The COP26 has concluded as all attending countries reached a new climate deal that will try and keep global warming at 1.5 C.
The final agreement, Glasgow Climate Pact, came after long negotiations that continued until Saturday night as India intervened to change the language about coal use.
With the last-minute intervention, India asked to change the final text of the agreement to say, “phase down” rather than “phase out” unabated coal power.
Switzerland expressed its “profound disappointment” about the decision to “water down” the language around fossil fuels and coal.
“We don’t want to phase down coal, we want to phase out coal,” the Swiss delegate said in the final meeting, adding that they will sign the new version.
Also expressing their anger and disappointment, smaller countries including Fiji, Marshall Islands, and Antigua and Barbuda also said they would sign the agreement.
Liechtenstein also said they were “deeply disappointed.”
“But for the greater good we must swallow this bitter pill.”
Frans Timmermans, the vice president of the European Commission, said it was “disappointing” to water down the language of the text but this should not stop it and the EU will work toward phasing out coal.
COP26 President Alok Sharma said he understood “the deep disappointment but it’s vital that we protect this package.”
Greenpeace reacted to the last-minute change but said the age of coal was ending.
“They changed a word but they can’t change the signal coming out of this COP – the era of coal is ending,” the environmentalist group wrote on Twitter.
“If you’re a coal company executive this COP was a bad outcome.”
The group wrote: “It’s in the interests of all countries, including those who still burn coal, to transition to clean renewable energy, and richer countries need to do more to support the shift. Our future depends on it.”
Swiss climate change activist Greta Thunberg wrote on Twitter before the agreement was reached: “Now as COP26 is coming to an end, beware of a tsunami of greenwashing and media spin to somehow frame the outcome as “good”, “progress”, “hopeful” or “a step in the right direction.”
The COP26, seen as the last hope to keep the 1.5 C target alive by many, has continued in Glasgow since Nov. 1.
The first two days saw many world leaders convening to discuss the future steps for the planet.
“The longer we delay taking action, the worse the situation and the greater the consequences when we are forced to take action,” said hosting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the opening day.
COP26 saw numerous panels, meetings, and events planned on the sidelines of the conference, all aimed at finding solutions to reduce global warming by keeping it at 1.5 C.
By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal in London