The final text points explicitly to coal, which is the single biggest contributor to climate change. In all 25 COPs before Glasgow, never has an agreement mentioned coal, oil or gas, or even fossil fuels in general, as drivers — let alone the main cause — of the climate crisis.
A visibly teary COP26 President Alok Sharma made the announcement with strikes of a gavel. He orally amended the most recent draft of the text by watering down the language around fossil fuels after India and Iran raised objections to it. The final agreement now refers to a phasing “down” of coal as opposed to a phasing “out.”
The talks went into overtime as deep divisions remained on key issues on Friday evening, when the conference was originally scheduled to end. In addition to the language around fossil fuels, a key sticking point was the amount of money the developed world should pay the Global South to help it adapt to the climate crisis.
Sharma earlier told delegates he was “infinitely grateful” for keeping 1.5 alive. Sharma’s overarching goal was to get a deal that moved the world forward on containing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Scientists say that limit is needed to avoid worsening impacts of the climate crisis and to steer away from catastrophic climate change.
This is a breaking news story. More to come.