Draft COP26 decision urges countries to step up targets and accelerate coal phase-out

By Jackson Graham

Thursday November 11, 2021

COP26 in Glasgow
The Hydro, one of the venues for the COP26 in Glasgow, 25 October 2021. (Robert Perry/EPA)

A draft decision from COP26 is urging countries to step up their targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022 and accelerate the phasing out of coal.

The document was published by the UK as hosts of the conference on Wednesday in a pivotal day that also saw the world’s two biggest emitters — the US and China — release a joint statement committing to more cooperation on climate change. 

The draft COP decision would have immediate implications for Australia as it encourages countries to “revisit and strengthen” goals for 2030 in the next 12 months. 

Australia committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 days before the conference but did not take a revised 2030 target to the conference. 

It committed in 2015 for emissions to drop 26% to 28% by 2030, but the government has said Australia is on track to deliver a 35% reduction yet wouldn’t commit to a new target. 

The draft COP26 document calls on parties to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuel”. 

Australia’s plan ahead of the conference was based upon drawing down costs of new technologies rather than phasing out traditional energy sources. 

The COP26 draft decision lays out that to keep global warming to 1.5 °C by 2100 “requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions” in emissions, such as slashing carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 based on 2010 levels. 

The document “notes with serious concern” that the current commitments of climate finance are insufficient to respond to worsening impacts in developing countries. 

Alliance of Small Island States chair Aubrey Webson said the draft provided a basis for moving forward but lacked strength in key areas. 

“We won’t get the ambition on emissions we need for 1.5C if we don’t scale up the provision of finance, and this includes the long-overdue recognition of a separate and additional component for loss and damage,” he said. 

The US and China statement states both nations will phase out coal but does not list time frames and commits China to addressing emissions from methane and deforestation. Both countries agreed to share technology and expertise to address climate change. 

The conference is due to finish on Friday but can run overtime as governments debate the finer points of new commitments. 


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