UN: Progress on Cop26 climate plans ‘far from satisfactory’

Four in 10 countries missed a deadline to submit detailed plans to cut emissions

Countries that signed the Paris Agreement are expected to set out plans to meet the deal’s targets of limiting global warming. Reuters
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Preparations for Cop26 are far from satisfactory, with four in 10 countries missing a deadline to reveal how they plan to cut emissions, the UN’s climate chief said.

With the UN summit only three months away, the end of July was the cut-off for nations to submit their detailed strategies.

They must strive to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C of that in pre-industrial times.

But of its 191 signatories, only 110 have submitted their plans.

“It is still far from satisfactory, since only a little over half the parties have met the cut-off deadline,” said Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“I call on those countries that were unable to meet this deadline to redouble their efforts and honour their commitment under the Paris Agreement.”

The ambition of the 110 plans that were submitted in time “also needs to be enhanced”, Ms Espinosa said.

The actions promised in early submissions would fail to meet the 2°C goal, let alone the preferred target of 1.5°C, she said.

“I truly hope that the revised estimate of collective efforts will reveal a more positive picture,” she said.

The US submitted its plans in April after President Joe Biden rejoined the agreement, which his predecessor Donald Trump had sought to abandon.

The blueprint signed off by Mr Biden calls for emissions to be reduced by 2030 to half their level in 2005.

China and India are among the major polluters that have yet to submit their plans, officially known as nationally determined contributions.

‘Fault lines remain’

The Paris Agreement set December 31, 2020 as the deadline by which to submit new climate plans. But owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, this was moved to July 31 of this year.

A recent G20 summit was hampered by disagreements over cutting emissions and ended with India writing its dissent into the final communique.

Wealthy countries have been criticised for failing to provide enough support to poorer nations and for continuing to subsidise fossil fuels.

US climate envoy John Kerry said last month that action at Cop26 must go further than the Paris Agreement.

Alok Sharma, the UK government minister overseeing Cop26, said countries needed to bridge divides ahead of the November summit.

“Fault lines remain on some critical issues, and there is more work to do,” he said after the G20 talks.

As the host of Cop26, Britain is gathering pledges from cities and businesses to reduce their net emissions to zero by 2050.

The UK’s own plan, submitted last December, envisages a two-thirds cut in emissions by the end of this decade compared with 1990 levels.

Britain plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and support the shift towards electric vehicles.

Updated: August 02, 2021, 10:12 AM