Climate ministers have taken a step forward towards a successful UN climate summit named COP26, as a constructive meeting in London concluded with countries, including India, coming closer on key issues such as actions to keep the 1.5-degree Celsius goal alive, adaptation finance and concluding the Paris rulebook.
At the two-day ministerial, convened by COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma to discuss critical negotiating issues and climate actions ahead of COP26, ministers from around the world sketched the outline of the Glasgow summit outcome and agreed on collaborative ways forward to reach it.
Ministers from Singapore and Norway agreed to continue consulting informally with the ministers on Article 6, which relates to carbon markets, while Rwanda and Switzerland’s ministers agreed to consult on common time frames for emissions reduction commitments, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
In a boost for the COP Presidency’s goal of getting finance flowing for climate action, Germany and Canada have agreed to take forward a delivery plan for mobilising $100 billion a year from developed countries, which is critically needed to help others in their fight against climate change.
The countries were clear that COP26 needs to deliver actions, not just words. Many highlighted the importance of ending coal power, coal financing and fossil fuel subsidies.
The ministers looked forward to Italy’s G20 leaders’ summit on October 30-31 as a pivotal moment for action.
Ahead of the meeting, there was a recent show of leadership from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including the Solomon Islands, Bhutan and Ethiopia, as well as more ambitious NDCs from Paraguay, Morocco and Canada, which will help keep the critical goal of limiting global warming to 1.5-degree Celsius in sight.
The ministers participating in the meeting called for all countries to deliver ambitious NDCs and long-term strategies towards net zero before COP26.
Sharma welcomed the progress, but stressed that significant further work is needed, particularly on finance, adaptation and other crucial issues, with less than 100 days to go before the countries come together in November for the COP26 in Glasgow.
Following the meeting, Sharma said: “The steps we have taken over the past two days bring us closer to securing an outcome at Glasgow that people and our planet are crying out for.
“However, fault lines remain on some critical issues, and there is more work to do. We have asked the ministers to lead conversations in order to bridge the divide and get us in the best possible position for COP26. Each country must now give its all to this process; lives and livelihoods depend on it, and we have no time to waste.”
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: “There can be no neutral position when it comes to climate action. It is necessary to come to an understanding and ensure the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, which is the most comprehensive and the only reliable strategy to address climate change.”