One key point is a call to ‘accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels’
A DRAFT text of an agreement between countries at the COP26 climate summit is “not enough” to achieve the aims of reducing emissions and limiting global temperature rise.
Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan said there was some strong language in the text but he added: “It’s not enough and we need to go further and do more.
“But there is also a real fear that it could be reduced. It could be cut. It could be undermined.”
The text was drawn up overnight by the COP26 presidency, held this year by the UK, and it was circulated early this morning.
It is likely to go through several revisions before a final wording is agreed.
Delegations from 196 countries and the European Union were poring over the 71 points in the document today to assess their implications.
A key feature of the text is a call to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”.
It is the first time that the phasing out of fossil fuels has been included as a declared intention in a COP agreement, but it may not survive redrafts.
The text also reiterates the aim of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement in that it “reaffirms the long-term global goal to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees”.
It stresses the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45pc by 2030 relative to 2010, and to net zero by “around mid-century".
But despite the new emphasis at the talks over the last week and-a-half on urgently reducing methane emissions, the text only “invites” countries to “consider further opportunities to reduce non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions”.
Minister Ryan met with the EU delegation to discuss the text this morning. The delegation were joined by COP26 president Alok Sharma.
Mr Ryan said afterwards: “There is a lot of good, strong language in this text. If you compare where we are now to where we were two or three years ago, it is a significant advance.”
Much of the language around recognising the seriousness of the consequences of insufficient action, and around the need for much greater finance for developing countries dealing with climate change, was strong.
But Minister Ryan said the biggest concern would be that high-emitting countries would reject the emissions-cuts references.
That would destroy the chance of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, he said.
Formal responses were being prepared throughout today.
“We will get two or three [drafts] before there is agreement and it will evolve, but my main concern is that it is added to rather than taken away from. That’s the secret of success in the next two days,” stated Mr Ryan.
He said Mr Sharma expressed confidence that it would be possible to wrap up the negotiations on schedule by Friday night.
“It’s game on. It’s time for two or three days of hard negotiation,” Minister Ryan added.