The latest draft text of a deal proposed by the COP26 president at United Nations climate talks in Glasgow, published around 8 am on Saturday, appears closer to the watered-down text issued Friday and could make for some tough ongoing negotiations.

The new draft “calls on nations to accelerate efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power” – such as projects without carbon capture - "and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies", “recognising the need for support towards a just transition”.

The draft "calls on nations" to accelerate these efforts, which is less demanding in UN parlance than using "urges" or "requests" in this context.

Nations are also asked to speed up the “development, deployment and dissemination” of technologies, and the adoption of policies, to transition towards low-emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures."

The draft reaffirmed the long-term goal to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5℃, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

Critical decade

However, the document “expressed alarm and utmost concern” that human activities have caused around 1.1℃ of global warming to date, and that impacts are already being felt in every region. It also stressed the urgency of enhancing ambition and action related to mitigation, adaptation and finance in “this critical decade” to address gaps between current efforts and pathways in pursuit of the long-term goal to limit global warming to 1.5℃.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said it “recognised” that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions — including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions 45% by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero emissions around mid-century, as well as deep reductions in other greenhouse gases.

Further action on methane 'invited'

The draft document "invites" parties to consider further actions to reduce by 2030 non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions, including methane.

It also emphasises the importance of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems, including forests and other terrestrial and marine ecosystems, to reduce global emissions by acting as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and protecting biodiversity, while ensuring social and environmental safeguards.

The UNFCCC's latest drafts of negotiating texts will underpin the day's ministerial-level talks at the COP26 climate change summit as more than 190 nations try to keep alive the Paris Agreement goal of slowing global warming to 1.5℃.

Sharma wants summit closed Saturday

“I envisage formal plenary meetings in the afternoon to adopt decisions and close the session on Saturday,” COP26 President Alok Sharma said on Friday. He had yet to issue an updated statement at the time of publication.

Of other drafts published this morning, the negotiating text that relates to long-term climate finance referenced the (still-unfulfilled) goal of developed nations to jointly mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.

The text urged – using stronger UN wording than "requested" – developed countries to continue to scale up their climate finance towards achieving the collective annual goal of $100 billion.

However, the draft welcomes the recent pledges totalling $351.6 million made to the Adaptation Fund and the pledges totalling $605.3 million to the Least Developed Countries Fund, which many developing nations say do not go far enough.

Those totals pale in comparison with the trillions of dollars that governments have directed towards the coronavirus pandemic.

Other draft negotiating texts that landed on Saturday morning included the COP decision on the report of the adaptation committee for 2019, 2020 and 2021; and the draft CMA decision on the new collective quantified goal on climate finance.

These draft texts are merely intended to form the basis for the next round of negotiations on Saturday.