Climate treaty hangs in balance over coal

Climate treaty hangs in balance over coal

Climate treaty hangs in balance over coal: Fate of landmark agreement is on a knife-edge as Saudi Arabia, Russia and India seek to water it down

  • Coal producing countries demand climate change agreement is watered down 
  • The landmark agreement refers to ‘phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies’ 
  • But last night it appeared the commitment would be deleted from the final text 

The fate of a landmark global agreement on climate change was hanging in the balance last night as major coal-producing countries demanded that it be watered down.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and India insisted that references to ‘phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies’ should be removed from the final deal which delegates were hoping to unveil in Glasgow today.

It had been hoped that including such an unprecedented commitment would send a powerful message to fossil fuel producing countries to find alternative sources of energy.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned delegates that hopes of limiting global warming to 1.5C – the key aim of the climate talks in Glasgow – were ‘on life support’, but added ‘until the last moment, hope should be maintained’

But last night, it appeared the commitment would be deleted from the final text of the deal following opposition from the three countries.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned delegates that hopes of limiting global warming to 1.5C – the key aim of the climate talks in Glasgow – were ‘on life support’, but added ‘until the last moment, hope should be maintained’.

Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who oversaw the 2015 Paris summit, said world leaders will have to return to the negotiating table next year with improved plans to cut greenhouse gases because the proposed targets agreed at the Cop26 summit were too weak.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and India insisted that references to ‘phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies’ should be removed from the final deal which delegates were hoping to unveil in Glasgow today

Cop26 had been due to finish today but last night delegates warned that deep rifts among the negotiating parties meant the talks were likely to over-run. Sources said that security guards had been booked to work on Sunday.

Cop26 president Alok Sharma tried to play down claims that the Glasgow talks would flop, saying delegates had ‘no choice but to strain every sinew’ to make the summit a success.

It came as the United States and China were praised yesterday for putting aside their differences to co-operate on fighting climate change.

Boris Johnson tweeted: ‘I welcome the strong show of commitment from China and the US last night to step up climate action this decade and keep 1.5C in reach.’

Iran plays the sanctions card 

Iran said it will only agree to the UN pact to limit climate change if sanctions against it are lifted.

Iran is the world’s eighth largest carbon dioxide emitter and the Climate Action Tracker has said its emissions are expected to rise by 50 per cent by 2030.

Ali Salajegheh, the country’s environment minister, told the BBC: ‘What happened was we said that we would reduce by 12 per cent if sanctions are removed. If the sanctions are removed, then we have a commitment towards the international community.’ 

The US, EU and UK have imposed sanctions on Iran.

 

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