The cruise shipsi have departed, the diesel generatorsii have been removed, the ‘plane spottersiii have put away their notebooks, the 6,000 items of IKEA furnitureiv are being stored in tents, the tens of thousands of revellers, activists and hangers-on have left, Clarion the tissue paper polar bear’s climate crisis pilgrimagev is over, 102,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent have been emittedvi, and Greta has gone home, blah, blah, blah. The party’s over and now the hangover begins.
What’s in a name?
The outcome of COP 26 in Glasgow, which has disappointed many, is the Glasgow Climate Pact. Not the Glasgow Climate Agreement, not the Glasgow Climate Treaty, but the Glasgow Climate Pact. I don’t think this matters much, if at all, from a legal point of view. My Oxford English Dictionary defines a pact as “a formal agreement between individuals or parties”. In this case, however, I suspect the less portentous title reflects the low-key nature of what was agreed.
Because it is low-key. Very low-key indeed. As I pointed out in “A Lot Of Hot Air”vii, when addressing the failure of the Paris Agreement:
Aspirational words like “can”, “may” and “should” abound, but the legally mandatory word “shall” is a rare and shy creature within the Agreement, rarely to be seen, and then certainly not in the context of a meaningful obligation. And the Agreement contains absolutely no enforcement mechanism for use against those signatories who breach its rather limp terms…
The same is true of the Glasgow Climate Pact, but with bells on. A quick word count reveals paragraphs commencing with “recognizing” (6) “recognizes” (10); “also recognizes” (2); “further recognizes” (1); “acknowledging” (2); “expressing appreciation” (1); “expresses appreciation” (1); “welcomes” (9); “also welcomes” (1); “further welcomes” (1); “stresses” (1); “notes” (1); “noting” (3); “notes with concern” (2); “notes with serious concern” (1); “notes with deep regret” (1); expresses alarm and utmost concern (1); emphasizes (9); “re-emphasizes” (2); “urges” (9); “strongly urges” (1); “invites” (7); “also invites” (1); “calls upon” (4); “reaffirms” (1); “encourages” (8); acknowledges (3); “also acknowledges” (1); “reiterates” (1); “endorses” (1); “resolves” (2); “recalls” (2); “expresses its recognition” (1); “takes note” (1); “requests” (2). Of the obligatory, mandating, words “shall” or “must”, there is no sign.
The long and the short of it is that it’s a weak and limp document, painfully thin gruel.
Much has been said about coal and the jubilation that anything was said about it at all, followed by disappointment that what was said was then watered down, apparently, at the behest of China and India. So, how many times is coal mentioned in the pact? Once. In paragraph 20:
Calls upon Parties to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies, and the adoption of policies, to transition towards low-emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures, including accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognizing the need for support towards a just transition.
If I was a lawyer representing poor (and even not-so-poor) developing countries that are heavily dependent on coal for future economic growth and for the improvement of living standards of their peoples, I could not be more delighted than to see that form of words. In terms of an obligation to do anything, it’s effectively meaningless. The further watering down of the non-obligation is in three parts. First, it’s simply one part of a vague “calling upon” of the parties to progress towards “low-emission energy systems”. Secondly, it asks for (but doesn’t require) the acceleration (by how much isn’t specified – 1% acceleration would presumably qualify) of efforts (just efforts, mind you) towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and the phaseout (stronger than phasedown, admittedly) of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Contend forcefully that a fossil fuel subsidy is efficient, and it doesn’t fall within the non-obligatory paragraph at all. Thirdly, as part of all this you can demand “ targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances” (and can presumably argue that there’s no reason why you should comply with the painfully thin request above if you don’t receive the support); further, you can insist on “support towards a just transition.” It shouldn’t be too difficult to argue that you can’t be expected to abandon (or even reduce use of) coal if the transition resulting from that would be painful and unjust.
Never mind, the pact must provide for reducing use of oil and gas, surely? No, it doesn’t. Oil doesn’t receive a single mention, and the only gas that is mentioned is of the greenhouse variety – on six occasions. Well, what does the Pact say? It contains 71 paragraphs, divided into eight parts, so let’s take a look at each part, in sequence.
Science and urgency
Not a lot to say here. The the importance of the best available science for effective climate action and policymaking is recognised, so with luck the vilification of sceptics will cease, since science doesn’t advance without questioning.
Welcome is extended to the Working Group I to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report and the recent global and regional reports on the state of the climate from the World Meteorological Organization, and the IPCC is invited to present its forthcoming reports to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice in 2022.
This section is where the phrase “expresses alarm and utmost concern” comes in. The alarm and utmost concern is because they say “that human activities have caused around 1.1 °C of global warming to date and that impacts are already being felt in every region”.
Finally, at paragraph 4, it:
Stresses the urgency of enhancing ambition and action in relation to mitigation adaptation and finance in this critical decade to address gaps between current efforts and pathways in pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention and its long-term global goal.
And that’s it regarding science and urgency.
I think it’s good to see attention continuing to be given to the issue of adaptation. It’s not a lot of attention, though, covering only five short paragraphs. It’s basically just more of what has already gone before.
Serious concern is again expressed regarding the findings from the contribution of Working Group I to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report.
The urgency of scaling up action and support, including finance, capacity building and technology transfer, to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change in line with the best available science, taking into account the priorities and needs of developing country Parties is emphasised.
National adaptation plans submitted to date (no mention of how many of the updates are late) are welcomed; more is urged. And (no surprise here) the IPCC is invited to submit the findings to COP 27 from the contribution of Working Group II to its Sixth Assessment Report, including those relevant to assessing adaptation needs.
