Current International Update

Volume 51 Issue 33

International developments reported in the current issue of ELR Update appear below. For previously reported international news, please use the filter function on the left.

COP26, which was set to end on Friday, extended into the weekend as countries continued debating the draft agreement that would uphold the 2015 Paris Agreement’s target goal of capping warming at 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels (Bloomberg). Current pledges for emissions cuts this decade would lead to warming up to 2.4° C (Reuters). The final pledge required agreement from nearly 200 countries.

Prior to reaching a final agreement on Saturday, a draft was released Friday morning that aimed to balance the demands of developing and climate-vulnerable countries with those of richer economies (US News). The language in the Friday plan draft was weaker than previous versions, but still contained the primary goal of countries setting more ambitious pledges in the future. While it no longer included a proposed annual review of emissions reduction targets, it still would require countries to update their targets in 2022. The Friday draft also called for the phasing out of “unabated” coal power and “inefficient” subsidies for fossil fuels. The final agreement retained the 2022 target update requirement, but weakened the coal power language by calling for a “phase down” of coal use instead of a “phase out” (Reuters).

Finances were also a major discussion point throughout the drafting process. The final agreement noted that a U.N. committee will produce a progress report next year on an unfulfilled pledge calling on richer countries to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 to poorer counties. It specified that finances would be discussed again in 2024 and 2026. The plan also specified that by 2025, rich countries should double their funding for poor countries to adapt to the climate change impacts (Reuters). Further, while the plan created a path for addressing losses and damages that countries with little role in causing climate change are experiencing, it did not designate funding for the initiative.