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At COP26, nations strike a climate deal with coal compromise

Alok Sharma (left), president of the COP26 summit, attends a stocktaking plenary session in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday.
Alok Sharma (left), president of the COP26 summit, attends a stocktaking plenary session in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday.

Updated November 13, 2021 at 3:01 PM ET

GLASGOW, Scotland — Government negotiators from nearly 200 countries have adopted a new deal on climate action after a last-minute intervention by India to water down the language on cutting emissions from coal.

Several countries including small island states said they were deeply disappointed by the move to "phase down," rather than "phase out" coal power, the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Other nations described the revision as odious and against the rules, but said it was something they had to accept to bring the two weeks of U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland to a close.

Before India succeeded in getting the change made, nation after nation talked about the final provisions not going far or fast enough but a compromise was better than nothing and provided progress, if not success.

Negotiators say the agreement is aimed at keeping alive the overarching goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. The world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit.)
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