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COP26 Final Agreement Waters Down Coal Pledges, Leaves World on Track for Climate Disaster

HeadlineNov 15, 2021

The U.N. climate summit wrapped up in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday with a significantly weakened deal that activists, scientists and many governments say falls far short of what is needed to avert a climate catastrophe. COP26 President Alok Sharma praised the deal as historic but also apologized for last-minute changes which saw earlier drafts of the deal watered down to change the “phasing out” of coal to “phasing down.” Based on current government pledges, global temperatures are on track to rise a disastrous 2.4 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels this century. Delegates from poorer nations, and those at highest risk from climate change, expressed deep disappointment in the outcome of the summit. This is Tina Stege, the climate envoy of the Marshall Islands.

Tina Stege: “We accept this change with the greatest reluctance. We do so only — and I really want to stress 'only' — because there are critical elements of this package that people in my country need as a lifeline for their future. Thank you.”

The most affected nations also slammed the final agreement for failing to sufficiently address loss and damage reparations. This is Bangladeshi climate scientist Saleemul Huq.

Saleemul Huq: “It’s a death sentence for the poorest people on the planet. And not only that, the polluters are saying, 'To hell with you. We don't care. We’re not going to give you a penny.’ … We’ll bring it up again. We’re not giving up. But we are describing this COP as an abject failure, because it hasn’t been able to rise to the occasion of dealing with loss and damage. It doesn’t matter what else they do. That was our issue. The poor countries, the vulnerable countries came here for that, and they’ve been slapped in the face.”

Meanwhile, protests continued in Glasgow through the weekend. On Saturday, Extinction Rebellion activists staged a funeral ceremony for all the failed COP summits to date.

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