With the ink barely dry on the landmark Glasgow Climate Pact, the wheels are already in motion for COP27 that is scheduled for next November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
COP26 delegates on Saturday forged key agreements that strengthen ambition in the three pillars of collective climate action, with fossil fuels and coal being specifically mentioned for the first-ever time in such COP documentation.
"I would like to underline that the huge step forward in our negotiations was the fact that for the first time in this context we mentioned coal and fossil fuels," UNFCCC executive secretary Patricia Espinosa told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
However, she noted "... we have to be very conscious that there are millions and millions of people that depend on fossil fuel industries, and in terms of coal there are many people, especially venerable and poor people, that also depend on that as a source of energy".
The initial COP draft text released on Wednesday had called on parties 'to accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels'.
However, come Friday a revised watered-down draft read 'unabated coal power', such as those without carbon capture, and 'inefficient subsidies.
As the original summit deadline of 6pm Friday came and went without consensus, the UNFCCC further revised the text that then formed the basis of Saturday’s negotiations.
Ultimately, the wording relating to hydrocarbons in the finally agreed COP text read 'including accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies'.
Adaptation had been high on the agenda during the deliberations at the latest climate change summit. Parties established a work programme to define the global goal on adaptation, which will identify collective needs and solutions to the climate crisis already affecting many countries.
Finance was extensively discussed throughout the past fortnight in Glasgow and there was consensus in the need to continue increasing support to developing countries, meanwhile a process to define the new global goal on finance was launched.
On mitigation, the persistent gap in emissions has been clearly identified, acknowledged the UNFCCC, and Parties collectively agreed to work to reduce that gap and to ensure that the world continues to advance during the present decade, so that increase in the average temperature is limited to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
“Parties are encouraged to strengthen their emissions reductions and to align their national climate action pledges with the Paris Agreement,” said the UNFCCC.
Another key outcome was the conclusion of the so-called Paris rulebook. An agreement was reached on the fundamental norms related to Article 6 on carbon markets, which will make the Paris Agreement fully operational.
“This will give certainty and predictability to both market and non-market approaches in support of mitigation as well as adaptation,” added the UNFCCC.
COP28 is already pencilled in for November 2023 in the United Arab Emirates.
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