Vizjak optimistic about outcome of Glasgow conference

Glasgow – Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak told the STA on Friday that negotiators at the Glasgow climate conference were making progress on virtually all points. “A solution is in sight. I’m optimistic,” he told the STA after the plenary session. The minister expects “some kind of agreement” on Saturday morning at the latest.

The European Commission presented today some general statements that accompany such conferences, Vizjak said.

“There was a lot of optimism at the plenary session that at the end of today, probably during the night or in the first half of Saturday, some kind of agreement will be reached,” the minister told the STA.

They are working on background documents that address all areas – from adaptation to mitigation of climate change, damages and losses, finance, technical work … “These are the areas that are now being closed”, the minister said.

He said that the biggest breakthroughs had been made in the developed countries’ approach to put more emphasis on addressing losses and damages.

“Here a proposal was made to set up an institution to help developing countries with the technical basics for obtaining funds – how to record the damage, how to address financial institutions for aid …” Vizjak explained.

Many small island states “could not be blamed for emissions, but they suffer enormous damage from hurricanes and other phenomena caused by climate change”, he said.

“Europe really wants ambitious conclusions of the COP26,” Vizjak stressed. “We have been stressing, and we welcome the support of the British presidency and increasingly also of the US, that immediate and decisive action is needed if we want to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Significant progress has also been made in Glasgow regarding finance. “I think it is very realistic to expect US$100 billion a year in aid for underdeveloped countries as early as next year. This is where countries’ aid announcements are being stepped up”, said Vizjak, adding that it was crucial for Europe that these were not binding formulations.

The key topic of the COP26 conference, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, is the implementation of the Paris climate agreement reached in 2015.

In line with the Paris agreement, signatories are to limit global warming to well under 2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial times and strive for limiting it to 1.5 degrees. The UN warns that now the projections show the Earth’s temperature will rise by 2.7 degrees Celsius in this century.