Glasgow, United Kingdom:
Nearly 200 nations came together on Saturday on a global deal to tackle climate change after two weeks of painful negotiations, but fell short of what the science says is going to stop the alarming temperature rise.
Rich countries were accused at the COP26 summit in Glasgow of failing to provide much-needed finance to vulnerable states at risk of drought, rising seas, fires and hurricanes.
Britain’s COP26 president Alok Sharma told delegates: “It is time for a decision. And the choices you are prepared to make are very important.”
But there was last-gasp drama as China and India insisted that the language on fossil fuels in the Final Summit decision text be weakened.
As the final deal struck, a tearful Sharma said, “I apologize for the way this process has turned out. I am deeply sorry,” before beating up his gavel.
Delegates entered into negotiations charged with setting the 2015 Paris Agreement target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5-2C degrees.
He was also tasked with finding funding for countries at risk of climate-related droughts, floods and storms supercharged by rising seas.
Observers said the agreement fell far short of what is needed to halt dangerous warming and help countries adapt or offset losses from disasters already on a global scale.
Lawrence Tubiana, the architect of the Paris deal, told AFP that “the COP has now failed to provide immediate assistance for those suffering.”
Sharma had earlier told delegates in the final round of marathon talks that they faced a “moment of truth for our planet, for our children and our grandchildren”.
– staying alive –
The final text urged nations to accelerate efforts to “phasing out” unfiltered coal and “phasing out” inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
Big emitters China and India opposed mentions of polluting fuels, and the language in the final text was much more nuanced than in the earlier draft.
The deal called on all countries to accelerate their emissions reductions by presenting new national plans by 2022, three years before they were agreed in Paris.
But after resistance from prosperous nations led by the United States and the European Union, the text omitted any reference to a specific finance facility to account for the harm and damage of climate change already in the developing world.
Instead it only promised future “dialogues” on the subject.
Maldivian Environment Minister Shauna Aminath said: “Some of the damage and damage may be the start of negotiations and negotiations.” “But for us it’s a matter of survival.”
Although host Britain said it wants COP26 to keep the 1.5C temperature cap within reach, a UN scientific assessment last week said the countries’ latest climate plans put the Earth on course to warm 2.7C Is.
The text mentions “with deep regret” that even wealthy nations had failed to promise a separate annual sum of $100 billion a decade ago. It urged countries to make payments “immediately and by 2025”.
It also promised to double finance to help developing countries adapt to rising temperatures by the same date.
– 1.5C on Life Support –
But developing countries said it was inappropriate for the summit to build a heavily unbalanced agreement toward “mitigation” — how economies can give up fossil fuels and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
They wanted specific instructions on how they could meet the bill of decarbonizing while also adapting to natural disasters supercharged by global warming.
“We were told that COP26 was the last best chance to keep 1.5C alive, but has been put on life support,” said Christian Aid CEO Amanda Mukwashi.
“Rich countries have dropped the can on the road and with that comes the need to promise immediate climate action to those on the front lines of this crisis.”
The two weeks in Glasgow saw several high-profile announcements from world leaders, such as a commitment to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
What activists said saw mass protests against what they said was an alarming lack of urgency.
Teresa Anderson, climate policy coordinator at ActionAid International, said COP26 is “an insult to the millions whose lives are being ruined by the climate crisis.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)