GLASGOW, Scotland — World leaders approved a climate pact after two weeks of negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
It’s called the Glasgow Climate Pact.
While many experts said the pact fell short of hopes, there is optimism that reaching the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting the planet’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“At the last minute, the phrasing on coal was changed from 'phase-out' to 'phase down' largely to the instigation of India and behind the scenes by China,” said Fritz Mayor, the dean of International Studies at the University of Denver. “So, there’s a position pretty much every country finds themselves in the negotiation of this kind. It’s relatively easier for some places to take measures and harder for others. And for India to phase out coal would be difficult.”
While the wording of the pact changed from ‘phase-out’ to ‘phase-down’ with coal, just the fact there is action on fossil fuels in the agreement is a win, according to Mayor.
“Now what does it mean in practical terms, the question is what measures would we be actually taking going forward?” Mayor said. “Right now, it’s unclear, so the parties have agreed to come back and talk about that.”
However, Waleed Abdalati, the director of research in environmental sciences at the University of Colorado, said the UN still needs to work on what it will do for those countries needing help.
“I think in my view. one of the biggest losses was the lack of commitment to help those most adversely affected by climate change,” Abdalati said. “The lack of deals and commitments to those most adversely affected not coming through, the reality is, those most affected are often those who contributed lease to the problem.”
Moving forward, the Glasgow Climate Pact calls for countries to come back next year with updated emissions reductions commitments for 2030.