Glasgow Agreement Text Released and a Surprise Announcement

Blog Mike Green, ASBC’s Climate and Energy Working Group Chair

During the high-level announcements earlier this week, COP 26 President Alok Sharma (UK) called for turning high-level rhetoric into action, urging a “change in gear” in the negotiations to reach an ambitious outcome. Several parts of a recently released draft text step up to the moment while there is still much to be finalized in the remaining hours here in Glasgow. 

An unexpected announcement between China and the United States certainly helps to meet this expectation. The announcement was a pledge to initiate short term climate action as well as work jointly to reduce global methane, a reoccurring topic here at COP. The announcement was short on detail but does raise ambition for action since there has been a lack of any clear action that would be taken before the end of the decade. Most importantly, this show of coordination signals a warming of relations between the two major polluters.   

The US and China were not alone in new announcements as week two continues. Iranian Vice-President of the Environment, Ali Salajegheh, announced Iran’s commitment to the Paris Agreement however noted that they would not be able to meet their commitments if blocked off from the rest of the world. Statements continued throughout the afternoon. 

At the end of Wednesday’s conversations, working group chairs released an update on their progress and provided initial feedback to the draft text released. While the text has a long way to come and received some heavy criticism as it continues to be based on a voluntary framework, there was new language on ending fossil fuel subsidization. This has been a key talking point of the ASBC Climate and Energy Working Group with delegate meetings here at the COP as well as back home during our virtual lobby days with congress. 

The draft text also signaled for a new round of commitments due at the climate talks at the COP 27 negotiations in Egypt. This is important since the Paris Agreement called for commitments to be reviewed every five years. By setting this interim round of commitments, countries are looking to make up on lost time caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The draft text is not the only place where delegates are in competition. Each day at the COP there is an award given to the country which is having the most negative impact on the negotiations called the Fossil of The Day. Where do we stand with that competition? Currently Australia is out front but is closely followed by Brazil and the United States. Our mates in the outback continue to push back against anything that would bring an end to their commitment to coal. More to come, so please keep following us.