‘End all fossil fuels, not just coal’ – statement as COP26 negotiations draw to a close

In what is a historic win for civic movements and climate-vulnerable communities across the globe, we finally have a climate conference coming up with bold action against coal, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, for the first time: the latest COP 26 draft decision is pushing for the phase-out of unabated coal. This would have been much more welcome if it was put forward years ago, and if it rejects all coal infrastructure as is truly necessary and not merely unabated ones, but we still take this as a key step forward in keeping our hope for the 1.5°C goal alive.

Yet, now as the end of COP 26 draws near, we are dismayed that we still have to argue for the recognition that dependence on all fossil fuels – not just coal – must end as soon as possible. Without advancing a phase out of gas and oil, the draft decision merely allows for them to take coal’s place in fueling climate catastrophe, and ignores the necessity of spurring all nations relying on them for energy or for sustaining their economy into urgent action in putting in place swift and just transition plans.

Ending coal is the bare minimum. The climate crisis requires the highest possible ambition, especially from polluting nations. COP 26 will close as a disappointment if it ultimately would still give free rein to oil, gas, and other destructive industries to wreak climate havoc moving forward.

Reference: CEED Executive Director Gerry Arances, as the COP 26 decision document goes through last negotiations