COP26: New draft weakens language on fossil fuel phaseout

Pedro Gonçalves
clock • 1 min read
COP26: New draft weakens language on fossil fuel phaseout

The latest version of the COP26 draft agreement, published this Friday (12 November), retains an unprecedented reference to fossil fuels, but has softened the language after a fierce campaign from major coal, oil and gas producers to have it removed entirely. 

But the substance in this draft is weaker than the previous one, using watered down language, some of which can be open to interpretation.

The first draft of the "cover decision" for the overarching agreement at the summit called for countries "to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels".

In the new draft, this has changed to calling on countries to accelerate the shift to clean energy systems, "including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation and accelerating the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels".

It also says the upgrade of pledges should take into account "different national circumstances", referring to the differences between rich and poor countries.

That could placate some developing countries, which say it is unfair to expect them to quit fossil fuels and cut emissions at the same speed as the rich countries whose emissions are largely responsible for causing climate change.

 The COP26 summit is now nearing its final hours in Glasgow after a fortnight of intense talks. Most expect the negotiations to overrun as delegates wrangle over issues.