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International - November 13, 2021

COP26: Climate talks into overtime as nations near deal

COP26: Climate talks into overtime as nations near deal

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The COP26 summit has passed its scheduled finishing time, as negotiations on a deal to avert the worst impacts of climate change continue into Saturday.

Sticking points include subsidies for coal and other fossil fuels, and financial help to poorer nations.

On Friday, envoys from small island nations threatened by rising sea levels said their land was fast disappearing.

The conference president, Alok Sharma, urged an injection of “can-do spirit”.

Scientists say that limiting warming to 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels will protect us from the most dangerous impacts of climate change. It is a key part of the Paris agreement that most countries signed up to.

Meeting the goal requires global emissions to be cut by 45% by 2030 and to zero overall by 2050. One example of the impact of global temperature rise above 2C is the death of virtually all coral reefs, scientists say.

A draft agreement released early on Friday included watered down commitments to end the use of coal and other fossil fuels. While that was criticised by campaigners, some observers highlighted that this would be the first time coal was explicitly mentioned in UN documents of this type.

The revised text also asked for much tighter deadlines for governments to reveal their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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