It is noted with concern that existing finance provided to developing countries is inadequate. Developed countries are urged to give more. The need for adequate and predictable finance is recognised. Recent pledges are welcomed. Multilateral development banks, other financial institutions and the private sector are called upon to enhance finance mobilisation in order to deliver the scale of resources needed to achieve climate plans, particularly for adaptation, and the Parties are encouraged to continue to explore innovative approaches and instruments for mobilising finance for adaptation from private sources.
And that’s it. Not much progress has been made there, by the look of things.
The Pact reaffirms the long-term global goal to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. It also recognises that the impacts of climate change will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5 °C compared with 2 °C, and resolves to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.
Given the supposed seriousness of the situation, resolving “to pursue efforts” doesn’t sound like much of a commitment. It’s the legal equivalent of “well, I suppose we could try to do a bit”.
The lack of serious intent expressed there is in sharp contrast with what the drafters of the Pact think needs to be done:
… limiting global warming to 1.5 °C requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero around mid-century, as well as deep reductions in other greenhouse gases
… [T]his requires accelerated action in this critical decade, on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge and equity, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
The clarion calls are strident. The actual effort isn’t. The Pact:
Invites Parties to consider further actions to reduce by 2030 non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions, including methane.
That’s even weaker than the limited stuff that precedes it. It amounts to asking countries to think about trying to do something.
The next paragraph is the incredibly weak one we’ve already looked at with regard to coal. This section ends by emphasising
the importance of protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems, including forests and other terrestrial and marine ecosystems, to achieve the long-term global goal of the Convention by acting as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and protecting biodiversity, while ensuring social and environmental safeguards.
Which is all well and good, but given that so many technologies associated with supposedly reducing greenhouse gas emissions are in fact so destructive of nature and ecosystemsviii that it’s difficult to see how this particular circle can be squared. The Pact doesn’t discuss how this might be done.
Finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for mitigation and adaptation
Developed countries are again urged to do more, “in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention”, and others are encouraged to do their bit voluntarily. The only problem with this is that the existing obligations under the Convention are really aspirational only and are unenforceable. Nothing has been done here to try to change that weak situation.
Instead it is noted with “deep regret” that developed countries have failed to come up with the $100 Billion per annum promised at Paris, the increased pledges that have been made are welcomed, full delivery on the $100 Billion p.a. Goal is urged, and transparency in the implementation of pledges is insisted upon. Two observations spring to mind here. First, the fact that all that can be done is to urge full delivery on a goal of $100 Billion p.a., and no enforcement action can be taken for non-delivery, illustrates the essential weakness of the deal struck at Paris, despite all the rejoicing at the time. Secondly, the insistence on transparency suggests that somebody has woken up to the fact that all sorts of jiggery-pokery might have been taking place. I’m guessing, but my suspicion is with regard to things like double-counting, loans rather than donations, that sort of thing.
The joint annual reports of the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network for 2020 and 2021 are welcomed, and the two bodies are invited to strengthen their collaboration.
Much of the rest is aspirational wording of the type seen under the section dealing with adaptation finance.
Loss and damage
This section contains nine paragraphs that achieve precisely nothing. Inevitably, we are told that “climate change has already caused and will increasingly cause loss and damage and that, as temperatures rise, impacts from climate and weather extremes, as well as slow onset events, will pose an ever-greater social, economic and environmental threat”. Let’s assume this is correct; what is to be done about it?
Well, we acknowledge the role of a broad range of stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and local communities, in seeking to avert damage. That’s good. Anything else?
Er, reiterate the urgency of taking action, and urge developed countries and others to cough up some more cash. What else? Well, we can recognise “the importance of demand-driven technical assistance in building capacity”. Anything more? Why certainly. We can also welcome:
the further operationalization of the Santiago network for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including the agreement on its functions and process for further developing its institutional arrangements.
And we can note:
that discussions related to the governance of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts did not produce an outcome: this is without prejudice to further consideration of this matter.
Finally, we can acknowledge the importance of coherent action and resolve to strengthen partnerships. That should do it.
Oh good, an end to platitudes, and some action is in the offing. That depends on one’s idea of action. Recalling that:
the round tables among Parties and non-Party stakeholders on pre-2020 implementation and ambition held in 2018, 2019 and 2020 helped to highlight and enhance understanding of the efforts of and challenges faced by Parties in relation to action and support in the pre-2020 period, as well as of the work of the constituted bodies in that period
doesn’t do it for me, but maybe I’m picky. Also failing to do it in my mind, is strongly urging parties who haven’t done what they should have done under the Paris Convention to do so. But given the failure of Paris to include any binding obligations, that’s all that can be done, I suppose.
I can’t say that welcoming “the action taken to unlock the potential for sectoral action to contribute to fulfilling and implementing national targets, particularly in emission-intensive sectors” impresses me much either. Nor does recognising “the importance of protecting, conserving and restoring ecosystems to deliver crucial services, including acting as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases, reducing vulnerability to climate change impacts and supporting sustainable livelihoods, including for indigenous peoples and local communities”. There’s nothing new here, not even in encouraging parties to take an integrated approach to all this.
The final paragraph in this section smacks of motherhood and apple pie:
[T]he need to ensure just transitions that promote sustainable development and eradication of poverty, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs, including through making financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emission and climate-resilient development, including through deployment and transfer of technology, and provision of support to developing country Parties.
It sounds great, but I have no idea how it is to be achieved, given that so much of it is mutually contradictory. It seems that nobody at Glasgow had much idea, either. If they did, they’re not telling.
It’s good to collaborate, of course, and presumably that’s the point of these annual jamborees. Certainly, the section on collaboration takes us to the end of the Pact, and it runs to nineteen numbered paragraphs. I’m left with the feeling that this part of the Pact does little than tick the boxes of those people who might not feel their agenda has been touched on so far. For example, paragraph 55:
Recognizes the important role of non-Party stakeholders, including civil society, indigenous peoples, local communities, youth, children, local and regional governments and other stakeholders, in contributing to progress towards the objective of the Convention and the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Or you could try paragraph 62:
Urges Parties to swiftly begin implementing the Glasgow work programme on Action for Climate Empowerment, respecting, promoting and considering their respective obligations on human rights, as well as gender equality and empowerment of women.
