The president of the COP26 climate talks has sounded the alarm on a “number of issues” outstanding on funding for poor nations, urging progress on all topics before we are “literally out of time”.

In an address in Glasgow, Alok Sharma urged countries to “step up” when it comes to climate finance, an issue that could be the glue to bring a final package together.

“We are not there yet,” warned Mr Sharma, calling for a “gear shift” from the almost 200 nations racing to strike a deal before the week ends.

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Alok Sharma
Alok Sharma urged countries to ‘step up’ when it comes to climate finance

But Mr Sharma said we have still taken a “significant step further towards a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced set of outcomes which I hope parties will adopt by consensus by the end of tomorrow”.

“But we are not there yet,” he added. “There is still a lot more work to be done… I’d like to address the critical need to step up efforts today to get to where we need to be to realise substantive outcomes on finance.”

In a damning assessment of the draft texts so far, Teresa Anderson, of Climate Action Network (CAN), said: “COP26 is the opportunity to prove that you are serious about preventing a deepening of the climate crisis.

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“But instead of doing what is needed, your draft decisions do not provide justice or offer support to the millions already facing loss and damage due to climate change.

“Nor do they keep 1.5C in sight.”

The UK as host of the talks wanted the aim to be “keeping 1.5C alive,” referring to the more ambitious goal in the Paris Agreement. An independent assessment on Tuesday predicted the world was on course for 2.4C of warming.

To limit warming to 1.5C, the world needs to cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, UN scientists say. The draft text urges nations to revisit and strengthen their 2030 carbon emissions targets by the end of 2022 – a section that Saudi Arabia has been accused of watering down.

Ms Anderson, whose organisation represents around 1,500 environmental groups from around the world at COP talks, had been addressing the room immediately after Mr Sharma.

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‘Leaders must step up and do whatever it takes’

Meanwhile, an updated version of the agreement from the summit had been expected Thursday morning but will now come overnight. However, a set of fresh draft texts were released this morning.

These cover tricky but crucial issues including financing for poor countries to adapt to climate change, improving the transparency of the process.

Mr Sharma had called for “greater impetus” on issues surrounding rules for carbon trading, often referred to as “Article 6” of the Paris Agreement. The last two COP talks have tried and failed to determine the rules for a global carbon trading system.

The summit is due to finish on Friday but is expected to spill over into the weekend, as previous COPs have done.

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