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COP26 CEO Says Climate Negotiations Will Likely Go Down To The Wire

COP26 CEO Says Climate Negotiations Will Likely Go Down To The Wire
3 min read

The CEO of COP26 has warned that climate negotiations at the upcoming conference are likely to “go to the wire”.

In an interview with Civil Service World, Peter Hill warned that it will take a “complexity of diplomacy to nudge, cajole and push the world towards an agreement on the Friday of the second week”.

At the end of the month world leaders, diplomats, activists and environmentalists will descend on Glasgow for a history defining climate change summit.

COP26 negotiations will begin on Sunday October 31, the first day of the summit. Talks will start off technical level before turning political in week two. A total of 25,000 delegates representing 197 countries are due to attend.

“I would be very surprised if this didn't result in several all-night sessions, and towards the end going up to the wire,” Hill added.

Official negotiations on a range of topics and policies will be carried out across multiple rooms in the Scottish Event Campus conference centre.

As the incoming chair of COP, Britain will hope to use the conference to facilitate and achieve four key aims.

The first is convincing foreign governments to present ambitious 2030 carbon emissions reductions targets that will place their country on track to reach net zero by 2050.

The second is to negotiate an agreement on policies that will protect and restore ecosystems, including building "resilient infrastructure and agriculture that will defend homes, lives and livelihoods".

The third is to ensure developed states stick to their promise to dedicate $100 billion per year to fighting climate change.

Lastly, the UK will seek to finalise the Paris Rulebook, an international framework for accelarating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

More than 500 civil service volunteers will work the summit, brokering agreements among world leaders in the key areas of mitigation, adaption, finance and collaboration.

British civil servants will be tasked with “trying stay on top of all those to understand the dynamics in each room”.

“When problems arise, as they inevitably will, and disagreement stalls progress, [our role] is to bring people together to try and unlock them”, Hill said.

“I think all our team are prepared for a good few days of surviving on caffeine and chocolate and whatever else it is gets them through the night.”

Hill told Civil Service World that the UK will instruct state negotiators to “reach agreement on the issues that to date, they've not managed to reach agreement on, so that we can finish Glasgow with a strong signal that the international community is united in accelerating action”.

“(World leaders) have to take stock and say to each other: ok, this is where we think we are, do we think we've done enough?”

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