Have we missed anybody out? Oh good heavens, young people, we mustn’t overlook them. Paragraph 63:
Expresses appreciation for the outcomes of the sixteenth Conference of Youth, organized by the constituency of children and youth non-governmental organizations and held in Glasgow in October 2021, and the “Youth4Climate2021: Driving Ambition” event hosted by Italy in Milan, Italy, in September 2021.
Just to reinforce the point, paragraph 64:
Urges Parties and stakeholders to ensure meaningful youth participation and representation in multilateral, national and local decision-making processes, including under the Convention and the Paris Agreement.
Greta and her cohorts must really have made an impression, because we have paragraph 65 too:
Invites future Presidencies of the Conference of the Parties, with the support of the secretariat, to facilitate the organization of an annual youth-led climate forum for dialogue between Parties and youth in collaboration with the UNFCCC children and youth constituency and other youth organizations with a view to contributing to the implementation of the Glasgow work programme on Action for Climate Empowerment.
Paragraph 55 obviously didn’t say enough regarding indigenous peoples, for we also have paragraph 66:
Emphasizes the important role of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ culture and knowledge in effective action on climate change, and urges Parties to actively involve indigenous peoples and local communities in designing and implementing climate action and to engage with the second three-year workplan for implementing the functions of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, for 2022–2024.
And not enough has been said about gender issues thus far, it seems. Hence paragraph 68:
Encourages Parties to increase the full, meaningful and equal participation of women in climate action and to ensure gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation, which are vital for raising ambition and achieving climate goals.
And paragraph 69:
Calls upon Parties to strengthen their implementation of the enhanced Lima work programme on gender and its gender action plan.
I appreciate that I have allowed a degree of cynicism to colour this summary of the Glasgow Climate Pact. However, were I of the view that humankind urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to save life as we know it, then I would be mightily unimpressed with this outcome of a fortnight of noise, emissions, wall-to-wall media coverage, hype, disruption, covid risk, and all the rest of it. The Glasgow Climate Pact is, frankly, a waste of time, whether you think something urgently needs to be done, or whether you think it’s all a waste of money. From either point of view, this document contains nothing of substance.
The Party’s Overix
The party's over, it's time to call it a day No matter how you pretend You knew it would end this way It's time to wind up the masquerade Just make your mind up The piper must be paid The party's over, the candles flicker and dim You've danced and dreamed through the night It seemed to be right just being with him Now you must wake up, all dreams must end Take off your makeup, the party's over It's all over, my friend La-da-da-da-da, la-da-da-da-da You danced and dreamed through the night It seemed to be right just being with him Now you must wake up, all dreams must end Take off your makeup, the party's over
Of course, the party’s never over. There will be COP 27 at Sharm El-Sheikh, due to take place between 7th and 18th November 2022. And COP 28 has already been arranged to take place in the United Arab Emirates in 2023 (given the next two venues, perhaps Glasgow was just a bit too dreich and cold). There will be lots of pre-meetings, lots of hype, lots more climate pilgrimages, and many many more greenhouse gas emissions associated with all this too. And, inevitably, each one will see immense media coverage, and celebrities telling us it’s the last chance saloon (again). It’s difficult to see how COP 27 or COP 28 can achieve less than COP 26, but I wouldn’t bet against it.
ix “The Party’s Over”, composed by Jule Styne with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Thanks, Mark. You nailed it.
Right on cue, in today’s online version of the Observer:
“Cop27 is in Egypt next year … but will anyone be allowed to protest?
Green experts and human rights activists are concerned the hardline Cairo regime will suppress any civil society action”
Speaking of climate misinformation, how about this:
“The Cop26 summit in Glasgow produced substantial progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions…”.
Admittedly the sentence ends with this very correct qualifier:
“…but the national carbon targets laid out there fell far short of the near-halving of emissions required to stay within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels.”
However, given the analysis above, the statement that the Cop 26 summit in Glasgow produced substantial progress is at worst dishonest and at best an expression of wishful thinking. Patently it did no such thing. Never mind, the circus rolls on, with the predicted script:
“Concern is growing over plans to host a UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh next year, in what will be a crucial summit if the world is to limit global heating to 1.5C.”
I thought Glasgow was the crucial summit? And when COP 27 fails to achieve much if anything, COP 28 will be crucial too.
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You’d have to have a heart of stone, not to laugh, until you realise that this jamboree cost the British tax payers £100 million+
to fund this bloviation.
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Wishful thinking on display, IMO:
“Yes, Cop26 could have gone further – but it still brought us closer to a 1.5C world
The window to achieve that goal is vanishingly small, but it is there. Now we must seize this one last chance”
“One last chance” must be seized now? I thought that last chance was Glasgow? Apparently not – there’s always another.
“Like many others, I would like to have seen a stronger outcome from Cop26. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that much was achieved – and the final outcome does get us much closer to where we need to be than where we were a few weeks ago.
For the first time countries agreed to take action on fossil fuels. Yes, it could have gone further – but let’s not forget that never before has there been a single word uttered on fossil fuels in any Cop agreement. So the agreed text is significant….
…In short, Cop has, just about, brought us closer to being on track for a 1.5C world. Estimates range from 1.8C to 2.4C. A year ago we were looking at north of 3.5C.
The window of opportunity to achieve that is vanishingly small, but it’s still there. The critical thing is this: whether we seize the remaining chance we have comes down to the political will to drive domestic action at home.
It was very encouraging to see the world’s two biggest sources of greenhouse gases – China and the US – signalling their intention to work together again to drive down emissions….”.
