As the temperature rises literally and figuratively in the packed Glasgow conference center where the international climate conference is being held, negotiators from all over the world are still trying to extract what’s inside for their countries. The summit officially ends today. But the past shows that most climate conferences last into the weekend.
A new text proposal was posted this morning. It remains to be seen how countries will respond. Poor countries in particular have insisted that “climate finance” be more important, that is, more attention be paid to helping countries most vulnerable to floods, severe droughts and rising sea levels due to global warming.
Tens of thousands of people are once again passing through tight security at the Scottish Convention Center today. Once inside, they huddle together, and ministers and other negotiators keep trying to revise various parts of the texts until workable compromises are found.
According to those involved, there are still some important obstacles, which relate to the already mentioned money from rich countries to poor countries, the rules that countries must abide by when implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and agreeing on the number of degrees of land. It can still be allowed access. Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the summit was “very likely” not to meet the commitments needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
Countries may agree to make those commitments before the end of next year. The question of money is often more important for poor countries. So far they have not been satisfied with what was on paper, the question is how they would react to the latest text proposal. Regarding the third point, the one about the rules, there seems to be some movement already.
After six years of negotiations, the goal is to define the rules that countries must abide by. “There is a greater willingness to compromise,” notes Jos Cozijnsen, an emissions trading expert and frequent visitor to climate conferences. He says it’s because the US is back now.
The end of oil and gas extraction
He is optimistic about the deal that China and the United States struck this week. “Actually, now you’re just continuing to develop the Paris Agreement, because America is involved again. We’ve had a power vacuum for four years because the United States has been missing. And to make the agreements, China and the United States are the biggest emitters. Very important.”
In addition to these elements, the summit has resulted in more partial agreements than previous climate conferences. About deforestation, methane, and fossil government subsidies, for example. It was also announced yesterday that a few additional countries are joining the so-called Post-Oil and Gas Alliance, an initiative by Denmark and Costa Rica to end new oil and gas extraction, and in the future all of them.
The Netherlands does not agree with this. Nor is Great Britain, chair of the Climate Summit, participating. France, Greenland, Ireland, and Sweden do, as well as Wales and Quebec. The Dutch government says natural gas will still be needed in the energy supply for now.
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