has pushed Congress to pass $555 billion in climate measures in the post-pandemic recovery program, will hold a virtual meeting with Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, Monday night US time, the White House reported Friday.

And the latest draft of what many hope will be the final Glasgow Agreement also maintains a key requirement for countries to make tougher climate commitments next year, rather than every five years as is currently required.

(Additional information from William James, Simon Jessup, Valerie Volcovici, Richard Valdemanis and Jake Spring; writing by Kevin Levy; editing by Katie Daigle and Frances Kerry; editing in Spanish by Gabriela Donoso)

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