State of Play: Finding consensus is not going to be straight forward says COP26 President


By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow

COP26 President Alok Sharma says finding consensus this week is not going to be straightforward as they face the arduous task of building political consensus between almost 200 countries.

He made the statement as countries tries to reach an agreement in the final week of climate change negotiations.

“Nowhere is immune to climate change and this is precisely why we must come together to forge global agreement here in Glasgow, responding to adaptation needs which is vital.

“Today Ministers are starting their work on the negotiations.

“But the progress made last week demonstrates that a constructive spirit amongst negotiators exists.

“And here in Glasgow we have a unique opportunity to reach an historic outcome and I am committed to bringing countries together, we want to forge an agreement that means we see more action this decade to help keep the limit of 1.5-degree global temperature rise in reach,” Sharma said at the COP26 Press conference.

During the Informal Stocktaking Plenary, which was held Monday, Sharma outlined how they will work during this week.

He also announced ministerial pairings on key topics including adaptation; loss and damage; finance; keeping 1.5 alive; and the key rulebook issues of: Common Time Frames; Article 6 on carbon markets; and transparency.

“My priority now is pace.

“There needs to be a sense of urgency in all our negotiations.

“The science is clear, we have no time to lose, and I will ensure that negotiations proceed in a timely manner. Whilst of course ensuring transparency and inclusivity” said COP26 President.

Last week countries made commitments which will all help to protect our planet but they must be delivered on and accounted for, he said.

“Today, on Adaptation and Loss and Damage Day, the spotlight will be on those nations and communities which are most vulnerable to climate change.

“Those whose voices are too often left unheard.

“And we know that even if we stopped polluting our world tomorrow, there will be negative consequences for many millions.

“And that is why issues such as adaptation are so important,” he said.

He also welcomed the commitments to the Adaptation Fund including from the UK, to support vulnerable communities to respond to climate change.

“Developed countries and development banks recognise they need to increase levels of finance for adaptation, and I hope we will be able to capture this renewed commitment in the COP26 negotiated outcome.

“Those of you who have followed this process will know that loss and damage has historically been seen as a polarising issue.

“But I am encouraged that the mood music has changed somewhat, and there is now a practical recognition that action is needed on this topic, in the face of growing impacts.

“The conclusion of discussions within the Subsidiary Bodies on the Santiago Network is a testament to that, and paves the way for greater resources to avert, minimise and address loss and damage,” Sharma said.

He said Climate vulnerable communities are particularly at the forefront of his mind, and will be so throughout these negotiations this week.

“They, and the generations to come, will not forgive us if we fail to deliver in Glasgow,” said COP26 President.

The UK has announced £290 million in new funding for adaptation today, including £274 million for the Climate Action for a Resilient Asia (CARA) programme.

New climate providers have committed to balance through the Champions Group on Adaptation finance.

A total of 88 countries are now covered by Adaptation Communications or National Adaptation Plans to increase preparedness to climate risks, with 38 published in the last year