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HomeWorld NewsNations reach climate agreement with coal pledge at COP26

Nations reach climate agreement with coal pledge at COP26

Nations reach climate agreement with coal pledge at COP26.

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – Nearly 200 countries on Saturday agreed to a controversial climate pledge aimed at keeping a key global warming goal alive, but it contained a last-minute change that diluted crucial language about coal.

Several countries, including small island states, said they were deeply disappointed by India’s move to “phase out” rather than “phase out” coal power, the main source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Nation after the nation had complained earlier on the last day of the two-week UN climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, about how the deal didn’t go far enough or fast enough but said it was better than nothing. and it provided incremental progress, if not success.

Negotiators from Switzerland and Mexico called for the change of the coal language against the rules because it came too late. However, they said they had no choice but to hold their noses and accept it.

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Swiss Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said the change will make it difficult to achieve the international goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times.

“Our fragile planet hangs by a thread,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.”

Many other nations and climate activists singled out India for making demands that weakened the final deal.

“India’s last-minute switch to the language to phase out but not phase out coal is quite shocking,” said Australian climate scientist Bill Hare, who tracks global emissions promises for the science-based Climate Action Tracker. “India has long been a blocker on climate action, but I have never seen it do it publicly.”

Others approached the deal from a more positive perspective. In addition to the revised carbon language, the Glasgow Climate Pact included enough financial incentives to nearly satisfy the poorest nations and solved a long-standing problem to pave the way for carbon trading.

The agreement also says that the big carbon-polluting nations must come back and submit firmer emission reduction commitments by the end of 2022.

“It’s good business for the world,” US climate envoy John Kerry told The Associated Press. “It has some problems, but overall it is a very good deal.”

Before the India switch, negotiators said the deal retained, albeit narrowly, the overarching goal of limiting global warming by the end of the century to 1.5 degrees. The planet has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times.

Before the Glasgow talks, the United Nations had established three criteria for success, and none of them were achieved. The UN criteria included commitments to cut carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2030, $ 100 billion in financial aid from rich nations to the poor, and ensuring that half of that money went to help the world in development to adapt to the worst effects of climate change.

“We did not achieve these goals at this conference,” Guterres said Saturday night. “But we have some building blocks for progress.”

Negotiators on Saturday used the word “progress” more than 20 times, but rarely used the word “success” and then mainly because they reached a conclusion, not on the details of the deal. Conference president Alok Sharma said the deal boosts “progress on coal, cars, cash, and trees” and is “meaningful to our people and our planet.”

Environmental activists were measured in their not-so-brilliant assessments, issued before India’s last-minute change.

“It’s tame, it’s weak and the 1.5 C target is alive, but a signal has been sent that the age of coal is ending. And that matters, ”said Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan, a veteran of the UN climate talks known as Conferences of the Parties.

Former Irish President Mary Robinson, speaking on behalf of a group of retired leaders called The Elders, said the pact represents “some progress, but not close enough to avert a climate disaster … People will see this as negligence. historically shameful of duty. ”

India’s Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav opposed a provision on the phasing out of coal, saying that developing countries had a “right to the responsible use of fossil fuels.”

Yadav blamed “unsustainable lifestyles and wasteful consumption patterns” in rich countries for causing global warming.

After Yadav first raised the specter of changing the language of coal, a frustrated European Union vice president, Frans Timmermans, the 27-nation EU climate envoy, begged negotiators to come together for future generations.

“For the love of God, don’t kill this moment,” Timmermans pleaded. “Please accept this text so that we may bring hope to the hearts of our children and grandchildren.”

Helen Mountford, vice chair of the World Resources Institute think tank, said India’s demand may not matter as much as feared because the economy of cheaper renewable fuel is making coal increasingly obsolete.

“The coal is dead. The coal is being phased out, ”Mountford said. “It’s a shame they dilute it.”

Kerry and several other negotiators noted that good compromises leave everyone a little dissatisfied. “Not everyone in public life … can make decisions about life and death. Not everyone can make decisions that really affect an entire planet. Today we are privileged to do exactly that, ”he said.

Before the coal shift, small island nations that are vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of climate change and that had pushed for bolder action in Glasgow said they were satisfied with the spirit of compromise, if not the outcome of the talks.

“The Maldives accepts the progressive progress made in Glasgow,” said Aminath Shauna, the island nation’s minister for environment, climate change and technology. “I would like to point out that this progress is not commensurate with the urgency and scale of the problem at hand.”

Shauna pointed out that to stay within the warming limit that nations agreed to six years ago in Paris, the world must cut carbon dioxide emissions by essentially half in 98 months. The developing world needs the rich world to step forward, he said.

“The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is a death sentence for us,” Shauna said. “We did not cause the climate crisis. No matter what we do, this will not reverse.”

Talks next year are scheduled to take place in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea. Dubai will host the meeting in 2023.

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