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After the COP26 deal was watered down, companies called for more action

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After the COP26 agreement was watered down in the last few minutes, business groups and climate activists expressed disappointment that governments had not taken enough positive actions to address climate change.

At the climate summit in Glasgow, nearly 200 countries reached an agreement late Saturday night and agreed on the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris climate agreement. However, last-minute opposition from India and China stopped the promise of ending coal use and fossil fuel subsidies.

The Glasgow agreement reached after two weeks of arduous negotiations includes global carbon market rules and financial commitments to help countries adapt to climate change. Before the summit, many of the world’s largest emitters, including the United States, Russia, and India, set the goal of achieving net zero emissions by the middle of this century.

Although global executives generally welcomed the deal, many said it was far from enough. Some people complain that companies have shown greater urgency than many governments on the issue of global warming.

John Denton, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, said that the next few months need to “work together” to maintain the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since the industrial era. The temperature has risen by 1.1C.

“We applaud the government for making a difficult compromise to reach an agreement in Glasgow… but what is certain is that the agreement is not a cause for celebration,” he said.

Mindy Lubber, CEO of Ceres, a US non-profit organization, said: “Investors and companies around the world have shown that they support the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

“But the actions of the private sector alone are not enough,” she said.

Nigel Wilson, head of the insurance and investment group Legal & General, said: “The world is increasingly believing in the necessity of action and delivery,” while Siemens boss Carl Ennis said that the industry should “focus our efforts on providing what we can do correctly. Things”. Here, now”.

CBI Director General Tony Danker stated that “negotiators, activists and companies will have to continue to work” to surpass Glasgow to achieve the 1.5C goal.

“The pressure will definitely fall on the negotiators to get them back to the negotiating table [at the next meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2022],” He said.

The Glasgow summit has important business impact, which is unusual at a climate conference. “In the past eight days, I have seen more CEOs here than I have seen at COP in the past eight years,” Jules Kortenhurst, CEO of Colorado think tank RMI Say.

The agreement was reached late on Saturday night and drew sharp criticism from those seeking to pledge to stop using coal power altogether, including many smaller island nations.

Jennifer Morgan, head of Greenpeace International, said that the results of COP26 were “moderate” and “weak”, but still signaled the end of the coal era.

She said: “Glasgow had intended to firmly reduce the gap to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but this did not happen.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted that he was “happy” with the new agreement, but added that after the wording on coal was later changed, the results were “disappointing.”

Boris Johnson: “We can’t trick sovereign nations into doing things they don’t want to do” © Getty Images

“Sadly, this is the essence of diplomacy… We can’t trick sovereign nations into doing things they don’t want to do,” he said. However, he insisted that the agreement marked a “decisive shift” in the global response to climate change.

“There is no doubt that Glasgow has sounded the death knell for coal power,” he said at a press conference on Sunday. “Although it is disappointing, there is no denying that the world is heading in the right direction.”

Johnson tried to set aside the fact that the text agreed to “gradually reduce” rather than “phasing out” the unabated use of fossil fuels, adding that “the way forward is almost the same.”

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