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China and India among 22 nations calling for key emissions section to be ditched from COP26 agreement


By Angela Dewan and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

A group of 22 nations known at the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), which include China, India and Saudi Arabia, asked for the entire section on the mitigation of climate change to be removed from the draft COP26 text, in a sign of the enormous gaps that still remain a day before talks are due to close.

Bolivia’s chief negotiator, Diego Pacheco, who represents the LMDC group, said Thursday that the countries felt the developed world was trying to transfer its responsibilities for the climate crisis onto the developing world.

“We requested the presidency remove completely the section on mitigation,” Pacheco said at a press conference in Glasgow.

Pacheco described China and India as being “part of the family” of the group making the request, but he didn’t mention Saudi Arabia.

CNN is reaching out to Chinese, Indian and Saudi officials for comment.

The LMDC does not believe developing countries should have to have the same deadlines and ambitions on emissions as wealthy nations.

Pacheco pointed to developed countries’ greater historical role in the climate crisis, accusing rich nations of trying to “transfer responsibility” to developing nations but asking them to meet the same deadlines on emissions reductions as the developed world.

“History matters and history is very important to understand and to put in the context in the discussion on ambition,” he said. He added that it would be impossible for many countries in the group to achieve Net Zero by mid-century, as many countries have signed up for.

It’s highly unlikely that the entire section would be removed from a final agreement, but the call for it to be scrapped is a bold request from the group and suggests that there are still huge gaps between countries in what they want. It also suggests the measures outlined on emissions cuts could be watered down or different rules for developed and developing countries.

The final agreement needs consensus from all 197 parties taking part in the talks.

The mitigation section includes language on trying to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as opposed to the 2-degree upper limit mentioned in the Paris Agreement. It also urges countries to fast-track updates to their pledges on emissions by the end of 2022.

Some civil society groups have criticized the LMDC’s stance, calling it out as a deliberately overblown request to gain leverage in talks.

The suggestion to delete the mitigation section “is clearly a punch in the face of people suffering from the climate crisis,” said Teresa Anderson, a climate policy coordinator for ActionAid International.

Frans Timmermans, the EU Commission’s vice president, ridiculed the call as illogical.

“I’m trying to follow the logic of that position,” he said, acknowledging that he understood developing nations’ calls for more money to adapt to the climate crisis.

“But then to say let’s remove that mitigation — there is no amount of money on the planet. There’s no great technical solution for adaptation good enough to have to get us where we need to be on adaptation if we don’t do mitigation. Look at what’s happening with 1.1 degrees now. Just imagine we shoot through the two degrees and two and a half degrees. What are you going to do on adaptation?”

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