Climate change deal agreed on at COP26 after India calls for change to coal ‘phase out’ wording

Close to 200 nations around the world agreed on a deal to fight global warming at the Glasgow climate conference but many were disappointed with India after they demanded a re-wording of a section of the document.

Negotiators from across almost 200 countries have finally agreed on a new deal to fight climate change after India demanded a toning down of a section of the draft deal that focused on “phasing out” coal.

India would only agree to the cover consensus document – titled the Glasgow Climate Pact – if the wording to phase out coal and inefficient subsidies of fossil fuels was changed to a “phase-down” of unabated coal.

The delegates from 197 nations accepted the deal despite being “profoundly disappointed” as not agreeing would mean extended discussions and an ongoing stalemate after two weeks of meetings and conferences.

COP26 President Alok Sharma had earlier broke down during proceedings of the last-minute change as vulnerable countries argued stronger action on fossil fuels as needed to save the earth.

“May I just say to all the delegates, I apologise for the way this process has unfolded and I am deeply sorry,” he told hundreds of officials and delegates.

“I also understand the deep disappointment, but I think as you have noted, it’s also vital that we protect this package.

Indian delegates said the new wording would be “to call upon states to escalate the development and deployment and dissemination of technologies to transition to low emission energy systems, including by scaling up clean power generation, including escalating to phase-down unabated coal power and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognising the support towards a just transition.”

Negotiators from Switzerland, Mexico, the Marshall Islands and the European Union were angry, adding the change was against the rules as it came late.

Swiss Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said the re-wording would make it harder to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times. The world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius.

The new deal is a positive for Australia, who heavily rely on coal exports,

Prior to leaving to Scotland for the conference, Mr Morrison said Australia’s policy was “very clear” in that it would “not be engaged in those sort of mandates and bans” on coal.

“It won’t be the Australia government’s policy. All countries are coming at this task from different places, their economies are different. And as a global community, we’ve got to understand that,” he said.

“Developing countries have different challenges to those in Europe. Indeed, Australia’s economy in the shape and form of our economy is very different to many of those as well.”

Australia is among a number of countries that have been told to set more ambitious 2030 emissions and reduction targets.

The United Nations climate agency released the first draft  on Wednesday (local time) where they noted current pledges by countries are “insufficient” in responding to the worsening global warming impacts in developing countries.

The seven-page proposal, published on Wednesday morning (local time), has urged countries to “revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determine contributions, as necessary to align with the Paris agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022”.

The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, set the goal of avoiding the increase in the average global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius and limiting the goal of not exceeding 1.5 degrees.

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