Wow! New Zealand’s Minister of Climate Change and I seem to live on different planets.
Mark, thank you for reading it, so I don’t feel I ought to. There is a small chance that there were side deals of more importance than the main document, but I haven’t looked at the small print of those either.
Now, I feel a song coming on too…
There is a party
Everyone is there
Everyone will leave
At exactly the same time
When this party’s over
It will start again
But not be any different
Will be exactly the same
About two minutes in for the relevant lyric. Anyone who hasn’t seen the full movie, where have you been for the last 37 years?
@Mark & Jit – I feel a song coming on as well …. clue “you walked into the party…”
song didn’t end happy (bit weird vid to go with this version !!!)
“Cop26 kept the world’s 1.5C limit in reach – now we will steer it over the line
The Glasgow climate pact is something all parties can be proud of, but the work of the UK’s presidency is just beginning”
“By any measure, the Glasgow climate pact signed at Cop26 is a historic agreement. It was the result of two years of marathon work, and a two-week sprint of negotiations, but we achieved what we wanted. We can credibly say that we kept the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in reach.
And besides that, we have won historic commitments from countries to act on coal, cars, cash and trees. These are valuable agreements that begin to fill in the details of how we will navigate this immense, worldwide challenge.
Cop26 was the biggest political gathering of any kind ever held in the UK. Glasgow hosted representatives from 194 countries, and 120 world leaders, with 38,000 accredited delegates attending.
From outside, the negotiations may have appeared incredibly technocratic. But they were so much more than that. They were ultimately about protecting the lives and livelihoods of those on the frontline of the climate crisis. And protecting future generations who, if we fail, will be condemned to live in a dangerous, uncertain and depleted world.
Science tells us that the world is already on average 1.1C warmer than in pre-industrial times, and many millions of people are already suffering from the acute effects of a changing climate. Extreme weather is on the rise across the world and climate change does not recognise national borders.
Ultimately, the Glasgow climate pact is an outcome of which all parties can be proud.
The cooperation we have seen in this process should give the world hope. In a world of fractured global politics, countries have shown a unity of purpose on the issue of climate.”
“Yes, there were difficulties with these negotiations, particularly in the final hours when an agreement looked in real jeopardy. But overall we saw a willingness from countries to compromise. There was growth in trust between nations, and a genuine determination to reach agreement.
Driven by the latest science, our pact recognises the gulf between where countries are on emissions reductions and where we need to be. It emphasises the urgent need for faster action. It commits countries to revisit and strengthen their 2030 emissions reductions targets and develop mid-century net-zero strategies in 2022.
The pact makes progress on adaptation, finance, and loss and damage resulting from the climate crisis. And, for the first time, it commits to a plan to move away from coal power and inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies.”
There may have been a determination to reach an agreement, but the problem is that the only thing that all countries could agree upon was meaningless in terms of achieving anything. “It emphasises the urgent need for faster action.” True, but that emphasis wasn’t backed by anything. ” It commits countries to revisit and strengthen their 2030 emissions reductions targets and develop mid-century net-zero strategies in 2022.” Not true so far as I can see – he seems to be reading from a different text to the one I analysed.
“The pact makes progress on adaptation, finance, and loss and damage resulting from the climate crisis. And, for the first time, it commits to a plan to move away from coal power and inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies.” Also not true, at least not in any meaningful, binding or enforceable way. There were lots of warm words, but nothing of substance.
“With so many positive announcements, it could be tempting to become complacent. But this would be a mistake.” It would indeed, since the Glasgow Climate Pact changed nothing. I think the related article in the Guardian on the same day hits the nail on the head:
“UK will press governments to stick to climate pledges, says Cop26 president
Alok Sharma says shared goals must be steered to safety by ensuring countries deliver on their promises”
“…“There is no formal policing process in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change system, and so we must keep up the constructive pressure, and build on the trust and goodwill generated through Cop26.”
The lack of any policing process or sanctions for countries that fail to revise their national targets on emissions, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), means that the main ways of holding governments to account are through public scrutiny and political pressure.
Australia’s government has already made clear that it does not intend to increase its targets, which are widely regarded as inadequate. The US and the EU have also indicated they do not intend to increase their ambition.
Key countries under the spotlight are the world’s biggest emitter, China, whose promise to peak emissions by the end of this decade disappointed many analysts who argued it could go further; and the third biggest emitter, India, which announced new targets in Glasgow but has yet to formally detail them. Russia, Saudi Arabia and Brazil are also under scrutiny….”.
When they say about limiting temperature rise below 1.2deg above ‘pre-industrual temperatures’, what do they mean by ‘pre-industrial’?
Little ice age?
Medieval warm period?
Dark ages cool period?
Holocene climate optimum?
I think we should be told!
“UN shipping summit criticised for ‘dangerous’ delay on emissions plan
International Maritime Organization lacks urgency needed to tackle climate crisis, say campaigners”
“A decision by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and its member states not to revise its emissions reduction strategy until the spring of 2023 has been criticised as “dangerous” by environmental campaigners.
At the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting, convened by the IMO, one of the first global green summits after Cop26, Kitack Lim, the UN body’s secretary general, told delegates: “The world is watching us.” And on Tuesday, the meeting chair, Hideaki Saito, spoke of the “urgency” of all sectors accelerating their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in light of the Glasgow climate pact earlier this month.
Saito said the committee “recognised the need to strengthen the ambition” of the IMO’s current strategy to cut international greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in half by 2050. The strategy, which falls far short of what is needed to remain in line with the Paris agreement, was criticised as inadequate by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, in October….
…A resolution for zero emissions by 2050 by the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands was discussed for two days by delegates, but found support among only a minority of countries. They included Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Ukraine, UK, US, Vanuatu and Iceland. Others, including the EU27, Georgia, South Korea, the Bahamas and Norway supported the targets but not the 2050 resolution.
