Countries agree global climate deal at COP26 after last minute watering down

GLASGOW — The COP26 climate conference closed on this evening with a deal that many countries described as imperfect and unsatisfying, but ultimately a step forward in limiting global warming.

The U.K. presidency presented a compromise text called the Glasgow Climate Pact that recognized how far off the world was from holding warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“The negotiations have been far from easy,” said Alok Sharma, the COP26 president. But he said the deal would “keep 1.5 alive” by calling on countries to raise their climate goals in 2022.

Countries closed the rule book of the Paris Agreement, agreeing to establish an international carbon market and set up processes to discuss increasing financial assistance for developing countries in the coming years.

There was a historic mention of a “phase down” of coal and “phase out” of fossil fuel subsidies. Many countries, including the EU and small island nations, lamented that India and China had intervened in the final hour of the conference to change the language on coal from “phase out” — which is still the first time the fossil fuel that’s one of leading causes of climate change has been mentioned by the signatories of the Paris Agreement.

The document linked above does not include the changed language on coal, as it was changed in the final plenary.

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