On Sunday Climate experts came together to support India, after being criticized by many nations certainly for using the term “phase down” in the place of “phase out” of coal at COP26 that was held in Glasgow, stating that it should not be seen as going away from the commitment toward the issue of the global climate crisis.
At the UNFCCC COP26, around 200 nations accepted a compromise deal in Glasgow on Saturday. They aimed to keep alive the target of keeping the key global warming, but there was a change at the last minute which coined down the important language about coal.
Many countries which included small island states who were severely disappointed by the sudden change made by India to phase down, instead of phasing out coal power which is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Although when the whole world showed disappointment, climate experts from India heavily felt that being the first ever to mention the phase-down of coal is a crucial step to show the importance of the energy transformation underway and even criticized the developed countries for failing once again to deliver the promise of climate finance.
“The COP26 has definitely narrowed the gap for limiting global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius and the processes which can be taken for future action. But the failure of the U.S. and EU to deliver on the promised $ 100 billion in climate finance remains urgent and central to any ambitious climate action.”
“Blocking the establishment of even a modest fund to help vulnerable communities around the world with the massive loss and damage they are experiencing at the hands of the climate crisis is a serious blow. As with Covid, those with the least resources have been left to fend for themselves. However, the first-ever mention of coal phase down in an international climate agreement is an important indication of the energy transformation underway and a clear signal to markets and industry. COP26 is real progress but much more is still to be done,” as stated by Aarti Khosla who is the director of Climate Trends.
With a similar view, Kamal Narayan who is the CEO of Integrated Health and Well Being Council (IHW) stated that “With the kind of commitment and leadership India has shown in building renewable energy infrastructure and its aim to draw more of its energy requirements from such sources, the use of ‘phasing down’ coal instead of ‘phasing out’ alone shall not be seen as a diversion from its commitment towards this global emergency.” He said this while most activists would hardly be satisfied with the outcomes of COP26 and may also criticize it for not being fast, the global realities and challenges of growth for most populations like India are needed to be considered.
“There is nothing much. There is no real commitment on part of developed countries to move ahead with serious and urgent domestic action, let alone in terms of global collaboration and truly significant climate finance for tackling climate change.”, as stated by ManjeevPuri who the Distinguished Fellow of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). According to Suyash Gupta who is the Director-General of the Indian Auto LPG Coalition stated that it is “unfair” to ignore India’s energy imperatives by the west.
“It is unfair for the west to ignore India’s energy imperatives – home to almost a fifth of the world’s population. ‘Been there, done that’ – those being critical of India’s unambiguous and pronounced stand at COP26, cannot live in denial – after getting the world to the present situation. In fact, on a per capita basis, the west itself needs to do much more. Considering India’s impeccable non-proliferation record, the west must rather play the role of an enabler and expedite India’s entry into the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG). Despite traversing well on the renewable roadmap, India just cannot wish away the energy needs of its 1.3 billion people — with two-thirds of its needs being currently met by coal,” as stated by Mr. Gupta.
The Glasgow Climate Pact clearly states that the use of coal should be phased down, also as should subsidies for fossil fuels. The initial proposals were stronger than the wording, with the final text which stated for only a “phase down” and not a “phase out” of coal, which is due to the intervention by India again. This is the first time that in a UN climate talks declaration, that fossil fuels have been mentioned.
Ulka Kelkar who is the Climate Programme Director of WRI India stated that it is important for India to join other nations to escalate emission reduction actions more often.
“This will not be easy for a lower-middle-income country that is trying to lift millions of people out of poverty. India’s battle against climate change will be led by scaling up renewable energy, which will be the foundation of our net-zero future; by industry, who will fight to stay competitive in the global economy; and by states and cities, who will need to urbanize with respect for nature.
“Now that COP26 has finalized the rules of carbon trading, India will be able to sell more than a million carbon credits from previous years, and can also create a domestic market for carbon trading,” as stated by her.