Skip to main content

Cop26's aim to limit global warming in ‘mortal peril’

The ‘fossil fuel industries' fingerprints’ are all over the summit's draft agreement, environmentalists warn

FEARS were raised over the latest drafts of the Cop26 agreement today, with Labour and campaigners warning that backwards steps on fossil fuels will put the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5°C in “mortal peril.”

Frantic efforts to get a deal over the line continued on what was supposed to be the final day of the global climate summit in Glasgow, where poor planning and “greenwashing” attempts were blamed for weak language in the ever-changing drafts.

Talks were likely to continue into the weekend, but Labour’s shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: “It’s clear that the aim of this summit to keep 1.5 alive is in mortal peril.”

Environmental experts said that the latest drafts did not signal the breakthrough deal that people had hoped for and warned that the “fingerprints of fossil fuel interests are still on the text.”

Greenpeace International executive director Jennifer Morgan said that key commitments on phasing out coal and fossil fuels had been critically weakened, and that they must be strengthened again before the summit closes. 

“There’s wording in there worth holding on to, and the UK presidency [at Cop26] needs to fight tooth and nail to keep the most ambitious elements in the deal,” she said.

“Now we need developed countries to scale up their offer of support and finance. 

“Negotiators in Glasgow simply have to seize the moment and agree something historic, but they need to isolate the governments who’ve come here to wreck progress and instead listen to the calls of youth and vulnerable nations.”

Sara Shaw, climate justice and energy programme co-ordinator at Friends of the Earth (FoE) International, said: “We are witnessing the ‘great Glasgow get-out.’

“After making a series of flashy announcements full of caveats and loopholes, rich countries and the UK presidency are rushing to close a deal that heaps responsibility for emissions cuts on developing countries, without providing the money they need to move away from fossil fuels.”

Cop26 president Alok Sharma urged countries to achieve an agreement and identify issues that require “urgent collective attention.

“This is our time to deliver on the high ambition set by our leaders at the start of this summit,” the Tory minister said. “We must rise to the occasion.”

Earlier in the day, campaign groups, scientists and other civil society bodies held a “people’s plenary” in the main conference hall.

They said that their voices, rather than those of fossil fuel lobbyists – the most numerous type of delegate at Cop26 – must be heard as the talks come to a close.

Campaigners at the event, organised by the Cop26 Coalition, took to the stage to set out their clear demands and warn that the final agreement in Glasgow remains in the balance.

Mary Church of FoE Scotland, one of the coalition’s partners, said that the meeting was held out of “deep frustration” with the climate summit.

Experts warned countries to include additional language in the Cop26 agreement, including a commitment to the equitable phasing out of oil and gas, not just coal, and to redirecting all sources of finance, not just subsidies, towards a transition to clean and renewable energy. 

Destination Zero executive director Catherine Abreu said: “Trying to stop climate change without mentioning a phase-out of all fossil fuels is like trying to stop the pandemic without mentioning the Covid-19 virus.”

Cansin Leylim, associate director of global campaigns at 350.org, said: “After more than 20 long years, the UN climate conference has finally shown a recognition that fossil fuels are at the heart of the climate crisis, but still no shared commitment was made to keep them in the ground. 

“We are watching the conclusion text for it to mention keeping oil, coal and gas in the ground and ending all fossil fuels subsidies, which should be followed with swift implementation plans. 

“We will not allow the ambition to fall and leave anyone behind at the mercy of scenarios that are not compliant with 1.5°C.”

OWNED BY OUR READERS

We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 3,273
We need:£ 14,727
24 Days remaining
Donate today