New Delhi: Towards the closing of COP26 climate summit, certain words in the agenda were changed at India’s intervention which has led to unwarranted criticism from some quarters.

The bone of contention is the change of language from ‘phase out coal’ to ‘phase down coal’ in the COP26 agreement.

According to experts, focusing only on coal and not including oil and gas would disproportionately impact certain developing countries like China and India.

India rightly said in negotiations that all fossil fuels must be phased down in an equitable manner.

An equitable fossil fuel phase-out would place most of the burden squarely on the US and the other developed countries.

The COP26 existing language has heavy implications for developing countries like India and tons of loopholes for the continuation of US fossil fuel activities. When India called out this inequity, they were portrayed as obstructionists blocking the first-ever mention of fossil fuels.

Notably, it was the US and China who first embraced the term “phase down” in their bilateral climate agreement, which was adopted with great fanfare in the middle of COP26.

“You have to phase down coal before you can — quote — end coal,” John Kerry, the US climate envoy, said at a press conference after the final text had been adopted.

Meanwhile, India is the only country amongst G20 countries which is on track of achieving the goals fixed under Paris Agreement. India has not only complied with its own commitments but also protected the interest of least developed countries and strongly negotiated the interest of G77 countries to secure climate finance which COP26 has agreed to work upon for enhancing the same.

While several developed countries are taking more than 50 years (and some even 70 years) for achieving Net Zero targets after their peaking year, India would achieve the same within 30 years or so.

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