Glasgow Climate Negotiators Strive to Resolve Four Key Challenges

As the United Nations climate talks enter their second week, progress on important issues is being made. Delegates are optimistic about the chances for concrete progress in the battle against global warming, buoyed by a few high-profile statements at the opening of the summit.

Laurent Fabius, a former French foreign minister who aided in the creation of the Paris climate deal, said the mood has improved since the discussions began on Oct. 31 and that “most negotiators desire an agreement.”

However, late Saturday, negotiators were still laboring to put together a set of draft conclusions for government ministers to ratify during the second week of discussions.

“People are having to make difficult decisions, as they should,” said Archie Young, the United Kingdom’s chief negotiator, on Saturday.

Here’s where things stand halfway through the United Nations climate negotiations in Glasgow:

A general statement concludes each Conference of the Parties, or COP. It’s a political statement as much as a statement of purpose about where countries feel the fight against climate change should go.

This final declaration might represent a rush of promises made at the opening of the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow on problems including eliminating deforestation, decreasing methane emissions, providing more money for green initiatives, and phasing out coal usage. Despite the fact that just a few nations signed on to each of the agreements, more would be invited to do so at a later period.

It’s also crucial to affirm the objective of limiting global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, compared to pre-industrial times. With greenhouse gas emissions continuing to grow, the host country, the United Kingdom, has stated that it wants the discussions in Glasgow to “keep 1.5 C alive.” One method to do this would be to encourage wealthy polluters to renew their emissions-cutting objectives every one or two years, rather than every five years as the Paris Agreement now requires.

Rich countries have committed to raising $100 billion per year by 2020 to assist poor countries in dealing with climate change. That goal was most certainly missed, much to the chagrin of poor countries.

In order to restore goodwill and confidence between wealthy and poor nations on this subject, a strong promise to increase financial help beginning in 2025 is required. Addressing the complex issue of who pays for the losses and harms that nations suffer as a result of global warming for which they are not responsible is also crucial, but analysts think consensus may be difficult to come by.

“It’s all about money, money, money,” Fabius explained.

When the words “Article 6” are used during a climate conference, many negotiators and viewers roll their eyes.

The component of the Paris Climate Agreement dealing with carbon market rules has proven to be one of the most difficult to complete. Countries appear to be making progress six years after the agreement was signed, and there is even hope of a breakthrough on the topic that so vexed negotiators in Madrid two years ago.

Brazil and India, according to observers, may be prepared to forgo demands to count their old — and, some argue, worthless — carbon credits accumulated under earlier accords. Rich countries may pay a price by granting poor countries a portion of the revenues from carbon market transactions in order to adapt to climate change. Until now, this has been a red line for the US and the European Union.

Many governments and businesses want to reduce their emissions to “zero” by 2050, thus a resolution on Article 6 is considered as critical. This necessitates compensating for any leftover pollution with an equal quantity of carbon they can confidently claim is caught elsewhere, such as in forests or through technological means.

Governments can establish their own emissions-cutting objectives under the Paris Agreement, and many of them are far off in the future.

It’s difficult to verify if governments are following through on their commitments and that their aims are backed up by practical measures. China, in particular, has objected to having to supply data in forms dictated by other countries. Meanwhile, Brazil and Russia have rejected calls for them to clarify the short-term steps they’re doing to achieve their long-term objectives.

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