John Kerry also noted that he supported the wording proposed by India for a “phased reduction” of coal use.
The agreements included in the final document of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) will allow the international community to avoid “climate chaos.” This opinion was expressed by the U.S. Special Envoy on climate issues, former Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at a press conference in Glasgow, Scotland, following the results of the last forum.
“I really believe that as a result of this decision and as a result of the statements that have been made over the past two weeks, we are actually closer than ever to avoiding climate chaos and providing clean air and clean water, a healthier planet,” said Kerry, whose office is part of the Department of State.
During a press conference, the former Secretary of State supported the wording proposed by India for a “phased reduction” in the use of coal. “Coal and its phase-out are on the agenda. This is part of the solution. And before doing away with coal, it is necessary to phase it out. So this is the beginning of something,” the U.S. special envoy added.
At the same time, he criticized the fact that the change to the final document was proposed at the last moment. “Was I grateful that tonight we had to adjust something in a very unusual way? No. But if we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have had a final agreement. This is the choice,” Kerry explained.
On Saturday, delegates from almost 200 countries participating in COP26 agreed on the texts of the final documents of the forum with a delay of a day. As stated in the adopted statement, the countries commit themselves to step up efforts “to reduce energy consumption based on unabated coal and the rejection of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable <…>”. Unabated coal is called, which is used in coal-fired power plants that are not equipped only with emerging technologies for capturing and burying carbon dioxide.
India insisted on the current wording, emphasizing its dependence on coal. In previous versions of the final agreement, the countries intended to “phase out the energy produced by unremitted coal, as well as inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” Thus, instead of a “phase-out,” the text turned out to contain a “phased reduction.”
In addition, the countries also agreed on the rules for the implementation of the sixth article of the Paris Climate Agreement, concluded in 2015. This article provides for the introduction of specific mechanisms for regulating greenhouse gas emissions and trading in carbon units. Fierce discussions about the rules of its implementation have been conducted for several years.