Negotiators at the COP26 climate talks are debating which language to use to decide upon policy positions. Using “requests” instead of “urges” makes a significant difference. The Associated Press has the story:
EU Chief: Agreement at COP26 a ‘personal decision’ since it affects children and grandchildren
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The Latest on the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow:
GLASGOW, Scotland — While the word “urges” may sound more pressing on its face than “requests,” it’s the other way around in the diplomatic language used at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow.
That’s why environmental activists applauded when the latest draft of a potential summit agreement had the section on nations setting new national emission-cutting goals in 2022 presented as something that merited an updated emphasis, with “requests” in place of “urges.”
Environmental Defense Fund Vice President Kelley Kizzier, who used to be a lead negotiator on carbon markets for the European Union, said the definitional distinction confused her when she first got involved in negotiations, but now it’s just part of the lingo to her.
“It’s quite a passive-aggressive place,” she said.
“You know in common English, ‘urge’ is stronger,” Kizzier said. But diplomats told her “request” is like a legal requirement, which is stronger than encouragement “urge” carries, she said.
Within the context of the closing days of the Glasgow conference, the change would represent a big move, if it stays in the final decision, she said.
In 2015, negotiators debated about requiring new emission-cutting targets in five to 10 years. Now, they are talking about one year, Kizzier said.
GLASGOW, Scotland — U.S. climate secretary John Kerry says his country is backing part of a draft U.N. climate deal that calls for phasing out use of “unabated” coal and ending at least some fossil fuel subsidies by governments.
Kerry spoke to fellow national delegations in the closing hours of the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland on Friday, laying out the U.S. take on what should be in the final agreement by about 190 governments.
Kerry supported one of the most-talked-about new provisions in the draft deal — a statement that would encourage governments to stop the dirtiest-burning kind of coal-fired power plants and “inefficient” subsidies to fossil fuel industries.
Climate groups welcome the explicit targeting of climate-wrecking fossil fuels in the draft. But like a lot of the terms being debated, it’s not clear just what negotiators mean by “unabated.” That could range from standard scrubbers on smokestacks to cutting-edge technology.
“We’re not talking about eliminating” coal, Kerry told fellow climate diplomats. Referring to coal’s particularly damaging impact on the environment, he asked, “how could we possibly in 2021, knowing what the evidence is, be wishy washy on that subject?”
GLASGOW, Scotland — The European Union’s climate chief says clinching an agreement is a “personal” issue for negotiators at the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow because it will affect the lives of their children and grandchildren.
Frans Timmermans told fellow negotiators on Friday that he had received a picture of his grandson in the morning.
“If we succeed, he’ll be living in a world that’s livable,” Timmermans said. “If we fail, and I mean fail now in the next couple of years, he will fight with other human beings for water and food. That’s the stark reality we face.”
“This is personal,” he stressed, noting that the consequences of climate change would be even more dire for representatives of low-lying Pacific islands and other nations vulnerable to flooding “because you’re standing with your feet in the water.”
Timmermans called for “strong action on coal power and subsidies for fossil fuels” to be included in the final agreement, and called for holding all major emitters accountable.
GLASGOW, Scotland — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and European Commission climate official Frans Timmermans have huddled for about an hour with diplomats of island nations whose survival is threatened by rising oceans.
Negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland on the world’s next moves in response to global warming entered their final hours Friday.
Many of the island nations at risk of disappearing under water under the current track of global warming are among the blocs pressing hardest to resolve some of the key debated points in the negotiations. Those include cutting fossil fuel pollution fast and soon enough to sharply rein in the Earth’s warming, and demands for the U.S. and other developed nations historically responsible for much of climate change to provide financial aid to developing countries.
In a statement, diplomats of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific said sticking to an emissions-cutting target that would allow theirs and other island nations to survive must be the “North star” for any deal.
They also demanded an end to government subsidies for fossil fuels, and doubling of financial support to help less-developed nations deal with climate change.
Kerry went out a different door after the talks and did not speak to reporters. Timmermans, asked about his mood on the last day of scheduled talks, pulled down his face mask to show his smile.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Alok Sharma, the British official presiding over this year’s U.N. climate talks, has dismissed suggestions that he is trying to ratchet up pressure on negotiators in an effort to get them to seal a deal at the Glasgow meeting.
“I think people have sometimes described me as ‘no drama Sharma’,” he said Thursday, barely cracking a smile.
Sharma said the draft agreements already circulated showed that “a lot has been achieved.”
“But we are still some way away from finalizing those very critical issues which have been outstanding,” he added. “And I don’t think we can overemphasize how difficult this is. If it was easy we would have resolved this over the past six years.”