How Coal and Oil Lobby Betrayed Climate Agenda in COP26

coal plant

The just ended climate summit COP26 has largely disappointed the people around the world  in taking bold steps to avert rapid global warming. Despite the urgency to halt catastrophic climate change,  the pact approved at the end of the summit, compromised continued use in coming decades  instead  of phasing out coal and other fossil fuels agreed to their. The ambitious  initial climate draft  seeking commitments to cut green house gas emissions, phase out fossile fuel use was water down on behest of  powerful corporate oil and coal lobby.

key responsibility of the Cop26 presidency is to  mobilize strong commitments from various nations to cut  gas emissions to match the measured temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. This means  Cop226  should bind the nations to legal mechanisms  accountable global emissions to fall 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 to slow global warming. Instead of cutting gas emissions and use fossil fuel use by 2030 immediately,  developed nations  evaded this responsibility by making ambitious pledges to meet zero carbon neutrality. It is obvious that without first meeting 2030 goals it would be impossible to attain the Zero neutrality targets.  To arrest the rising temperatures  the use of major sources of emission – coal and fossil fuels must be cut and phased out.  Instead the two week long summit under pressure from coal  and oil corporate lobby agreed to phase down the two fossil energy sources. It should be  noted the presence of at least 503 representatives from  coal, gas and oil companies acting vocally to dilute climate agenda to protect  the toxic interests of polluting fossil fuel companies. This means with continued high levels of gas emissions we may not be reaching the ambitiously announced Zero neutrality goals pledged by various nations. The lack of commitment in the adopted final COP26 summit pact has hugely disappointed  developing nations including several small island nations and people across the world.

Outside the COP26 summit venue on 6 th November an estimated 100,000 people marched through the streets of Glasgow, including  young climate activist like Greta Thunberg demonstrated demanding cutting of gas emmissions to save the planet. On November 9 th in another demonstration nearly 10,000 young communist league members marched on the streets of Glasgow and demaned ban on fossil fuels and halt global warming. In short  The developed nations walked away without  acknowledging historical emission responsibilities with a free license for their  coal and oil business corporations continue to earn huge profits.

Disappointing Indian intervention

The watered down summit pact became possible hours before the announcement made after India refused to phase out coal. It’s strongly believed that last minute intervention of  India in diluting the final climate plan is due to the pressure from USA to protect the oil  & coal  western corporations. In short India has sacrificed the interests of nearly 170 developing nations and became a pawn in hands of Western corporations to serve their business interests.  It’s now clear that the bold  announcement  made a few days back by Prime minister Modi on Zero carbon neutrality by 2070  appears to be  a simple shield to protect the  business interests of Indian and global oil corporations. It should be noted that Indian coal and oil corporations belonging to Adani and Ambani are also chief beneficiaries from announced  dilution of  COP26final pact. Ironically absent are  accountable mandatory responsibilities of developed nations to immediately provide Global Climate fund and needed technology to rescue  climate vulnerable nations..

In short the historically responsible rich nations walked away without  pledging immediate emission cuts and with a license to continue with fossil energy business as usual. COP3=26 largely failed to  provide a semblance of “progress” in resolving the global climate emergency without yielding any concrete outcomes.

Dr. Soma Marla, Principal Scientist, ICAR , New Delhi

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