Nations compromise on coal to strike UN climate agreement

A climate activist holds a placard next to police officers near the venue for the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Going into overtime Friday night, negotiators at U.N. climate talks in Scotland were still trying to find common ground on phasing out coal, when nations need to update their emission-cutting pledges and, especially, on money.

Negotiators from nearly 200 nations gathered in Glasgow on Oct. 31 amid dire warnings from leaders, activists and scientists that not enough is being done to curb global warming.

Mohamed Adow, of Power Shift Africa, said that this has become “a rich world” negotiation and poorer nations cannot accept what has been proposed. Wealthy nations failed to provide them with $100 billion annually by 2020, as agreed.

But as the talks approached midnight, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hosted the COP26 meeting, said through a spokesperson that he believes “an ambitious outcome is in sight.”

Yet no agreement was reached by the 6 p.m. local time — the scheduled end of the conference.

The three sticking points: cash, coal and timing.

A Friday morning draft reflected those concerns, expressing “deep regret” that the $100 billion goal hadn’t been met.

“Don’t call them donor countries. They’re polluters. They owe this money,” said Saleemul Huq, a climate science and policy expert who is director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh.

The draft proposes creating a loss-and-damage fund to help poor countries tap existing sources of aid. Rich nations such as the U.S., however, historically the biggest source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, are opposed to legal obligations to compensate poor countries.

U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry said it was “a definition of insanity” that trillions were being spent to subsidize fossil fuels worldwide. “We’re allowing to feed the very problem we’re here to try to cure,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Countries such as Australia and India, the world’s third-biggest emitter, have resisted calls to phase out coal.

Scientists urge the prompt end of fossil fuels to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement’s ambitious goal to cap global warming at 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(1) comment

Judd Grossman

Cheap energy creates prosperity. Need to carefully analyze cost/benefit ratio of every action to avoid creating unnecessary suffering. Alarmism is political manipulation.

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