COP26 keeps coal phaseout language in new draft agreement

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Nov. 13 (UPI) — Negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland kept coal phaseout language in a new draft agreement they issued Saturday after extending talks.

The new draft, which is in its third iteration for the conference, also known as COP26, includes “accelerating efforts towards the phaseout of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, recognizing the need for support towards a just transition.”

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Though the coal phaseout language is still in the agreement, the latest draft adds the reference “the need for support towards a just transition,” which refers to a country’s need to make sure people do not lose their livelihoods with the phasing out of coal, oil and gas projects, CNN reported.

Negotiations on the new pact called the Glasgow Agreement went into overtime Friday evening, which was initially slated to be the final day of the two-week conference. Negotiators failed to reach an agreement by the 6 p.m. deadline.

COP26 President Alok Sharma told The Washington Post the deal, which will be subject to more debate before coming up for a final vote, was the best shot at curbing greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming while helping vulnerable nations.

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Sharma added that he hopes to close the summit Saturday.

If fossil fuels are mentioned in the final text, it will be the first time such language is included, but many activists want to see even stronger language, the Post reported.

A proposed “facility” for helping vulnerable countries cope with “loss and damage” from climate change has been reduced to “dialogue between parties, relevant organizations and stakeholders,” the Post added. This has disappointed activist groups, who have argued the world’s poorest countries deserve reparations for a climate problem they did little to cause.

The new draft also still requests nations increase their carbon-cutting pledges to be in line with the Paris Agreement by the end of the year.

An initial draft was released Wednesday and reaffirmed the goal to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent worsening climate change impacts.