COP26 agreement: 'We are not there yet'

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Twenty-four hours ahead of a crunch meeting at COP26 at which all the world’s leaders will decide on the final agreement to limit dangerous warming to 1.5C, COP President Alok Sharma admitted that “we are not there yet”.

Speaking this morning in Glasgow, he said is under “no illusion that any party here is satisfied with where the text currently stands”.

There are several sticking points, and representatives of pressure groups and countries voiced their concerns at the informal briefing of the text’s progress.

The draft text currently ‘urges developed countries to urgently scale-up their provision of climate finance for adaptation [to respond] to the needs of developing countries’.

Mr Sharma said however that country parties are “still struggling even with routine technical issues” on finance, which was “concerning… on the day before we are due to conclude”.

Alok Sharma, COP President speaking on the penultimate day of the UN Climate Change conference in Glasgow.

Rich nations have promised to channel US$100 billion a year to developing countries at the frontline of the climate crisis.

However, the original pledge was made in 2009. A representative from trade unions and NGOs called the delay ‘shameful’ and Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP, has said it may not be delivered until 2023.

The trade unions representative also said that there was not enough in the agreement about workers’ rights and ensuring decent work and quality jobs in the shift to a greener economy, called a ‘just transition’.

“Taking care of workers, their families and communities is crucial to achieve climate ambition,” he said.

Finally, some say the language of the text used is simply not decisive enough. The text “urges”, “calls upon” and “invites” – for example, it “calls upon parties to accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuels”.

“Urging, encouraging and inviting is not the decisive language that this moment calls for,” commented Dr Walton Webson, chair of the Alliance of Small States, which represents 39 small island and low lying states to the Independent.

Another draft text is expected overnight. Mr Sharma said that at 11am on Friday, all ministers will be called on to “reflect on the full set of draft decisions from this COP and resolve it”.

The agreement is the most important part of the COP process, setting down in record what countries have agreed to do to keep the hope of limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels alive.

Safety Management is at COP26 to report on the conference


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