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What is going on with the climate at Cop26

There are five main topics that are the focus of the Climate Change meeting in Glasgow. Here is a rundown of what transpired and what we face.

Fossil fuels.

If there has been an elephant in the climate policy space for the past 30 years, it is precisely the mention of fossil fuels. During the Glasgow meeting, the word “fossil” appeared for the first time, in a draft negotiating text. It says a bit about what caution one has approached the issue and how infected the formulations have been and still are.

In the past, the UN’s climate panel IPCC has been criticized for consistently avoiding the use of words such as “fossil”, “coal” or “oil”. The 42-page IPCC report’s summary for decision-makers did not mention the words once.

Countries are asked to speed up the phasing out of coal power at the Cop26 meeting and to return to the negotiating table next year with substantial updates to their national plans to reduce greenhouse gases. But in the second draft, the wording has been diluted, although the key requirements remain.

In Wednesday’s draft, the countries were urged to “accelerate the phasing out of coal power and subsidies on fossil fuels”.

But in Friday’s version, it changed. Instead, the countries of the world are called upon to “accelerate the phasing out of crude coal power and inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels”.

A much softer formulation. And it also says something about how the fossil fuel producing countries guard every little comma

Shortly before the climate summit began, a report was able to show how several major fossil fuel producers, including Australia, Saudi Arabia and OPEC, have for a long time successfully tried to lobby the IPCC to remove or weaken a conclusion that the world must phase out fossil fuels quickly.

Poor and rich.

Exactly how the climate burden and debt should be regulated between poor and rich countries has been one of the key issues at the climate summit. Already last year, a system that ensures that developing countries receive $ 100 billion annually for climate action would be in place.

That has not been the case. Now the latest bid is that the 100 billion promise must be fulfilled by 2022.

The climate promise is thus postponed once again in the future, although it is of course positive that it is now more likely that it can become a reality.

At the same time, the latest text emphasizes the need for technological assistance to poorer countries in order to succeed in the phasing out, which can be seen as an improvement. However, funding is lacking.

Can the meeting be considered a success or a failure?

The truth may be somewhere in between, but the stamp of failure prevails. The devil, as usual, fits the details – in the writings of the latest draft, the wording about limiting the heating to 1.5 degrees no longer exists. In the new draft, it is instead a matter of keeping the heating well below two degrees and making “continued efforts” to limit the heating to 1.5 degrees.

The decimals are about life and death for millions of people. According to a forecast from the Met Office in the UK, one billion people could be exposed to deadly heat and humidity – the so-called “wet-bulb temperatures” if the global average temperature reaches two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Already 1.5 degrees is an unpleasant level. Reports have shown that a third of the Himalayan glaciers are melting away even if the temperature increase lands at 1.5 degrees.

The future.

Despite all the promises made at the climate summit, the world is still not close to its goals of limiting global temperature rise, according to completely new analyzes. Instead, we are heading for 2.4-2.7 degrees warming, even if the promises are kept.

According to new research from the Global carbon project, the carbon dioxide budget for a 50 percent chance of meeting the 1.5-degree target will end in 11 years, with current emissions.

11 years – 50 percent.

Like a penny would decide.

According to the prospectuses that fossil fuel producing companies and states have on the table, 240 percent more coal, 57 percent more oil and 71 percent more gas are planned than is possible to stop the heating at 1.5 degrees.

If this is not stopped, it will consequently lead to carbon dioxide emissions being 16 percent higher in 2030 compared to the 2010 level – when they would actually need to be halved by 2030.

This is what the grim forecasts look like. And basically, nothing has happened to shake them.

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