GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Negotiators at the United Nations climate talks are considering a draft decision that highlights “alarm and concern” about global warming the planet already is experiencing and continues to call on the world to cut about half of its emissions of heat-trapping gases by 2030.
The early version of the cover decision released Wednesday at the climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, doesn’t provide specific agreements on the three major goals that the U.N. set going into the negotiations.
The draft mentions the need to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels and achieve “net-zero” by mid-century. To do so, countries must only emit as much greenhouse gas as is possible to absorb through natural and artificial methods.
It urges countries to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels,” but makes no explicit reference to ending the use of oil and gas.
The draft also acknowledges “with regret” that rich nations have failed to live up to their pledge of providing $100 billion a year in financial help by 2020 to help poor nations dead with global warming.
It reiterates Paris 2015’s goals to limit global warming to 2° Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). A more strict target, which is to try to maintain warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degree Fahrenheit) would be preferred.
Highlighting the challenge of meeting those goals, the document “expresses alarm and concern that human activities have caused around 1.1 C (2 F) of global warming to date and that impacts are already being felt in every region.”
A separate draft proposal was also made on the other topics being discussed at the talks. These included rules for international carbon markets as well as the frequency with which countries must report their progress.
The draft calls on nations that don’t have national goals that would fit with the 1.5 or 2 degree temperature rise limits to come back with stronger targets next year. This provision may apply to almost all countries depending on how the language is read. The World Resources Institute considered this part of the draft a victory for countries that are vulnerable.
“This is crucial language,’’ WRI International Climate Initiative Director David Waskow said Wednesday. “Countries really are expected and are on the hook to do something in that timeframe to adjust.’’
In a nod to one of the big issues for poorer countries, the draft vaguely “urges” developed nations to compensate developing countries for “loss and damage,” a phrase that some rich nations don’t like.
Nearly 200 participating nations must approve of anything that comes out the Glasgow negotiations.
The next three to four days will see a lot of negotiation and decision-making. Although Friday is the deadline, climate negotiations often extend beyond their scheduled end dates. Waskow stated that the cover decisions are more important than any other parameters to determine the specific issues that must be addressed in the final days of U.N. conferences.
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