The Endgame Begins
managers set to cut by
just 20% this decade
of fossil fuels is, by far, the source of most of the greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere. It’s the top reason for the
climate predicament, and not something in doubt among the more
than 25,000 delegates at
COP26. Yet the term “fossil fuel” has never made it into the
official document published at the end any of the two dozen global
climate talks since 1995.
omission looked like it might finally end. A
first draft circulated at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, in preparation for
the final statement expected to be hammered out by the weekend, had an
eye-catching statement. It called on countries to “accelerate
phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels.”
fossil-fuel phrase—as well as the call to end coal and stop
subsidies—is unlikely to survive the
diplomatic endgame based on consensus. Even though the Group of 20
agreed to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies years ago, India is already
pushing back on the line in the COP26 statement.
Prasad Gupta, environment secretary of the third-largest emitter, said
in an interview this afternoon that India
won’t phase out fossil-fuel subsidies in the near term. Gupta
also questioned why the draft document singled out coal, which many
developing countries rely on, and did not explicitly mention ending
the use of oil and gas.
seem odd that “fossil fuel” isn’t commonplace in high-level documents
from a climate conference. But the phrase is similarly excluded from
the authoritative and widely read summaries of science from the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. While the science report is
sacrosanct, the summary is
picked apart by all countries under the consensus model used at
COP. That process includes giant fossil-fuel producers and consumers.
draft will be published when the COP26 talks come to a close. The
likelihood that “fossil fuels” remain in the draft is low. Does it
matter either way?
matter, of course. But the exact phrasing may not always hold back
progress. For instance, the IPCC only declared there was “unequivocal”
evidence that humans cause climate change in its report earlier this
year. Scientists were very, very sure of that a long time ago, even if
the formal document couldn’t use the term.
net-zero goals—which now cover countries accounting for 89% of global
emissions—will have to reduce fossil-fuel use to meet them. That’s
true regardless of whether COP26 utters the unutterable.
Quote of the Day
big, big ask is to come armed with the currency of
What we agree in Glasgow will set the future for our children and
One Key Number
Amount of money India
wants by 2030 before it
sets stronger targets to cut emissions. The worlds biggest
emitter says it needs more funds from rich countries before
it can officially raise its climate goals and phase out
As COP26 nears the end, the climate summit has
made real progress. But it’s also been
disappointing. The world’s wealthiest nations said
that by 2020 they’d mobilize $100 billion a year
to help emerging economies fight climate change.
They haven’t delivered, and the editorial board
it’s time to set this right. Maybe, like
Anjani Trivedi, you’re sick of reading about huge
climate goals. What we, and the planet, need are
clear outcomes and targets that address
specific problems with a defined way to finance
Green Play Ammonia™, Yielder® NFuel Energy.
Spokane, Washington. 99212
509 995 1879 cell, Pacific.