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China defends joining with India on coal ‘phase down’ instead of ‘phase out’ at COP26

The COP26 summit in Glasgow, which concluded on Saturday with a deal, recognises India's intervention for the world to ‘phase down’ rather than ‘phase out’ fossil fuels.

November 15, 2021 06:04 pm | Updated 06:04 pm IST - Beijing

A worker sits next to piles of coal burning after scavenging from an open-cast mine near Dhanbad, an eastern Indian city in Jharkhand state. On Saturday, India asked for a crucial last minute-change to the final agreement at crucial climate talks in Glasgow, calling for the "phase-down" not the "phase-out" of coal power.

A worker sits next to piles of coal burning after scavenging from an open-cast mine near Dhanbad, an eastern Indian city in Jharkhand state. On Saturday, India asked for a crucial last minute-change to the final agreement at crucial climate talks in Glasgow, calling for the "phase-down" not the "phase-out" of coal power.

China on Monday asked developed countries to stop using the coal first and provide financial aid to developing countries to adopt green technologies as it defended its move to join hands with India in calling for "phase down" instead of "phase out" of coal in the final text of the COP26 conference declaration.

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries accepted a new climate agreement after the COP26 summit in Glasgow concluded on Saturday with a deal, which recognises India's intervention for the world to " phase down " rather than "phase out" fossil fuels.

"Low carbon transformation is an overriding trend and the goal all countries are working towards,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here. He was responding to a question on COP26 Chairman Alok Sharma’s reported comments that China and India need to explain to developing nations why they watered down the language on efforts to phase out coal at the conference and rejected calls for “phasing out” coal firepower instead opted to “phasing down”.

Mr. Zhao said, “the improvement of the energy structure and reduction of the ratio of carbon consumption is a progressive process that requires respect for the national circumstances of different countries and their development stage as well as their different resources”.

"So we should first give consideration to this gap in energy and ensure energy security for the developing countries. We encourage developed countries to stop using coal first and also hope they can provide support to financing technology to developing countries,” he said.

Chinese official media has criticised the Western media for targeting China and India for pressing “phase down" use of coal power instead of "phase out” in the final text adopted by 197 countries at the COP26 conference which concluded last week.

Climate scientists hailed the "unprecedented determination of tackling global warming" demonstrated by summit participants, especially developing countries including China and India, as not only underscoring the urgency of the climate issue but also a stimulus for developed countries to match their promises with actions, state-run Global Times reported on Monday.

Since this year, President Xi Jinping has announced a series of measures to strictly control the coal-fired power plants and to put strict control on the growth of coal consumption during the current 14th five-year plan and to gradually reduce that in the 15th five-year plan.

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