Speed Reads

save the planet

Where the COP26 negotiations stand on the summit's last day

Negotiations at COP26, the United Nations-backed climate summit in Glasgow, were supposed to conclude Friday evening, but, like any great group project, officials have already blown past their deadline, The Washington Post reports.

Though it is "typical" for U.N. climate conferences to "go into overtime," notes the Post, COP26 President Alok Sharma declared as late as Friday afternoon his "sincere intention ... to bring this conference to a smooth and orderly close at the end of today."

Negotiators, however, are still "wrestling with big differences over the wording of what they hope will be a meaningful agreement" to come out of the climate change summit, writes The Wall Street Journal. One big hang-up is climate financing — though rich countries have promised to funnel money to poorer countries to assist with climate protection and initiatives, they remain at odds over the amount.

Another issue involves the language governing fossil fuel subsidies in the current draft deal, which critics claim allege is too weak and "corrupted by fossil fuel interests," per The New York Times. More specifically, the latest version of the text employs qualifying language like "inefficient" or "unabated," which activists fear will allow "big polluting nations to continue underwriting the use of [some] fossil fuels" rather than requiring them to phase out subsidies completely.

After almost two weeks of talks, such outstanding differences "signaled that it would be difficult for negotiators to reach the sort of sweeping agreement that activists and scientists had urged before" the start of the conference, estimates the Times.

Still, some experts see progress. "Overall, on balance, this is definitely a stronger and more balanced text than we had two days ago," said Helen Mountford of the World Resources Institute.