Climate Negotiations: Fossil fuels, a dirty word

It must be remembered that any text that ends the United Nations Climate Conference (COP) must have gained the consensus of 196 countries, for every word in every sentence. This is one reason why the 2015 Paris Agreement is a “soft”: a country that does not meet its greenhouse gas-reduction targets faces no penalty. Some states would have liked it to be binding, while others opposed it.

But this is also reflected in texts that are, at the end of most COPs, more declarations of principles than international treaties in the strict sense of the word. The language can get so cautious, that it appeals even to oil states. To the point where, judging by Expert feedback Project Posted Wednesday, the simple fact that there is a direct reference in the document to fossil fuels would be big step straight ahead. and this is, Even if no one provided a calendar for this outing Faster ».

This is not the only thing that will be discussed word for word in this document. It is, for example, a matter of “encouraging” (but not obligating) countries Submit revised goals And they “stepped up” their greenhouse gas cuts every year — not every five years, as the Paris Agreement requires. There is also talk of increasing the contribution to aid to developing countries beyond the current target, starting in 2025. The current target is $100 billion per year: it was proposed a decade ago, and it has yet to be achieved.

Officially, COP26 ends on Friday, but several previous years’ meetings stretched all weekend to arrive at the final version.

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