COP26 draft seeks higher emissions pledges by 2022

The British hosts of the COP26 U.N. climate conference in Glasgow have proposed that countries raise their ambitions to slash greenhouse gas emissions by next year, in a draft political decision that will be negotiated over the next three days.

Climate experts and activists warn of a yawning gap between current pledges and the emissions cuts needed to prevent a full-blown climate crisis.

The first draft of the political decision, which the United Nations released on Wednesday (November 10), asks countries to "revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets" in their nationally determined contributions, so as to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022."

That would force countries to set tougher climate targets next year - a key request from countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Countries agreed under the Paris accord to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and try to cap it at 1.5C.

Scientists say crossing the 1.5C threshold would unleash even worse sea level rises, floods, droughts, wildfires and storms - and some of the damage might be irreversible.

The draft also urged countries to speed up efforts to end fossil fuel subsidies, though it set no fixed date.

That could face pushback from big energy producers.

The text also dodges poorer countries' demands for assurances that rich countries, whose greenhouse gas emissions are largely responsible for climate change, will provide far more money to help them cope with climate change and cut CO2 emissions.

Greenpeace dismissed the draft as an inadequate response to the climate crisis, calling it, quote, "a polite request that countries maybe, possibly, do more next year."

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