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Boris Johnson COP26  REUTERS Phil Noble Pool File Photo.JPG header2.JPG
Boris Johnson COP26  REUTERS Phil Noble Pool File Photo.JPG
World News

Christian climate charities say COP26 deal fails to deliver on key objectives

by Cara Bentley

As world leaders agree to the Glasgow Climate Pact, Christian environmental charities say intentions might be better than ever before but that it fails to deliver on key objectives.

At the end of the climate summit in Glasgow on Saturday, leaders ended with a deal that targets fossil fuels as the key driver of global warming, but also a watering down of the language on the plan to limit dependence on coal. 

There was last-minute drama as India, backed by China and coal-dependent developing nations, rejected a clause calling for the 'phase out' of coal-fired power, changing it to 'phase down'. 

The aim to keep keep the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial average has been 'kept in sight', according to the Government. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "There is still a huge amount more to do in the coming years...But today's agreement is a big step forward and, critically, we have the first ever international agreement to phase down coal and a roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

"I hope that we will look back on COP26 in Glasgow as the beginning of the end of climate change, and I will continue to work tirelessly towards that goal."

Christian charities, many of which have sent people to the summit, have been analysing the pact - saying intentions are better than before but that commitments could have been stronger. 

Environment charity A Rocha UK said: "It failed to deliver on its two most important objectives: achieving a level of greenhouse gas reduction pledges...and delivering on the past promise to provide $100bn a year (by 2020) to help developing countries go green and adapt to climate change. 

"The agreement, called the Glasgow Climate Pact, does, however, request countries to update their pledges in line with 1.5 degrees in the next year.

"More progress was made in recognising the seriousness and importance of some issues. Importantly, the text refers to the need to 'phase down' coal production and subsidies although coal and oil producing countries had this qualified to 'unabated coal' and 'inefficient' subsidies.  At the last minute the text was changed from 'phase out' coal to 'phase down'."  

Dr Ruth Valerio from Tearfund reflected a similar sentiment, saying: "COP26 failed to deliver on long overdue promises or heed the loud cries of climate vulnerable nations for any support in the face of increasing climate disasters. Whilst the pledges made at this summit have put some hope for a future below 2C on the table, right now these are just words. We urgently need richer nations to turn this into reality, coming back in 2022 with 1.5C aligned climate commitments, consigning all dirty fossil fuels to the history books, and finally stumping up the long overdue $100 billion a year to help vulnerable countries adjust to a more unpredictable and dangerous future."

Heidi Chow, executive director of Jubilee Debt Campaign - an organisation that urges governments to cancel the debt of developing countries - said: "Rich polluting countries have once again washed their hands of their responsibility for creating the climate crisis and betrayed lower income countries by ignoring their demands for compensation. 

"Climate vulnerable countries that are already saddled with mounting debt will be forced to take on even more unjust debt to pay for a crisis they did not create. This is a massive kick in the teeth to lower income countries as wealthy governments continue to pass the buck onto the communities and countries most impacted while worsening both the debt and climate crises."

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