Leaders warn COP26 emissions deal 'did not achieve' group's climate goals

COP26 protest
(Image credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Negotiators from nearly 200 nations reached a deal Saturday at the United Nations COP26 climate summit to strengthen targets for reducing carbon emissions and phasing out fossil fuels, although India forced a last-minute compromise watering down language on cutting coal use.

Though the deal was the landmark commitment of the conference, The Washington Post reports that many world leaders were disappointed it didn't go further. "We must end fossil fuel subsidies, phase out coal, put a price on carbon, protect vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change and make good on $100 billion climate finance commitment to support developing countries," said United Nations Secretary General António Guterres. "We did not achieve these goals at this conference but we have some building blocks for progress."

The agreement calls on wealthy nations to follow through on a promise to help poorer nations adapt and pay for costly damage from global warming, reports The Associated Press. The deal fell short of the summit's goal of securing concrete commitments to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is a death sentence for us," said Aminath Shauna, the Maldives' environment and climate change minister. Organizers of the summit said the agreement "keeps 1.5 alive."

Other leaders echoed concerns. The White House said the deal is "not enough," and Alok Sharma, the British minister of state and president of the Glasgow talks, said "collectively, our climate ambition and action to date have fallen short on the promises made in Paris." Read more at The Washington Post.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us