Notably, several EU countries that endorsed the zero-emission shipping declaration at Cop26 failed to support the IMO resolution to make that a goal.
Several countries spoke against the 2050 resolution and the 2050 zero-emission target, including Brazil, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia….”.
“EU will not strengthen climate action plan in 2022
The Glasgow climate pact calls on signatories to update their targets next year.”
“The European Union will not update its emission reduction plan next year, the Commission said Wednesday.
Diederik Samsom, head of cabinet for Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans, had told POLITICO’s Sustainable Future Summit on Wednesday morning that he “can’t exclude” Brussels reviewing its climate action goals in 2022.
Eric Mamer, the Commission’s chief spokesperson, later denied that possibility, saying: “The Commission has no plans to change the agreed 2030 emissions reduction target for the EU.”
The agreement reached at last month’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow “requested” all signatories “revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets” in their climate action plans “as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022, taking into account different national circumstances.”
Patricia Espinosa, head of the U.N.’s climate change body, said during POLITICO’s event that the call was aimed at “all countries, even those that have already presented very ambitious goals like the European Union.”
A Commission official said the EU’s plans were already in line with the Paris Agreement target, although some analysts say they fall short.
“The agreement applies to all countries, but the fact is that the EU climate plan, according to EU modeling, brings us to 1.5 degrees,” the official said. “We would have had to update it if we had not been on track.””
“Climate change: Storm clouds gather after COP26”
“Another key concern heading into 2022 is that some countries may simply ignore aspects of the Glasgow climate pact that they don’t like.
One key measure in the deal was the request for all countries to “revisit and strengthen” their national climate pledges by the time delegates gather in Egypt late in 2022.
Despite agreeing to this, a number of countries now say they simply won’t update their plans, among them Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand’s climate minister James Shaw told national media that this provision really only applied to large emitters like India, China, Russia and Brazil which hadn’t significantly strengthened their plans in time for Glasgow.”
“Climate change: ‘Fragile win’ at COP26 summit under threat”
“COP26 President Alok Sharma has warned that progress made during the summit is at risk of “withering on the vine”.
Mr Sharma said that the agreements reached at the Glasgow climate meeting had been a “fragile win” for the world.
But unless the commitments made are turned into action this year, the chances of keeping global temperatures in check will be lost.
Quoting from the popular film, Don’t Look Up, he said this was no time to “sit tight and assess”….”.
“Too many new coal-fired plants planned for 1.5C climate goal, report concludes
Number of new plants planned fell last year, but coal-generated electricity rose by 9% to record high”
“The number of coal-fired power plants under development around the world fell last year, but far too much coal is still being burned and too many new coal-fired power plants are planned for the world to stay within safe temperature limits.
Coal use appeared to be in long-term decline before the Covid-19 pandemic, but lockdowns around the world and economic upheaval drove an increase in new coal projects in 2020, particularly in China.
Last year, the total coal power capacity in development fell sharply again, by about 13%, from 525GW to 457GW, a record low for new plants under development, according to a report from Global Energy Monitor published on Tuesday. The number of countries planning new plants also fell, from 41 at the beginning of 2021 to 34 countries.
But these encouraging signs were outweighed by a slowdown in older coal-fired power stations being taken out of service. About 25GW of capacity was taken out – roughly equal to the amount of new capacity commissioned in China – and the amount of electricity generated from coal rose by 9% in 2021 to a record high, more than rebounding from a 4% fall in 2020 when Covid first struck.
The authors of the report concluded that “coal’s last gasp is not yet in sight”, despite countries agreeing at the Cop26 UN climate summit last November to a “phase down” of coal. Last year, the International Energy Agency warned that no new exploration of fossil fuels of any kind could take place if the world was to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
The continuing use of coal comes despite ever starker warnings from scientists in the latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that the world would far exceed the 1.5C limit without rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”
“‘Cash, coal, cars and trees’: what progress has been made since Cop26?
Six months on, the war in Ukraine and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have derailed some changes agreed on in Glasgow”
The Ukraine war and the covid pandemic provide useful excuses, but COP 26 was always going to be a failure, in its own terms, just like all the COPs that preceded it, and no doubt like the inevitably many COPs that will follow it.
Worth a read, to see just what an expensive GHG-emitting flop it all was.
And as a follow-up:
“‘This is about survival’: will Cop27 bring action on Glasgow climate pact?
Amid an energy crisis caused by war in Ukraine, climate experts say November talks must act on plans to limit global heating”
In answer to the question (will Cop27 bring action on Glasgow climate pact?) I think I can safely predict an answer in the negative.
“But the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has upended expectations for 2022, and nothing is quite as expected. Russia is likely to attend Cop27, whatever the state of the invasion by autumn. Egypt has long been friendly to Russia which, along with Ukraine, supplies most of the country’s grain. Thirty years of climate negotiations have seen and weathered plenty of previous conflicts, and insiders say countries are practised at keeping discussions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the parent treaty to the Paris agreement, separate from other geopolitical upheavals. Outright hostility at the summit is unlikely. A worse danger is the “indifference” and “love of the status quo” Kerry fears countries are reverting to, under cover of the war.”
The push for COP 27 has started. Given this, and the state of the global economy, I guess it won’t go well:
“Egypt says climate finance must be top of agenda at Cop27 talks
Host of November’s summit wants focus to be on ‘moving from pledges to implementation’”
“Financial assistance for developing countries must be at the top of the agenda for UN climate talks this year, the host country, Egypt, has made clear, as governments will be required to follow through on promises made at the Cop26 summit last year.
Egypt will host Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in November. The talks will take place in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, as well as rising energy and food prices around the world, leaving rich countries grappling with a cost-of-living crisis and poor countries struggling with debt mountains.
