Nearly 200 countries at the UN COP26 summit in Scotland agreed to a deal to contain the global climate crisis, but the pact didn’t go far enough to tackle catastrophic global warming.
The final text of the two-week Glasgow talks was finally adopted on Saturday, one day after the originally planned end of the talks and following a last-minute amendment proposal by India. The change called on the parties to accelerate “efforts to gradually reduce coal energy relentlessly and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” – undermining what had originally been “phasing out efforts.”
The deal is the first United Nations climate agreement to explicitly plan for the reduction of coal, the main source of greenhouse gas emissions, and specifically mentions fossil fuels. However, several countries – including small low island nations – said they were deeply disappointed by the watering down of the crucial language, but had no choice but to go along with it.
“There was a real sense of ambush in the air,” Al Jazeera’s Nick Clark said, reporting from the talks.
Cop26 president Alok Sharma said he was “deeply sorry” for the way the summit ended. “I can only say to all the delegates that I apologize for the way this process has unfolded and I am deeply sorry,” he said, his voice broken with emotion after hearing from vulnerable nations expressing their anger at changes to the text.
“I also understand the profound disappointment, but I think that, as you have noticed, it is also vital to protect this package.”
The # COP26 the result is a compromise, which reflects interests, contradictions and the state of political will in today’s world.
It is an important step, but it is not enough.
It’s time to go into emergency mode.
The battle for the climate is the battle of our lives and that battle must be won. pic.twitter.com/NluZWgOJ9p
– Antonio Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 13, 2021
UN chief Antonio Guterres called the global agreement “an important step” but said it “is not enough. Time to go into emergency mode. “
“The approved texts are a compromise. They reflect interests, conditions, contradictions and the state of political will in today’s world “, he added.” They take important steps, but unfortunately the collective political will was not enough to overcome some profound contradictions “.
Negotiators say the deal aims to keep alive the overall goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.
The deal in effect recognized that pledges made so far to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions are by no means enough and called for nations to make stricter climate commitments next year, rather than every five years, as they are. currently required to do.
Scientists say going beyond a 1.5C rise would trigger extreme sea level rise and catastrophes, including crippling droughts, monstrous storms and fires far worse than those the world is already suffering from. But national commitments made so far to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – primarily carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and gas – would only limit the average global temperature rise to 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3 degrees Fahrenheit).
After the resistance of rich nations led by the United States and the European Union, the text omitted any reference to a specific financing instrument for the losses and damage that climate change has already caused in developing countries. Instead, it promised a future “dialogue” on the subject.
The text noted “with deep regret” that even rich nations had failed to pay a separate annual sum of $ 100 billion they promised over a decade ago. He urged countries to pay “urgently and until 2025”. It also promised to double funding to help developing countries adapt to rising temperatures by the same date.
Laurence Tubiana, the architect of the Paris Agreement, said that “The COP has failed to provide immediate assistance to the people who are suffering now.”
The # COP26 it’s over. Here’s a quick rundown: Blah, blah, blah.
But the real work continues outside these rooms. And we will never, ever give up. https://t.co/EOne9OogiR
– Greta Thunberg (@Greta Thunberg) November 13, 2021
Meanwhile, prominent Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg said the talks achieved nothing but “blah, blah, blah”.
“The real work continues outside these halls. And we will never, ever give up, ”the head of the Fridays for Future movement wrote on Twitter.
Activist Jean Su told Al Jazeera that the first explicit mentions of fossil fuels in a climate pact were both “extraordinary and extremely disappointing.”
“We have fought for years to basically take what everyone else in the world knows that fossil fuels are the engine of the climate emergency and bring it to global climate negotiations,” he said.
“So, on the one hand, we were extremely surprised that this year we finally put it in the text, but what is in the text is extremely weak – it really doesn’t mean much. It just ends up perpetrating a fossil fuel system. which has not been adequately addressed in the negotiations, “added Su.