Countries adopt the Glasgow Climate Pact after India and China force an amendment on the reference to coal


After India and China were able to force an amendment to language calling for the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies in a dramatic last-minute intervention, the countries at the Glasgow meeting on climate change adopted a Glasgow Climate Pact. meant to keep hopes alive. to reach the temperature target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The pact fell far short of expectations for a bold and ambitious deal, but countries still hailed it as an important step forward in efforts to prevent global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.

“It is a small step forward. The pace is extremely slow. We move in inches when we need to gallop in miles, ”said Harjeet Singh, senior advisor to Climate Action Network International, a large group of NGOs working in the climate space.

Read | COP26: Time is running out, unresolved issues, no agreement yet

Hours after the adoption of the final agreement, big differences emerged over the reference to phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies. India, China, and several other developing countries, including Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba, opposed this provision, which urged countries to accelerate “efforts toward phasing out coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” . This was the first time that a phase-out of carbon was explicitly mentioned in any decision at the climate change meetings, and it was seen as one of the progressive elements of the deal, particularly by civil society groups.

India’s Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav argued that developing countries should not be denied the opportunity for development.

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

“In such a situation, how can anyone expect developing countries to make promises about phasing out fossil fuel subsidies? Developing countries have yet to address their poverty eradication and development programs. To this end, the subsidies provide much-needed social security and support, ”he said.

Yadav presented an example where fossil fuel subsidies were useful from development and health perspectives.

“We are giving subsidies for the use of LPG to low-income households. This subsidy has been of great help to eliminate the burning of biomass for cooking, it has improved women’s health and reduced indoor air pollution, ”she said.

Supported by China and many other developing countries, India subsequently submitted a proposal to amend this provision to replace the word “phase-out” with “phase-out” in the context of coal, and include a recognition of the different national circumstances of some countries. The final provision called on countries to intensify their efforts “to phase out coal power endlessly and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable according to national circumstances. … “.

Many countries expressed disappointment at this “dilution”, but agreed anyway, paving the way for the adoption of the Glasgow Pact after two weeks of intense negotiations.

While the coal fight attracted the most attention in the closing hours of the meeting, on the 26th The UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, or COP26 for short, would also be remembered for the failure of developed countries to deliver on their 12-year promise to mobilize at least $ 100 billion in climate finance to help the developing world to deal with the impacts of climate change. This money was supposed to be raised every year starting in 2020, but the deadline was pushed back to 2023 just before the Glasgow conference.

The Glasgow climate pact noted this failure “with deep regret” and called on developed countries to deliver on this promise urgently. It also started discussions on the quantification of a new target for climate finance, more than US $ 100 billion, to be mobilized each year starting in 2025.

Glasgow also had some major successes. In response to the demands of developing countries, and in accordance with the commitment of the Paris Agreement, a new process has been initiated to define a global adaptation objective. The Paris Agreement has a global mitigation target, defined in terms of temperature targets. It seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in amounts sufficient to maintain the

Global temperatures rise to 2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, while efforts are being made to limit this to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But a similar goal for adaptation has been lacking, mainly due to difficulties in setting such a goal. Unlike mitigation efforts that bring global benefits, the benefits of adaptation are local or regional. There is no uniform global yardstick against which adaptation goals can be set and measured.

The Glasgow Climate Pact has established a two-year work program to define an adaptation goal.

COP26 also resolved the long-standing issue of carbon markets that had been holding back the finalization of the rules and procedures for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Countries, regions or even companies can negotiate emission reductions in a carbon market. An entity that seeks to achieve emission reduction targets, but is unable to do so, can purchase carbon credits from other entities that have been able to make more reductions than required.

In a large concession to major economies such as India, China or Brazil, COP26 has allowed old carbon credits, obtained under the mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, to be traded in the new carbon market that is being created, as long as these credits have been obtained after 2012. Countries have been allowed to use these credits to achieve their emission reduction targets until 2025.

COP26 also came very close to establishing a loss and damage mechanism, a reference to the enormous damage suffered by countries due to climate disasters. Least developed countries, small island states and the Africa group have spoken out in demanding a loss and damage mechanism that can help with relief and rehabilitation efforts after a climate change disaster. The Glasgow meeting had substantial loss and damage discussions after eight years, but it fell short of creating a facility that was being sued. Instead, it only established a dialogue to discuss financing activities to deal with loss and damage.



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