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Nations reach consensus on key actions as Glasgow climate talks end

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
15 November 2021   |   4:07 am
After extending the COP26 climate negotiations an extra day, nearly 200 countries meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, adopted on Saturday a document, which according to UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, “reflects the interests, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today.”

Attendees watch a video message from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II during an evening reception to mark the opening day of COP26 on the sidelines of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali / POOL / AFP)

• Parties agree to strengthen adaptation, mitigation, finance
• Pending items on carbon markets, transparency approved
• Paris agreement becomes operational for countries

After extending the COP26 climate negotiations an extra day, nearly 200 countries meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, adopted on Saturday a document, which according to UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, “reflects the interests, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today.”

The wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that constitute the outcome of COP26 is the fruit of intense negotiations over the past two weeks, strenuous formal and informal work over many months, and constant engagement both in-person and virtually for nearly two years.

The package adopted is a global compromise that reflects a delicate balance between the interests and aspirations of the parties to the core instruments on the international regime that governs global efforts against climate change.

Under the UK presidency and with the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, delegates forged agreements that strengthen ambition in the three pillars of collective climate action- adaptation, finance and mitigation.

Parties established a work programme to define the global goal on adaptation, which will identify collective needs and solutions to the climate crisis already affecting many countries.

Also, the Conference of the Parties, serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA), approved two registries for National Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Adaptation Communications, which serve as channels for information flowing towards the global stocktake that is to take place every five years starting in 2023.

There was consensus in the need to continue increasing financial support to developing countries. The parties welcomed the call to, at least, double finance for adaptation. The duty to fulfill the pledge of providing $100 billion yearly from developed to developing countries was also reaffirmed. And a process to define the new global goal on finance was launched.

On mitigation, the persistent gap in emissions was clearly identified and parties collectively agreed to work to reduce that gap and ensure that the world continues to advance during the current decade, so that rise in average temperature is limited to 1.5 degrees. Parties were encouraged to strengthen their emissions reductions and align national climate action pledges with the Paris Agreement.

A key outcome was the conclusion of the so-called Paris rulebook. An agreement was reached on the fundamental norms related to Article 6 on carbon markets, which will make the Paris Agreement fully operational.  This will give certainty and predictability to both market and non-market approaches in support of mitigation as well as adaptation. Negotiations on Enhanced Transparency Framework were also concluded, providing for agreed tables and formats to account and report for targets and emissions.

Heads of State and Government and delegates, who participated in COP26, brought to the conference a keen awareness of the severity of the climate crisis the world faces and the need to live up to the historic responsibility of setting the world on the path to address the existential challenge.

They leave Glasgow with clarity on the work that needs to be done, more robust and effective instruments to achieve it, and a heightened commitment to promote climate action – and do so more quickly – in every area.

Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, said: “I thank the presidency and all ministers for their tireless efforts throughout the conference and I congratulate all parties on finalising the rulebook. This is an excellent achievement! It means that the Paris Agreement can now function for the benefit of all, now and in the future.”

UK President of COP26, Alok Sharma, said: “We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action. I am grateful to the UNFCCC for working with us to deliver a successful COP26.”