The COP26 climate talks will last until at least tomorrow morning, and while the environmental benefits are still possible, activists fear legal loopholes will put the deal in jeopardy.
The meeting in Glasgow was supposed to end today.
Most of the major problems – fossil fuels, financial aid, and emission reduction promises remain unsolved.
Result scheduled for early morning in New Zealand
A close observer has said RNZ now it’s clear that the entire summit up to this point was just a preamble.
Negotiations continue behind closed doors, with teams frantically communicating with local governments for approval.
COP26 President Alok Sharma said a third version of a draft agreement will be released around 9pm New Zealand time.
He expects an agreement to be reached and the summit to close in the early hours of the morning (NZT).
However, if countries are not satisfied with the draft text, further delays could occur.
‘There is everything to play’
The author of the IPCC climate report and University of Canterbury professor Bronwyn Hayward said that, with the talks now overtime, gains for the environment are still possible.
Observers are closely watching that wording on reducing fossil fuel use, increasing climate aid and establishing a pathway for possible compensation for permanent damage remains in the final agreement.
The University of Canterbury said it would go all the way.
“There is everything to play for and there is a lot to lose in the last 24 hours.
“It’s still quite tense, but I understand from various negotiators that people are feeling a bit hopeful.”
Professor Hayward said that the language of the final document was incredibly important, as it marked the direction that countries and companies would take.
‘Legal loopholes’ and ‘greenwashing’ leave a razor-sharp deal
International activists fear that the watered-down language and loopholes will jeopardize the COP26 climate agreement.
The Climate Action Network represents more than 1,500 NGOs in 130 counties.
He said greenwashing efforts by the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Japan in the negotiations to establish international carbon markets could put a hole in the Paris agreement.
It could allow “double counting” of emissions cuts, something New Zealand strongly opposes.
Meanwhile, a group representing more than 130 countries, and China, has backed a proposal for an alliance of small island states to compensate for permanent climate damage, dubbed “loss and damage” in COP parlance.
That would be more than the financial aid offered by rich countries.
However, it is not mentioned in the current version of the draft COP26 agreement, as developed countries fear enormous financial responsibility.