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COP26 talks to continue into Saturday amid disagreement over wording on fossil fuels

Written by on 12/11/2021

Talks to reach a climate deal at a United Nations summit in Glasgow will continue into Saturday afternoon, after a Friday deadline passed without an agreement.

COP26 president Alok Sharma has told delegates that revised documents for the agreements to be struck at the conference will be issued overnight, and be available by 8am on Saturday.

A short plenary meeting is to be held on Saturday morning, when Mr Sharma will introduce the documents, share his assessment of the state of the negotiations and set out proposed next steps.

Will they reach a deal? Crucial COP talks enter final stretch – follow live

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Paris Agreement ‘has to be protected’ – Saudis

He said he envisages a formal plenary in the afternoon to adopt the final decisions of COP26 and close the session on Saturday.

The original deadline for clinching a deal had been 6pm on Friday.

The goals at COP26.
The goals at COP26.

But language around fossil fuels has emerged as one of the sticking points.

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The US, EU and Marshall Islands are among nations to have demanded a contested fossil fuel statement lives on in the final agreement.

A call in the first draft to “accelerate the phase-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels” survived a battering in the negotiations, though came out bruised, facing resistance from fossil fuel majors like Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The second draft, published Friday morning, calls upon parties to phase-out of “unabated” coal power and “inefficient” fossil fuel subsides.

The goals at COP26.
The goals at COP26.

Saudi Arabia appears to be pushing hard to remove any trace of fossil fuels in the COP26 text.

Senior Saudi Arabia negotiator Ayman Shasly told Sky’s climate change correspondent Hannah Thomas-Peter that the Paris agreement must be protected and reflected by Glasgow.

He said anything else is “unacceptable”. The Paris agreement does not contain references to fossil fuel.

As climate envoys aired their views on the latest draft, the EU’s Frans Timmermans said “without these concrete steps our targets will be meaningless”. John Kerry, representing the United States, said “to feed the very problem we are here to try to cure… that’s a definition of insanity.”

However, neither called for the language to revert to its original, stronger form and the references may yet be watered down further in the final version.

 Sky News

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