COP26 outcome not in line with expectations, but not hopeless either: Greenpeace India

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New Delhi: Greenpeace India on Sunday said the outcome of the international climate conference COP26 is not in line with the expectations of the people and the countries already facing extreme weather events but is not hopeless either.

As imperfect as the final outcome may be, the goal of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius may still be within reach, Avinash Chanchal, climate campaigner at Greenpeace India, told PTI.

"The outcome from COP26 in Glasgow is not in line with the expectations of the youth, the indigenous people and the countries that are already facing extreme weather events, however it is not hopeless either," he said.

Chanchal said definite plans and steps are needed to stop fossil fuel consumption along with support to the vulnerable and developing countries.

"We would have liked the 'phasing out' of all fossil fuel and not just coal, and weakening of this draft is not desirable. At the same time, this reflected the lack of trust among rich and poor countries as previous commitments were not met. At the current state, developing countries are far short of the funds needed for climate mitigation," he said.

A compromise deal was accepted by 200 nations at the UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow on Saturday, with several countries, including small island states, expressing disappointment by the change promoted by India to phase down, rather than phase out coal power, the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Jennifer Morgan, executive director at Greenpeace International, a signal has been sent that the era of coal is ending.

"It's meek, it's weak and the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal is only just alive, but a signal has been sent that the era of coal is ending. And that matters.

"Glasgow was meant to deliver on firmly closing the gap to 1.5 degrees Celsius and that didn't happen, but in 2022, nations will now have to come back with stronger targets. The only reason we got what we did is because young people, indigenous leaders, activists and countries on the climate frontline forced concessions that were grudgingly given," Morgan said.

She further said that the line on phasing out unabated coal and fossil fuel subsidies is weak and compromised, but its very existence is nevertheless a breakthrough, and the focus on a just transition is essential.

"The call for emissions reductions of 45 per cent by the end of this decade is in line with what we need to do to stay under 1.5 degrees Celsius and brings the science firmly into this deal. But it needs to be implemented," Morgan said.

Greenpeace India's Chanchal said this is the first time fossil fuels have been named and shamed in COP text, and now all countries need to ensure strict 2030 targets by the end of next year to reach the 1.5 degree goal.

"The next 10 years is going to be crucial and countries must ensure the pledges and commitment made in Glasgow get translated into action on ground.

"We have to be creative and bold in doing business and trade in a way that we prioritise 'planet over profit'. We cannot toy with our planet, there cannot be space for 'greenwashing scam' by the big polluting industries," Chanchal said.

Greenpeace India said that the need to increase climate finance from the richest countries is urgent, and they must come up with stronger commitment to help rebuild the trust with the vulnerable and developing countries.

"As COP goes to Egypt next year, all the countries must come up with stricter plan to halve emission targets by 2030. We are already running out of time, and we must act to phase out from fossil fuels in a time-bound manner," Chanchal added. (PTI)

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