Most of the world’s biggest economies, and biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, have yet to fulfil the pledges they made at Glasgow last November to strengthen their targets on emissions cuts. Work to turn the pledges of climate finance from rich countries into projects on the ground helping poor countries has also been slow.”
“COP26: Are nations on track to meet their climate goals?”
No is the short answer, but they go round and round in telling us.
“Bonn climate conference: Ukraine war no excuse for prolonging coal, Kerry warns”
Er, yes it is. Never mind, here’s what the article says:
“The US envoy on climate change John Kerry has warned that the war in Ukraine must not be used as an excuse to prolong global reliance on coal.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Kerry criticised a number of large countries for not living up to the promises they made at the COP26 climate summit.
Climate diplomats meet again today in Bonn amid new, energy security worries.
If countries extend their reliance on coal in response to the war, then “we are cooked,” Mr Kerry said.”
Cooked, John? Is that science you’re following?
“The fragile unity shown in Glasgow last November is likely to be tested in Bonn as countries deal with the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the cost of living crisis.
Mr Kerry told the BBC that despite these drawbacks, “as a world we are still not moving fast enough,” to rein in the emissions of warming gases that are driving up temperatures.
“We can still win this battle,” the former senator said, but it will require a “wholesale elevation of effort by countries all around the world”.
Mr Kerry’s call was echoed by a leading Ukrainian scientist who urged delegates to speed up their transition away from fossil fuels.
Dr Svitana Krakovska said oil and gas were the “enablers of war”.”
No doubt she had in mind all the money Putin’s war machine is receiving, especially from EU countries, for the sale of oil and gas. Funnily enough, despite what this article is about, she apparently didn’t mention coal. Keep up, BBC.
The rest is a re-hash of the earlier article. Two bites of the cherry, and all that.
USA per capita emissions 2020: 13.681 t CO2
Germany per capita emissions 2020: 7.721 t CO2
UK per capita emissions 2020: 4.661 t CO2
Kerry, get lost. Come back and tell others what to do after you’ve done it yourself.
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JIT if ever you have travelled on the Great Plains or had to travel coast to coast in the USA you would recognise why per capita emissions in the USA are so high. The country is so big and so integrated that travel is a necessity. Between cities air travel is almost a bare necessity (although you can spend several days and nights on buses as I have, but that’s a minority sport) and on the Plains towns are commonly 30-40 miles apart with few if any bus services, virtually requiring use of private cars. I would imagine these factors alone make up a good part of the difference in per capita emissions. We use trains and buses more frequently than aircraft, and our cars tend to be less used for long trips, they are are invariably much smaller.
Would be interested to learn what you think Kerry could realistically recommend to reduce American travel emissions.
Alan, I have no such recommendations. I merely suggest to Mr. Kerry that he stop lecturing others about their failures, when his are much greater.
Of course in such a spread-out country as USA, with settlements built for the private car, it is going to be difficult to make cuts to CO2 emissions. Such cuts may lead to the wholesale destruction of the standard of living of US citizens, but that is an implied necessity if we accept the chain of “reasoning” of Kerry and his ilk. Because Kerry professes to believe in climate calamity, it is up to his government to curtail the freedoms of his fellow citizens until the desired outcome in terms of emissions is reached.
That this is impossible to achieve in his back yard ought to give him pause when he demands it in ours.
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Wow, I’m breathless at it all.
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“Bank group accused of exploiting loopholes and ‘greenwashing’ in climate pledge
‘Net zero’ global alliance of financial institutions, begun at Cop26, can still invest in coal and other fossil fuels”
“Banks that have signed up to a global climate pledge, led by Mark Carney, a former governor of the Bank of England, can still invest unlimited amounts in coal mining and coal power, despite promises to tighten the rules on their lending.
Green campaigners have slammed the loopholes, uncovered by the Guardian, as “greenwashing”, after updated criteria for banks involved in the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) were unveiled on Wednesday.
These loopholes would allow banks to continue to make new investments in coal until this time next year.
GFANZ members can also maintain their existing investments in coal and other fossil fuels beyond 2023, subject to an eventual “phasing down and out” of these assets….
…GFANZ was launched with fanfare at the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow last November by Carney, bringing together more than 450 big banks and financial institutions to help the world meet its net zero emissions target. Membership is taken to be a seal of green approval, showing banks are aligned with the global goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
GFANZ members, worth $130tn at the time of Cop26, are pouring billions of dollars in funding each year into clean energy. However, many members are also continuing to pour billions into fossil fuels, and are permitted to do so under GFANZ criteria….”
“Climate change: Rich nations accused of ‘betrayal’ at Bonn talks
By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, Bonn”
“Climate talks in Bonn headed into their final day with rich nations accused of betraying the developing world.
Poorer countries say that a promise they would be compensated for the damage done by richer countries’ emissions would be honoured this year.
They believed that new money to pay for the impacts of climate change that they can’t adapt to would be set up.
But in the discussions in Bonn, they say the issue has been side-lined by the US and Europe.
For many participants, a concept known as loss and damage has become the key issue in the global climate negotiations.
Developing country participants say climate impacts on their countries are more severe than on the richer nations and they have less financial capacity to cope….
…The developing nations argue that the climate change they are experiencing has been caused by historic carbon emissions that originated in richer countries. They say that Europe and the US have a responsibility now to pay for these losses and damages.
The US and Europe don’t agree. They fear that if they pay for historic emissions it could put their countries on the hook for billions of dollars for decades or even centuries to come.
The issue came to a head at COP26 in Glasgow where what’s been termed a “delicate compromise” was reached.
The island states and developing countries would agree to the Glasgow climate pact with a big focus on cutting carbon, if the richer nations would finally set up a process that would fund loss and damage.
“The compromise was based on an understanding that countries would be willing to start talking and taking decisions on dealing with how to get that finance flowing for loss and damage,” said Alex Scott from E3G, an environmental think tank.
