Related video: Alok Sharma holds back tears while apologising for events of Cop26
The Cop26climate summit has finally concluded after countries agreed to an historic deal aimed at reducing global warming, more than 24 hours after the Glasgow conference was due to end.
An emotional Alok Sharma broke down on stage in the event’s final moments following a last-minute change, by China and India, to water down language in the final text on coal – revising it to “phase down” on unbated coal power instead of the stronger “phase out”.
Despite a number of countries opposing the change, Mr Sharma, the Cop26 president, said it was vital that the deal remained on the table and announced it would be pushed through regardless. Before doing so, he paused to collect himself and – visibly upset – apologised for the “way this process has unfolded”.
He received a round of applause as a result, with spectators expressing delight with the way Mr Sharma handled the last-minute change. “He’s been well received and praised,” ITV News’ Anushka Asthana tweeted about the minister.
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Cop26 was not ‘the finish line,’ says John Kerry
Addressing the audience at Cop26, John Kerry said that Glasgow was “not the finish line,” but the “start of the race.”
The US climate envoy said that the Glasgow Climate Pact has brought us “closer than we have ever been before to avoiding climate chaos and securing cleaner air, safer water and a healthier planet.”
Comparing the Pact to the Paris Agreement he said: “Paris was…not a guarantee that we would be able to hold the earth’s temperature rise to well below 2C, let alone 1.5C.
“But now, here in Glasgow, we have 65 percent of global GDP committed to real plans.”
Addressing the issue of coal, he said: “As a result of what took place here with nations who had never considered even having the word coal in a plan, it remains even today after what took place, the phasedown of coal is on the books.
“You have to phase down coal before you can ‘end coal,’ so this is the beginning of something.”
Ella Glover13 November 2021 22:24
The reaction to the Glasgow Climate Pact has been highly critical, here’s what people have to say
The Glasgow Climate Pact has garnered much disappointment from politicians, NGOs and countries themselves after last-minute talks led to the wording on coal being watered down.
Our reporters Andrew Woodcock, Louise Boyle and Daisy Dunne have the full breakdown:
Ella Glover13 November 2021 22:05
More campaign groups react to the Glasgow Climate Pact
A number of charities and NGOs have reacted to the Glasgow Climate Pact, with many expressing disappointment at the outcome of Cop26.
Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, said: “It’s meek, it’s weak and the 1.5C goal is only just alive, but a signal has been sent that the era of coal is ending – and that matters.
“While the deal recognises the need for deep emissions cuts this decade, those commitments have been punted to next year.
“Young people who’ve come of age in the climate crisis won’t tolerate many more outcomes like this. Why should they when they’re fighting for their futures?”
Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, said: “This summit has seen the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C become the North Star guiding us all but a clear pathway is far from certain and we still have a long way to go.
“We are encouraged by the recognition that nature must be an integral part of tackling the climate crisis and by commitments on curbing coal and fossil fuel subsidies.”
She added: “We now need to see delivery with rapid, deep and ongoing emissions cuts alongside support for vulnerable countries facing current and future climate impacts.”
Gabriela Bucher, international executive director of Oxfam, said: “Clearly some world leaders think they aren’t living on the same planet as the rest of us.
“It seems no amount of fires, rising sea levels or droughts will bring them to their senses to stop increasing emissions at the expense of humanity.”
But she welcomed the decision to strengthen 2030 reduction targets by next year: “Big emitters, especially rich countries, must heed the call and align their targets to give us the best possible chance of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach.”
Rachel Kennerley, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “The road to 1.5 just got harder when these talks should have cleared the way to making it a whole lot easier.”
“The UK government cunningly curated announcements throughout this fortnight so that it seemed rapid progress was being made.”
She added: “Here we are though, and the Glasgow get-out clause means that leaders failed to phase out fossil fuels and the richest countries won’t pay historic climate debt.”
Ella Glover13 November 2021 21:52
The wealthiest countries most responsible for climate change ‘have failed,’ says advocacy group
Some more reactions to the final deal are in, this time from advocacy group Global Citizen.
Michael Sheldrick, Chief Policy and Government Affairs Officer at Global Citizen, said: “The wealthiest countries who are responsible for and now continue to worsen climate change, have failed.
And it is the poorest communities that will continue to suffer loss and damage, which continues to go unaddressed.
Global Citizen calls for wealthy countries to meet their obligations, reach the $100bn per year in climate finance now not in 2023, provide financial support for loss and damage, annually update their Nationally Determined Contributions and move from pledges to the policies and legislation needed to avoid greater than 1.5C temperature rise.”
Ella Glover13 November 2021 21:38
Boris Johnson said he hopes Cop26 will signify the ‘beginning of the end of climate change’
The Prime Minister said he hopes Cop26 will be looked back on as the “beginning of the end of climate change,” although he admits there is “still a huge amount more to do.”
Writing on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “We asked nations to come together for our planet at Cop26, and they have answered that call.
“I want to thank the leaders, negotiators and campaigners who made this pact happen – and the people of Glasgow who welcomed them with open arms.”
He also thanked Alok Sharma for his work in bringing everyone together.
The PM added: “There is still a huge amount more to do in the coming years.
“But today’s agreement is a big step forward and, critically, we have the first ever international agreement to phase down coal and a roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
“I hope that we will look back on COP26 in Glasgow as the beginning of the end of climate change, and I will continue to work tirelessly towards that goal.”
Ella Glover13 November 2021 21:29
Thunberg shares feelings on Glasgow Climate Pact: ‘Blah blah blah’
Greta Thunberg gives her verdict on the final agreement reached at Cop26.
Sam Hancock13 November 2021 21:15
Watch: Sharma gets emotional in Cop26’s last moments
Alok Sharma gets emotional as he is ‘deeply sorry’ for the way the COP26 conference unfolded
Sam Hancock13 November 2021 21:02
Politicians react to news of ‘modest’ Cop26 agreement
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said of the agreement at Cop26, that “there has been modest progress toward the challenges we face – which is important”.
But, he stressed: “We have seen too many promises for tomorrow, not the action that the climate emergency demands today. Boris Johnson bears some responsibility for that. Glasgow has been a missed opportunity – a summit too often of climate delay not climate delivery”.
Sir Keir accused the PM of not treating the summit with the seriousness it deserved, or building the trust that was critical to its success.
He urged the UK – during its presidency of the Cop until next year’s Cop27 – to redouble diplomatic efforts and make the strides forward that Cop26 did not achieve.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, tweeted:
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said:
Meanwhile, former Labour leader Ed Miliband praised Alok Sharma’s integrity;
Sam Hancock13 November 2021 20:48
UN calls out failure of negotiators to ‘overcome deep contradictions’
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said the approved texts from Cop26 were a compromise that took important steps, but the “collective political will was not enough to overcome some deep contradictions”.
“Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread,” he warned, adding: “We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.”
He called for an end to fossil fuels subsidies, a phase out of coal, a price on carbon, building resilience of vulnerable communities against the impacts of climate change and to make good on the long-promised 100 billion US dollar climate finance commitment to support developing countries.
“We did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress,” Mr Guterres said.
Here’s Sky’s Beth Rigby with more on Mr Guterres’ “downbeat” remarks.
Sam Hancock13 November 2021 20:35
Emotional Sharma apologises as coal phase out text ‘watered down’
Here’s Ella Glover with more detail on the moment Cop26 president Alok Sharma broke down on stage at the climate summit.
Sam Hancock13 November 2021 20:16