CAMPAIGNERS have warned that the draft COP26 agreement means efforts to keep the 1.5C warming limit alive is “hanging by a thread”.

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, told The Herald that “every element” of the draft text needs to be improved before talks in Glasgow conclude.

The first draft of the “cover decision” for the overarching agreement at COP26 called for countries “to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”.

But in a new draft published on Friday morning, that statement has been weakened to calling on countries to accelerate the shift to clean energy systems, “including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation and accelerating the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”.

With much of the focus on ending the use of coal, very little has been discussed about broadly ending the use of fossil fuels for energy systems.

READ MORE: COP26: Warning fossil fuel pledges 'critically weakened' in updated draft agreement

The inclusion of a reference to fossil fuels was a first for a UN decision document of this type but was expected to get fierce pushback from some countries – and still may not survive to the final text.

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said he had been "surprised" to see the initial fossil fuels commitment make the first draft of the text.

He added: "Fossil fuels is mentioned but not in any meaningful way so that's kind of disappointing. It will be interesting to see if it even gets any weaker at all.

"Every element of this draft text needs to improve. If we came in here and the idea was to put 1.5C within reach, this document doesn't put 1.5C in reach.

"As it stands now it's definitely in the balance - it's hanging by a thread."

He said: "The window of opportunity that we've got to get to 1.5C is closing rapidly. We could get to a point where it would be impossible.

"If it finishes as it is now, we're leaving a heck of a lot to chance to be resolved by the next COP in Egypt and that's not good enough."

Mr Banks stressed that the fact "nature is recognised" in the document was a positive step.

He added: "That's exactly the type of thing that needs to give the Scottish Government an impetus to restore nature.

"I would say they need to go further than the forest and peatland restoration because coming out of COP, the world collectively will have fallen short, so we will need to up our game.

"We will need to think about how genuinely we use Scotland's nature to restore more quickly and earlier to help the fight against climate change.

"Assuming that remains in the text, that will give greater impetus to Scotland to get on and protect nature.

"We will not be able to achieve 1.5C without nature being restored - it's really simple."

READ MORE: Sturgeon tells Boris Johnson to return to Glasgow to 'drive this deal over the line'