Climate Cable

Glasgow climate pact sealed amid disappointment over coal compromise

Author:
Vivian Chime

Almost 200 countries have adopted a new climate pact in Glasgow, Scotland.

Negotiators from the countries however expressed disappointment over the last-minute compromise on coal.

At the closing plenary of the COP26 on Saturday, the negotiators said they were displeased by the change of phrase to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal power — the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

European nations and several small island states described the revision as offensive and against the rules, adding that they were disappointed at China and India’s last-minute intervention to water down the language on cutting emissions from coal.

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The previous draft said countries would “phase out” the use of unabated coal — which means that they would put an end to coal-burning without some form of carbon capture or storage that helps reduce emissions. 

But despite complaints about the final provisions not going far enough to keep the 1.5 degrees target alive, countries had to accept the final draft as they could not make any further input to the final document.

All 197 parties of the United Nations have signed up to the climate pact, despite the reservations.

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Alok Sharma, president of COP26, said he is “deeply sorry” for the way the process unfolded.

“I understand the deep disappointment. It’s also vital we protect this package,” he said.

Sharma said the decisions and action plans not actualised at COP26 will continue at COP27.

The sealing of the pact brings the two weeks UN climate talks in Glasgow to a close.



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.
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