“And we haven’t seen that come to fruition here. Instead, we’ve seen a workshop set up to talk about how we can fix some of the problems.”…”
So much comes out of that. First, COP26 was (in its own terms) a complete waste of time.
Secondly, the analysis by “poorer countries” is deeply problematic. Proving that there is loss and damage at all (compared to what went on before) is deeply problematic, given that many problems are the result of exploding populations living in areas that were previous avoided (for obvious reasons). Secondly, despite the population explosion, climate-related deaths are at record lows. Third, how do you prove that any losses were “caused” by CO2 emissions? Fourth, why do Europe and the USA have to pay? No mention of China. China’s cumulative CO2 emissions are in second place, and its per capita CO2 emissions ongoing are 50% higher than those of the UK (though admittedly we have just exported most of ours to China). What about Japan and India (in 2020 in 6th and 7th place respectively in terms of cumulative emissions). India might well be moving rapidly up the pecking order of cumulative emissions as it goes for increased coal use. Why is it all the west’s fault?
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Mark, interesting commentary. As you know, I think
is the knockout blow. One day it will be. But in the current madness I’ve been trying to construct propositions that have the ability to shock, for multiple reasons. How about this one?
I don’t believe the first part nor the ’caused’ (well, not caused all on their own). But both those parts are compatible with the current establishment view in the West. Not that you ever hear anyone say that China is very, very evil – but it’s a logical consequence of how evil they think the rest of us are for our lesser emissions.
And look at what they’ve caused. (And the rest of us.)
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
It shockingly non-sequituraneous.
I just invented a word, Can everyone see why one is needed?
It’s beyond stupid. I think we need to ‘agree’ with the consensus in this kind of way. It might just annoy them into facing truth.
Richard – well quite!
Disclosure, I edited my comment, not to change anything substantive (other than an inadvertent reference to China, when I meant India), but to correct some typos.
The BBC article has been updated now:
“Climate change: Bonn talks end in acrimony over compensation”
The heading and some of the comment have changed, though the link remains the same.
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“Climate change: Is the UK on track to meet its targets?
By Reality Check team”
It’s the usual climate change guff from the BBC, but I mention it here because it seems like the best place to put it, and also because the graph showing the share of UK electricity generation, by share of total mix, is interesting. “Other” isn’t specified (biomass?) but it represents a few percent, almost double hydro, solar and wind combined so far as I can tell. Because it’s a graph without detail, it’s difficult to tell exactly, but hydro, solar and wind combined look to be generating only 10-15% of total electricity generation. Given that we import a fair bit through the interconnectors too, and this isn’t shown on a graph of generation as opposed to use/need, that percentage would then fall even further. It’s pretty feeble compared to the hype we get every sunny windy day when we’re regaled with stories about how much renewables have generated. And given that electricity represents (currently) only a small percentage of our total energy requirements and use, it’s fairly self-evident that renewables, for all the cost, damage to our environment, and destabilising of the grid they have caused, are contributing a vanishingly small proportion of our total energy needs. It’s all a fantasy. An expensive and damaging fantasy.
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Easy to predict but also an example of what Ross McKitrick has said: climate policies causing the very ills – very grave ills to the poorest – that the imaginary climate crisis is claimed to produce but never has.
“Winter blackout fears spark dash for coal across Europe
Netherlands, UK and Germany scramble to stock up on dirtiest fossil fuel”
“European countries have launched a new dash for coal amid a battle to keep the lights on in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Netherlands on Monday joined Britain and Germany in warning that it will have to use more of the dirtiest fossil fuel this winter to stave off a looming energy shortage….
…Last November, Britain led a group of 40 countries vowing to permanently end coal use as part of the COP26 climate summit.
In the UK, Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, wrote to the owners of the UK’s remaining power coal-fired power generators last month asking them to stay open longer than planned.
National Grid has since struck a deal with EDF to continue operating as a back-up supply this winter, and similar deals with fellow plant owners Uniper and Drax are expected to follow.
Costs are expected to be recouped from consumer bills. The deal struck with EDF is thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds.
On Sunday Germany said it would reopen mothballed coal power plants, after the Kremlin cut gas flows to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline by 60pc.
Robert Habeck, the country’s economic minister, from the Greens party, said the decision was “painful” but a “sheer necessity”.
On Monday the Netherlands lifted a cap on production by coal-fired power plants, saying this could help it save 2bcm of gas each year. …”.
“Poland to subsidise coal for households amid soaring prices”
“The Polish government has announced measures to subsidize coal for households and housing cooperatives amid shortages and soaring prices.
Under the proposals, consumers will be able to buy up to three tons at 996.60 zlotys ($223) per ton. The market price for a ton of coal in Poland can reach up to 3000 zlotys ($671), largely due to a ban on Russian imports and a decreasing domestic production.
The cost of the fossil fuel has increased by more than 100% in the past year, leading many consumers to start stocking up well ahead of the next heating season. The country relies on coal for nearly 79% of its energy needs, with one third of households using it to heat their homes.”
From The Australian yesterday (but available to subscribers only):
“Australia: Coal and gas power plants to be paid to keep the lights on ”
“Coal and gas power stations would receive payments to secure reliable supply and keep Australia’s ailing electricity system operating, as the government faces pressure to avoid blackouts and fix the national energy crisis.
The Energy Security Board has rejected demands for the fossil fuels to be cut from its draft capacity mechanism, saying it was essential coal and gas plants did not exit the power grid before replacement renewables and storage generation were in place.”
“The Rich World’s Climate Hypocrisy
They beg for more oil and coal for themselves while telling developing lands to rely on solar and wind.”
