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New global climate deal struck at COP26


New global climate deal struck at COP26
Alok Sharma fighting back tears as Glasgow Climate Pact reached. (BBC)

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Glasglow – A deal aimed at staving off dangerous climate change has been struck at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The Glasgow Climate Pact is the first ever climate deal to explicitly plan to reduce coal, the worst fossil fuel for greenhouse gases.

The deal also presses for more urgent emission cuts and promises more money for developing countries – to help them adapt to climate impacts.

But the pledges don’t go far enough to limit temperature rise to 1.5C.

A commitment to phase out coal that was included in earlier negotiation drafts led to a dramatic finish after India led opposition to it.

India’s climate minister Bhupender Yadav asked how developing countries could promise to phase out coal and fossil fuel subsidies when they “have still to deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication”.

In the end, countries agreed to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal, amid expressions of disappointment by some. COP26 President Alok Sharma said he was “deeply sorry” for how events had unfolded.

He fought back tears as he told delegates that it was vital to protect the agreement as a whole.

The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped the world would “look back on COP26 in Glasgow as the beginning of the end of climate change”, promising to “continue to work tirelessly towards that goal”.

He added: “There is still a huge amount more to do in the coming years. But today’s agreement is a big step forward and, critically, we have the first ever international agreement to phase down coal and a roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

US climate envoy John Kerry said: “We are in fact closer than we have ever been before to avoiding climate chaos and securing cleaner air, safer water and a healthier planet.”

But UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sounded a less enthusiastic note, saying: “Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread. We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.

“It is time to go into emergency mode – or our chance of reaching net zero will itself be zero.”

As part of the agreement, countries have pledged to meet next year to pledge further major carbon cuts so that the goal of 1.5C can be reached. Current pledges, if fulfilled, are only thought to limit global warming to 2.4C.

If global temperatures rise by more than 1.5C, scientists say the Earth is likely to experience severe effects such as millions more people being exposed to extreme heat. (BBC)

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