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Thursday, December 9, 2021

COP26: India and China called to issue explanation to vulnerable countries following last moment ‘phase down’ of coal

Following two weeks of negotiations involving nearly 200 world leaders, the Climate Glasgow Pact has been agreed upon by all present at the COP26 climate summit.

The current deal has been hailed by UK Prime Minister and summit host Boris Johnson but also the subject of disappointment by the PM as the deal didn’t go further on tackling the use of coal. Nonetheless, Johnson described the deal as “truly historic” and signalled “the beginning of the end for coal power”.

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However, hints of disappointment were not only expressed by the host but also by the climate summit’s President Alok Sharma who issued a tearful apology for the ‘softened’ language used for India and China’s commitment to keeping coal in the ground, from phasing out coal to instead phasing down.

While exhibiting disappointment, Sharma stated that both nations owe an explanation to countries that are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as drought, rising sea levels and extreme wildfires.

“We cannot force sovereign nations to do what they do not wish to do. It’s ultimately their decision to make and they must stand by it.”

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Although the summit concluded with a pledge to take action that would realistically still fall short of the Paris Agreement target of limiting global temperatures from rising 1.5C – 2C above pre-industrial levels, Johnson said that it managed to “turn the dial down” by approximately two degrees.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was discouraged by the ‘unambitious’ G20 summit in Rome, has still not been reassured by the COP26 summit while stating, “Climate catastrophe is still knocking on the door”.

US President Joe Biden lashed out at Chinese President Xi Jinping for his absence at the summit and is due to hold a conference with him later today.

IMAGE – Wikimedia Commons/ Presidential Press and Information Office

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