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COP26 - experts react to draft text

Dr Morten Fibieger Byskov said:

"On Adaptation, it is remarkable that adaptation is mentioned so prominently (before mitigation even) in the text. Hopefully this is evidence of a realisation that many people are already living with climate change and require adaptive assistance. It is a shame, however, that there is no mention of the need to build synergies with socioeconomic development programmes in order to address global and local inequalities and ensure the right conditions for vulnerable communities to build resilience and adaptive capacities.

"On Adaptation finance, while it is a positive that the gap in adaptation finance is recognised as a serious and urgent issue, it is simply not sufficient to merely call upon different parties to close the adaptation gap. More recognition needs to be made of the fact that developed and affluent countries should bear the these costs. Moreover, this should be a moral responsibility rather than merely goodwill. The USD413 million to the LCD Fund also falls way short of what is needed to close the adaptation gap.

"On Mitigation, I would have liked a stronger wording here in two regards. First, to emphasise the role of governments in ensuring sustainable consumption and production through the implementation of sensible policies that incentivise sustainable choices and disincentivise emissions-heavy consumption and production. Individual and uncoordinated action is not enough to meet the climate targets and governments must do more to enable the kind of choices that would bring down emissions. Second, there is also no mention of the fact that emissions have historically been driven by affluent countries in the Global North who have benefitted from industrialisation and extractive colonial legacies. Therefore, the onus should be on affluent countries to cut emissions."

Dr Tom Pettinger said:

"Whilst some good news has emerged from the draft document, including clear pledges to achieve 45% CO2 cuts by 2030, the negotiations have not produced the holistic changes needed. Climate pledges have to date been consistently missed by countries around the world, including by the US, China, and Russia.

"Militaries still remain exempt from emissions targets, despite producing 6% of total CO2 emissions.

"Colonial histories have been forgotten: climate justice is only possible if rich countries recognise their disproportionate wealth has come from exploiting humans and nature, and conduct proportionate reparative action.

"Nothing has been done about the Energy Charter Treaty, which is an international agreement allowing fossil fuel companies to sue governments for harming their profits by adopting green policies, and is a major threat to Paris Agreement targets. That the UK Government – host of COP26 – cut domestic flying duty in half as the summit began tells the story itself."

12 November 2021


Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager

University of Warwick

07876 218166