Coal to be ‘phased down’ in COP26 agreement

By Mike Hayes15 November 2021

UK hails ‘game-changing agreement’ – but scientists still expect 2.4C of global warming

The climate pact that emerged at the end of a tense final day of COP26 included an agreement to “phase down” the use of coal.

While interventions from India and China saw the wording watered down from “phase out” at the 11th hour, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson – whose government hosted the Glasgow climate conference – nevertheless called it “a game-changing agreement”.

It’s fair to say the move is significant and more than 25 countries have now pledged to end new financing for all fossil-fuel-based projects by the end of 2022.

Critics are saying governments didn’t go far enough to ensure global warming is limited to a 1.5C rise above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, yet almost 200 nations have now agreed to take significant action to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

Construction in the spotlight

For the first time, a full day at COP26 was devoted to the built environment, with the World Green Building Council arguing the topic should be “elevated to a critical climate solution”.

In another first, the conference agreement introduces a legal imperative for governments to “accelerate the deployment and dissemination” of energy efficiency measures.

The conference carried the slogan “Keep 1.5 alive”; it seems that limiting global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century is highly unlikely, but an updated United Nations analysis of the pledges made by COP26 nations reveals a shift from 2.7C of warming, down to 2.4C.

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