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environment | IST

Explained: India's reasons to 'phase down' coal production instead of phasing it out

Mini

At the last minute of signing the Glasgow Climate Pack at the COP26 summit, India intervened to water down the language on ‘phasing out’ coal to ‘phasing down’.

After two weeks of negotiations, the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow has concluded, with the signing of a pact weaker than many expected, given the pressure from India saw modification in the final wording of the deal. According to the modified deal, the use of coal will be ‘phased down’ instead of ‘phased out’.
COP26 has finally delivered the Glasgow Climate Pack with many interesting events taking place during the signing of the agreement. India intervened last minute to water down the language on ‘phasing out’ coal to ‘phasing down’.
India's Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav used the ‘phase down’ version for the final COP26 texts. However, it is important to note that India is not the only one that used the term ‘phase down’ regarding coal usage.
The US and China had already used ‘phase down’ in the bilateral climate agreement signed on November 10. Many experts are of the opinion that while India is being portrayed as the culprit for the last-minute change, Chinese delegates were as much of a driving force for the alteration.
While talking about doing away with fossil fuel subsidies as well, the Environment Minister raised a question saying fossil fuels have allowed several parts of the world to attain high levels of wealth and well-being, then how can developing nations be expected to phase out fossil fuels and its subsidies.
He also mentioned how the final text of the agreement lacks climate finance commitments, and there is a need for revised NDCs in this case.
Here is a recap of major announcements at the COP26 meet
There was a greater focus on 1.5 degrees Celsius to limit global warming as opposed to 2 degrees Celsius.
The agreement requests parties to revisit and strengthen 2030 targets in the nationally determined contributions versus 2050 earlier.
The agreement also asked parties to consider further actions to reduce non-carbon dioxide greenhouse emissions by 2030. This also includes methane, which has been a big talking point for a while.
The negotiators also discussed the need to phase out coal usage and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.