Climate Change

CoP26: Contradictions dominate first Glasgow draft, fossil fuel cut not considered

Draft identifies global Net Zero as one of the possible elements for inclusion under Glasgow outcome; experts call it a bogus claim

By Jayanta Basu
Published: Monday 08 November 2021

The presidency of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has identified global Net Zero as one of the “possible elements” for inclusion under Glasgow outcome, likely called Glasgow breakthroughs.

This happened the same day about 100,000 walked through Glasgow demanding climate justice.

The non-paper — presidency summary of possible elements identified by parties for inclusion — has eight broad heads. Net Zero element has been added under ‘mitigation’.

The draft reads:

“Urgency of action towards Paris temperature goal of well below 2 degrees Celsius, pursuing efforts to 1.5°C; emphasising importance of keeping 1.5°C in reach (and) importance of responding to the science; refer to IPCC findings; pre-2030 action, global net zero by 2050”.

“The draft includes agendas raised by different parties, but it will be difficult to minimise the contradictions that are already there. It mentions the urgency to keep global temperature rise within 1.5°C, as well the goal of achieving Net Zero by 2050. We need to see which part of the wish list becomes operative in final agreed draft, if there is one, and which part remains in the body of the statement,” said a negotiation expert.

“The United Kingdom wants to showcase CoP26 as a success with net zero being the pivot,” said Saleemul Huq, an advisor of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) to this reporter earlier.

Huq said adhering to a long-term Net Zero target and setting that as the prime objective looked out of place as several reports have outlined global temperature rise beyond the critical 1.5°C threshold by 2030-40.

“Net Zero is a bogus claim. Who knows who will be here in 2050 or 2070?” said Jairam Ramesh, former environment minister of India. He is currently the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment, forests and climate change.

“Our prime minister has already committed to a 2070 Net Zero target. If we are to postpone it to 2050, then developed countries will have to show the way with the 2030 target and China with 2040 one,” said a senior Indian negotiator in Glasgow.

“If we have to reach a Net Zero world by 2050, we need to start working from today. The developed countries should commit to a 2030 deadline; countries like India should commit to 2050,” said Sanjay Vashist, director of Climate Action Network South Asia, a coalition of over 250 civil society organisations working in eight South Asian countries to limit human-induced climate change.

“The draft includes all views, hence contradictions will be there, but the challenge is how we work around the challenges,” said a negotiator.

Other agendas in line     

The UNFCCC draft listed the following key ones as well for discussions.


  • Vital importance of adaptation in light of increasing temperatures (and) acknowledge science
  • Acknowledge the gap, urgently accelerate action and scale up finance to support developing countries
  • Importance of incorporating adaptation into planning processes

Adaptation Finance

  • Acknowledge gap between available and needed financial resources
  • Acknowledge commitments made, but highlight inadequacy of support for adaptation and urgency of scaling it up


  • Carbon budget
  • Acknowledge the gap: Findings of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Synthesis Report, UNEP gap report
  • Accelerate efforts to 2030 and align short and long-term targets
  • Parties who have not yet submitted enhanced NDCs expected to do so in 2022
  • Parties to revisit 2030 NDCs to align with temperature goal
  • Annual high-level roundtable on pre-2030 ambition from CoP27
  • Leader level event to consider 2030 ambition ahead of Global Stocktake
  • Opportunities to reduce non-CO2 gases

Finance, capacity building and technology transfer 

  • Urgently scale up finance flows to the levels needed to support developing countries in implementation
  • Deep concern that the $100 billion goal has not yet been met
  • Acknowledge recent finance commitments and $100 billion delivery plan
  • Accelerate action to make finance flows consistent with a pathway to low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development
  • Enhanced support to developing countries should include the development, transfer and deployment of technology and capacity-building

Loss and Damage 

  • Acknowledge the ongoing and increasing reality of Loss and Damage with rising temperatures and basis in science  
  • Urgency of action

The discussion will be held considering the following contexts.

  • Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular in developing countries
  • Equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of different national circumstances
  • Need for increased ambition in light of science to address gaps
  • Youth participation and empowerment  
  • Human rights, gender, and rights of indigenous people
  • Just transition
  • Outcomes of World Leaders Summit, including Glasgow breakthroughs

Fossil fuel cut not on agenda, say experts

Experts called the draft a “UK draft” for missing the important redlines in global climate discussions.

“There has been no mention of fossil fuel (elimination) in the draft. It is nonsensical,” a CAN representative told Down to Earth.

“With an effort to accommodate several things, many with contradictions, the draft may lead to more confrontations than reduce it. It’s like a clerical job of preparing minutes and that was hastily done. They should have had more consultations before finalising the first draft,” said a climate expert in Glasgow.

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