Nations Reach Climate Pact In Glasgow; Reference On Coal Amended After India, China Protest

New Delhi: Countries at the Glasgow climate change meeting struck a deal aimed at keeping hopes alive for meeting the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature goal and averting a climate catastrophe.

But the pact came only after India and China were able to force an amendment on the language calling for “phase-out” of coal to “phase-down” of the fossil fuel.

Backed by China and many other developing countries, India moved a proposal to substitute the word “phase-out” with “phase-down” of coal, and to recognise the different national circumstances of some countries.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said he was “deeply sorry” for how events had unfolded.

The pact fell far short of expectations but countries still hailed it as an important step forward.

India, China and several other developing countries, including Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, objected to the provision that called upon countries to accelerate “efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.

India’s Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav asked how developing countries could promise to phase out coal and fossil fuel subsidies when they “have still to deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication”, according to media reports.

“The UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) refers to mitigation of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from all sources. UNFCCC is not directed at any particular source…. Targeting any particular sector is uncalled for. Every country will arrive at net zero emissions as per its own national circumstances, its own strengths and weaknesses. Developing countries have a right to their fair share of the global carbon budget and are entitled to the responsible use of fossil fuels within this scope,” Yadav said at one of the final meetings in Glasgow on Saturday.

“In such a situation, how can anyone expect that developing countries can make promises about phasing out fossil fuel subsidies? Developing countries have still to deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication. Towards this end, subsidies provide much needed social security and support,” he said.

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