At the end of COP26, China and India win fight for the continuity of coal

The mention of the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies in the text of the COP decision26 appeared in the draft published last Wednesday (10) and was considered historic — the reference has not appeared in a UN document since the Kyoto Protocol (1997), according to observers of the negotiations.

“The COP26 urges countries to accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies,” read the text proposed by the COP presidency26 on Wednesday. However, there was doubt about the chance of the reference surviving the end of the negotiations.

Also on Wednesday, China announced with the United States a declaration with commitments that included the reduction of coal consumption by China in the second half of the decade.

In the final plenary of the COP26, on Saturday afternoon (13), China cited that it agreed with the decision, but quietly suggested changing the article 36 of the final text. “Certain expressions could follow the joint US-China statement,” the Chinese spokesman said. However, India joined the demand, which led to a tense gap in informal negotiations. It was in the corridors of the plenary and outside the microphones that the countries agreed to change the term “elimination” to “reduction” in coal consumption.

The historical paragraph of the decision, however, has already had been watered down in the last draft, with changes that have been attributed by observers to the oil and coal industries lobby. to refer only to “unbridled” coal consumption —interpreted as a reference to the higher consumption of developing countries, compared to the more balanced energy matrix of developed countries.

The journalist traveled at the invitation of Instituto Clima e Sociedade.

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