After an extra day of meetings at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Australia announced an agreement on Sunday morning (14). However, a number of European countries were unhappy with the conference’s last-minute request by China and India to replace the “phase-out” of coal-based power generation with a “phase-down”. Many countries expressed strong reservations and disappointment at the weakened wording.
India’s environment minister said earlier that there was still no consensus on a number of key issues. He criticised wasteful consumption patterns and unsustainable lifestyles in rich countries for contributing to global warming and stressed the right of developing countries to use fossil fuels responsibly.
The Swiss and Mexican delegates said that it was too late to propose changes to the wording on the use of coal to generate electricity, which was against the rules of the General Assembly, but in the end they had no choice but to accept that an agreement was better than no agreement at all. This is the first time that fossil fuels have been explicitly mentioned in a UN climate change agreement. The Swiss environment minister said the change would make it difficult to meet the international target of limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.