China, India and the US are accused of copping out over coal power deal and weakening fight to phase out the fossil fuel
- China, India, US and Australia accused of weakening pledge to phase out coal
- Kwasi Kwarteng said pledge by 190 world leaders was ‘milestone moment’
- Greenpeace’s Jennifer Morgan said without US, China, India and Australia, end of coal power ‘won’t come soon enough’
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had said the Cop26 pledge by 190 world leaders and bodies was a ‘milestone moment’.
But three of the world’s coal power giants are not signed up. The US is the world’s third biggest coal producer at 634million tons a year, second to India – 730million – and China – a massive 3.5billion.
Jennifer Morgan, of Greenpeace, said: ‘Without the US, Australia, China and India there’s a very real danger that the end of coal power won’t come soon enough.’
China, India, the US and Australia were accused last night of weakening a pledge to phase out coal power (stock image)
She added: ‘This is one more nail in the coffin of coal, but only one, and the coffin is not yet sealed. Yes, there are some important countries who’ve signed on, like Vietnam and Egypt. This is more proof that coal is dying and the end is in sight… So, if you’re the executive of a coal company today is a bad day. But not as bad as it should have been.’
It also emerged yesterday that richer countries have been offered the chance to extend their deadlines for scrapping coal power by 2030.
The Financial Times highlighted the addition of the clause by 2030 ‘or as soon as possible thereafter’.
Ms Morgan, of Greenpeace, added: ‘The deadline of the 2030s or as soon as possible thereafter for richer countries still offers a loophole. For example, Germany’s target date for the end of coal is 2038 – way too late – but nevertheless they felt able to sign up to this agreement because it’s in the 2030s.
‘So, there’s been some heavy spin here, but even taking that into account, this is still a bad day for coal.’
Nigel Topping, an official who worked on the coal pact on behalf of the UK government’s presidency of the climate summit, said that the absence of the US from the deal was not a major blow.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured) had said the Cop26 pledge by 190 world leaders and bodies was a ‘milestone moment’. But three of the world’s coal power giants are not signed up
Murray Worthy, Campaign Leader at Global Witness, said: ‘This announcement falls spectacularly short of what this moment requires. An agreement that only tackles coal doesn’t even solve half the problem – emissions from oil and gas already far outstrip coal and are booming, while coal is already entering a terminal decline.
‘The science is absolutely clear, all fossil fuels must be phased out if we’re to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. A truly ambitious agreement on energy to put the world on course for 1.5C would be a phase out of coal, oil and gas. This is a small step forwards when what was needed was a giant leap.’ In 2020, global emissions from oil and gas were estimated to be 18.8 Gigatonnes of CO2, whereas emissions from coal were 13.7 Gigatonnes of CO2. Over the last five years, emissions from coal have already been falling, while emissions from gas are rising by 3 per cent a year.
Separately, the ‘Glasgow Declaration’ – a pact to protect the world’s forest – hit trouble after Indonesia’s environment minister called it ‘inappropriate and unfair’.
The deal was struck with 100 world leaders who signed the global commitment to halt the destruction of the world’s great forests.
But Siti Nurbaya Bakar, environment minister for Indonesia, attacked the agreement made by her government just two days earlier.