COP26 Glasgow Ends: Coal Phase Down Agreed, Glimmer of Hope Remains

“If COP26 is judged on its ability to advance emissions reductions, then Glasgow has already moved the dial forward,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute, from Glasgow.

“Attempts to name and shame fossil fuels have been blocked for major fossil fuel producers in the UN, but finally a line has been drawn in the sand.

“After 15 years in the process, it’s heartening to see fossil fuels directly targeted, with significant alliances against coal, oil and gas launched on the margins of COP, language on phasing down traditional coal power agreed, including by Australia.

“Post-Glasgow, we can rid ourselves of the pretence that fossil fuels can be part of the solution to the climate crisis.

“Australia earned the Colossal Fossil award for coming to COP26 with as little ambition as possible. It was disappointing to see an advanced economy refuse to increase its 2030 ambition, especially when Prime Minister Morrison traveled all the way to Glasgow to brag that Australia would significantly ‘meet and beat’ its modest target with no additional policies.

“While the emissions gap to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees remains, it has at least narrowed and countries like Australia have been requested to return next year with a better target and to join a new Ministerial roundtable on 2030 ambition.

“Credit should be given to the United Kingdom and the United States for throwing everything they had at COP26, including bringing Australia to the table to support a phase-out of unabated coal and to consider improving its 2030 target next year.

“However, the final package falls short of the ambitions of the Pacific. As has been said by many: if we save the Pacific, we save the world. While progress has been made and hope remains, the process must pick up the pace next year in Egypt if we as a planet are to avoid dangerous climate change.”

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