‘Nowhere near enough!’ UK slammed despite groundbreaking pledge to phase-out fossil fuels

‘Nowhere near enough!’ UK slammed despite groundbreaking pledge to phase-out fossil fuels

COP26: Sturgeon responds to 'worst organised event' comments

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A near-final version of the COP26 agreement was published this morning and appeared to temper calls to end all use of coal and phase out fossil fuel subsidies completely. A previous version calls on countries to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuel”. But the wording has been changed, instead saying countries should accelerate “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”.

Saudi Arabia, India, Russia and some other countries have been pushing against the fossil fuel phase out wording.

Environmentalist George Monbiot slammed the draft text.

He told Sky News: “They say they want to phase out unabated coal and fossil fuels, which is a good start.

“That is coal-fired power stations that are not capturing the carbon dioxide and pumping it underground.

“And at the moment nations are pouring billions and trillions into subsidising fossil fuels.

“Getting rid of those two things is a good idea, but it’s still nowhere near the fundamental policy we need to leave all fossil fuels in the ground.”

Shadow minister for International Development, Preet Gill, said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs to lead by example.

She said: “I think the wording is absolutely welcome, but we are telling other countries to phase out fossil fuels, but we are still flirting with the idea here.

“This can’t happen for many developing countries if we do not have the finance.

“How are they going to adapt their economies if they don’t have the finance?

“It’s welcome and it’s tighter wording, but without the finance, it will be difficult to deliver it.”

The proposal is likely to undergo further negotiation at the talks, which are due to end at 6pm today.

Speaking on the current text, Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said: “It could be better, it should be better, and we have one day left to make it a lot, lot better.

“Right now the fingerprints of fossil fuel interests are still on the text and this is not the breakthrough deal that people hoped for in Glasgow.

“The key line on phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies has been critically weakened, but it’s still there and needs to be strengthened again before this summit closes.

“That’s going to be a big tussle and one we need to win.

“Meanwhile we’ve gone from ‘urging’ countries to strengthen their 2030 emissions targets in line with the 1.5C goal to merely ‘requesting’ they do so by 2022.

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“It wasn’t good enough before, it’s even weaker now and that needs to change.”

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said Mr Johnson should “come back and drive this deal over the line” if necessary.

She added: “In his shoes I may have stayed here for the remainder of the summit but come back to the wheel.”

The leader of the SNP said he should make sure “no stone is left unturned” to get a deal together with leaders, adding she believes it is “about 50-50 at the moment”.

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