Environmental activists and developing nations have criticized the UN climate summit as a failure, saying the Glasgow agreement has fallen far short of what is necessary to prevent a climate catastrophe. Experts believe that, despite the pledges made at Cop26, global warming is still on track to be much higher than the 1.5 degree Celsius limit set in the Paris climate deal in 2015.
Not 24 hours earlier COP26 President Alok Sharma was fighting back the tears. The deal was done, but with watered down amendments from China and India on the phasing out of coal. And the goal of keeping the 1.5 degree target alive, seeming farther away than ever.
On Sunday, he said the coal giants had to answer to the smaller island nations at the forefront of the climate battle, fighting rising sea levels. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the agreement, but was disappointed it couldn’t go further on coal.
India was not willing to go there. Leaving the conference the environment minister claimed India remained committed to green energy. But his delegation had rejected the phasing out of coal, insisting the language was changed to phasing down.
The Glasgow document however is the first time ever that coal has even been mentioned in a UN climate agreement. The UN’s climate chief Patricia Espinosa said a compromise on coal beats no deal.
The Glasgow agreement claims to have kept the 1.5 goal alive. But that might not be enough for those already living with the disastrous effects of climate change.