The reason is that at the last stage of negotiations on the agreement, the two Asian countries pressed for a major change in the text, in the paragraph that talked about the gradual abandonment of the use of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels. Rather than committing to accelerating “elimination,” the final version of the agreement talks about accelerating “reducing” highly polluting energy sources.
COP26: Representatives of nearly 200 countries have agreed to a historic global climate agreement
This has caused environmentalists and analysts to see a weakness in the final COP agreement, which could make it more difficult to control greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.
Even COP26 President Alok Sharma said so India NS China They should be accountable to the countries most vulnerable to global warming (the case of small islands whose land is shrinking amid rising sea levels).
“I will call on everyone (countries) to do more. But in terms of what happened yesterday (Saturday), China and India will have to explain themselves and what they have done to the most vulnerable countries.” Sharma told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, adding, however, “I wouldn’t call what we did yesterday a failure – it was a historic feat.”
At a press conference with the British Prime Minister Boris JohnsonOn Sunday, Sharma adopted a more appropriate tone, saying he had “reduced (coal use) before scrapping” and reiterated that this was the first time in history that a climate agreement had indicated ambitions related to coal reduction.
In the same interview, Boris Johnson said the conference had come up with a “breakthrough” agreement that would be a “death sentence for coal power”. The prime minister added that despite the conference’s achievements, it had a “disappointing tone.”
Sharma (left), head of COP26, said India and China should explain themselves; Johnson (right) said the conference was a “turning point” but a “disappointing tone” – Image: PA MEDIA via BBC
“Those for whom climate change is already a matter of life and death, who can only watch their islands sink, their farmlands turn into desert, and their homes are destroyed by storms, these people demanded a high level of ambition. For the conference,” he declared.
“While many of us were willing to do so, it was not the case for everyone,” the prime minister added, without explicitly mentioning India and China. “Unfortunately that is the nature of diplomacy. We can pressure, persuade and encourage, but we cannot force sovereign nations to do what they do not want. In the end, it is up to them, and they have to support that.”
At the same time, Johnson said that the difficult goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (agreed at the previous climate conference in Paris 2015) “is still alive”.
Coal, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, remains a major source of energy in countries like India and China – the latter burning more coal than the rest of the world combined.
BBC China correspondent Stephen McDonnell has confirmed that the Sino-Indian alliance for last-minute change to the script is seen as a drain on those hoping for a more ambitious outcome in Glasgow.
But it does indicate that, internally, the Chinese government already knows it will have to reduce its reliance on coal as an energy source — and the critical question for Beijing is how quickly this can be accomplished.
McDonnell says Beijing’s argument is that developed countries are responsible for most of today’s global warming, and they’ve gotten rich in the process. So, this argument continues, developed countries should be more tolerant of countries like China.
Although there was disappointment on the part of environmentalists, many emphasized the historic character of the conference, which concluded on Saturday.
Chinese negotiators at COP26 in Glasgow; Despite the outcome of the conference, it is believed that “fossil fuels are losing their social license, that is, their license to exist” – Image: PA MEDIA via BBC
“This is the first time that a resolution in the climate agreement has explicitly recognized the necessity of moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. We have already seen proposals in this regard in previous draft resolutions, such as the Paris Agreement itself, but they did not survive in the text, Natalie Unsterstel, climate policy expert and member of the Climate Finance Group for Latin America and the Caribbean, told BBC News Brazil.
“It’s a direct reflection because fossil fuels lose their social license, that is, their license to exist.”
International Executive Director of the environmental NGO Greenpeace Jennifer Morgan said the agreement “is shy, it’s weak, and the 1.5°C target is about to survive, but the signal that the age of coal has been dispatched is coming to an end. And that’s important.”
“If you’re a coal CEO, this COP has had a bad outcome for you,” he added.
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