“The developed world’s response to the global energy crisis has put its hypocritical attitude toward fossil fuels on display. Wealthy countries admonish developing ones to use renewable energy. Last month the Group of Seven went so far as to announce they would no longer fund fossil-fuel development abroad. Meanwhile, Europe and the U.S. are begging Arab nations to expand oil production. Germany is reopening coal power plants, and Spain and Italy are spending big on African gas production. So many European countries have asked Botswana to mine more coal that the nation will more than double its exports….”.
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It’s the new colonialism writ despicable.
“Johnson hints that new coal mine for Cumbria will get go-ahead”
“…So tricky has been this, the prospect of the first new deep-coal mine in the UK in 30 years, that noisy disagreement and dither have dominated.
The government asked the Planning Inspectorate to examine the arguments. It has done that and handed its report to the government.
And a deadline of Thursday 7 July was set for a decision by the Communities Secretary Michael Gove.
That is a fortnight away.
On Wednesday, tantalisingly, we got what looked like a glimpse of the government’s instinct.
Deep into Prime Minister’s Question Time, Conservative MP Chris Green asked about the importance of levelling up and the approach of other countries to the burning of different types of coal.
The prime minister knew the question was coming. Boris Johnson could have offered a generic answer. He could have ducked it entirely.
But instead he said this: “We can all be proud of the way in which we reduced CO2 emissions in this country, but plainly it makes no sense to be importing coal, particularly for metallurgical purposes, when we have our own domestic resources.”
To supporters of the mine in and around Whitehaven, that sounded like a possible prime ministerial thumbs-up for it getting the go-ahead.
Those around Mr Gove remain tight-lipped and sources in No10 caution about reading too much into the PM’s comment….”.
A nicely balanced aticle from the BBC. Written by a political correspondent rather than those with an agenda to push.
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Hilariously, Labour thinks the lack of international interest in doing anything is somehow the UK’s fault:
“Climate targets at risk as countries lag in updating emission goals, say campaigners
Labour says UK government ‘asleep at the wheel’ of Cop26 presidency as just 16 of 197 member nations submit new climate action plans”
“International climate targets could be at risk because only a handful of countries have updated their emission reduction goals since last year’s Cop26 summit, campaigners have warned.
Just 16 out of 197 member countries of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have updated their plans for how to meet climate goals – known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs.
Countries are expected to submit updated plans by 23 September.”
Mind you the next point is probably fair enough, given the claptrap coming from Government politicians about climate change, net zero, etc:
“Labour has criticised the UK government, which holds this year’s Cop presidency, for setting a poor example as it has not yet submitted a new NDC.”
As for the situation globally, this certainly seems to sum things up:
“…Campaigners fear it may be hard to make progress at the Cop27 summit in Egypt in November when so many NDCs have not yet been updated.
Mia Moisio from NewClimate Institute said: “The lack of progress on new climate targets in 2022 is alarming and most major emitters seem to have no intention to update their NDC.
“With less than four months left to Cop27, all governments need move into a higher gear of climate action. For developed countries, this also means substantially increasing their climate finance contributions, without which their credibility will be at stake during the negotiations.”…”.
Definitely not going well, and certainly not according to plan.
“African nations expected to make case for big rise in fossil fuel output
Exclusive: leaders expected to say at Cop27 they need accesss to their oil and gas reserves despite effect on global heating”
“Leaders of African countries are likely to use the next UN climate summit in November to push for massive new investment in fossil fuels in Africa, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
New exploration for gas, and the exploitation of Africa’s vast reserves of oil, would make it close to impossible for the world to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
However, soaring gas prices have made the prospect of African supplies even more attractive, and developed countries, including EU members, have indicated they would support such developments in the current gas shortage.
The Guardian has seen a technical document prepared by the African Union, comprising most of Africa’s states, for the “second extraordinary session of the specialised technical committee on transport, transcontinental and interregional infrastructure and energy committee”, a meeting of energy ministers that took place by video conference from 14 to 16 June.
The five-page document, and accompanying 25-page explanation, indicates that many African countries favour a common position that would inform their negotiating stance at the Cop27 UN climate summit, scheduled for this November in Egypt, which would entail pushing for an expansion of fossil fuel production across the continent.
The document states: “In the short to medium term, fossil fuels, especially natural gas will have to play a crucial role in expanding modern energy access in addition to accelerating the uptake of renewables.”
Member states of the African Union will meet again, in Addis Ababa, this week to confirm the stance to be taken. They are expected to argue that Africa must be allowed to benefit from its fossil fuel reserves, as rich countries already have done, and that developed countries by contrast must take the lead on sharp cuts to their emissions.”
“Taiwan tensions: China halts co-operation with US on key issues”
“China is halting co-operation with the US in several key areas including climate change, military talks and efforts to combat international crime.
The new measures follow a trip to Taiwan by a US congressional delegation led by senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi….
…The two major powers have maintained cordial diplomatic ties on the need to combat climate change in recent years. At last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, China vowed to work “with urgency” with the US to cut emissions….
…China’s “shared future for mankind” messaging on climate change is similarly put on ice, now seemingly held hostage to the precondition that its claims to Taiwan be recognised.
Nancy Pelosi may have given China the pretext. But this is a shift that was already well under way. The battle over values is front and centre stage once again, and the profound challenges it presents for the existing global order are likely only to increase….”.
A couple of observations. I (as I suspect is true of many climate sceptics/realists) have never taken seriously China’s claims to be joining in wholeheartedly with international plans to “tackle” climate change. This might suggest that we sceptics/realists have been right all along.
Secondly, as no fan of Trump, I think I can observe reasonably objectively that for all the hysteria of the last few years from those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, senior Democrats seem to be doing far more to wreck their own agenda than Trump ever managed to do.
“EU, China trade barbs over failed G20 climate talks”
“Fear of backsliding on Glasgow pledges dominates Cop27
Tentative drafts are emerging but some countries appear to be seeking to water down commitments agreed last year”