COP26 climate deal harder than Paris: summit president

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 25: Alok Sharma speaks onstage during Global Citizen Live, New York on September 25, 2021 in New York City. Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen/AFP (Photo by Theo Wargo / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Success at the upcoming COP26 climate summit is “definitely harder” than the 2015 Paris talks which resulted in a landmark accord, the British minister presiding over the gathering warned Saturday.

The October 31-November 12 gathering in Glasgow is the biggest climate conference since the Paris summit and is seen as crucial in setting worldwide emission targets to slow global warming.

Alok Sharma, the British minister in charge of the talks, told the Guardian newspaper that getting nearly 200 countries to commit to the emission targets to limit global temperature rises to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels was a daunting task.

“What we’re trying to do here in Glasgow is actually really tough,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande (C), poses with President of the French National Assembly, Claude Bartolone (7thL), French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (9thL), French Environment Minister Segolene Royal (7thR), French Minister for Overseas Territories, George Pau-Langevin (5thR), Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo (3rdR), President of the French Constitutional Council, Laurent Fabius (Behind Bartolone), who acted as President of the COP21 last December, and other officals pose for a group photo at the Elysee palace on June 15, 2016 in Paris, after a ceremony for the ratification of the COP21 agreement reached in Paris aimed at keeping a rise in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

“It was brilliant what they did in Paris” but “a lot of the detailed rules were left for the future,” he added.

“It’s like, we’ve got to the end of the exam paper and the most difficult questions are left and you’re running out of time

“This is definitely harder than Paris on lots of levels.”

The task will be made all the more difficult as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin are not attending but sending delegations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) arrives with Premier Li Keqiang (L) for a reception at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on the eve of China’s National Day on September 30, 2021. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

More than 120 world leaders and around 25,000 delegates are expected in Glasgow.

The Paris accord saw 197 nations agree to limit global heating to below 2 degrees but their “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) — national plans drawn up to implement the deal — have been deemed inadequate.

Strengthening those plans will be a key part of negotiations.

“What we’re potentially saying to countries is that if your NDC isn’t good enough, you’re going to have to come back to the table,” said Sharma.

He called on the world’s biggest emitter China, whose fractious relationship with the West is another obstacle to agreement, to present its NDC.

“They signed up to the communique in July that we negotiated in Naples, that all the G20 would come up with enhanced NDCs before COP –- I reminded them they needed to deliver on that,” he said.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said Thursday that the current climate situation was “a one-way ticket for disaster” as he stressed the need to “avoid a failure” at COP26.