Related video: Alok Sharma holds back tears while apologising for events of Cop26
Boris Johnson has admitted his “disappointment” at the Cop26 climate pact after coal pledges were watered down.
Holding a press conference with Cop26 president Alok Sharma, he said the agreement “sounded the death knell for coal” and dismissed criticism that the shift from phasing “out” coal to phasing “down” the dirty fuel was a significant change in language.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is facing accusations from Labour that he “undermined” his own climate conference minister by failing to back him up with ambitious UK commitments.
It comes after the government faced criticism for not bringing down a firm enough hand on India and China’s demands to make a last-minute change to the text on coal in the deal agreed in Glasgow on Saturday.
Alok Sharma breaks down amid changes to wording
An emotional Alok Sharma broke down at Cop26 after apologising for the “way this process has unfolded”.
It comes after a key change to the deal on coal, following a proposed revision by India to water down language on coal.
Mr Sharma, while saying it is “vital” that countries protect this deal, acknowledged the disappointment some countries feel.
He goes on to confirm a revised deal has been agreed at Cop26.
ITV News’ Anushka Asthana reports:
Nations announce landmark climate pact in Glasgow
The Cop26 climate summit has finally concluded after nations agreed to a landmark deal aimed at preventing catastrophic global warming.
Talks dragged on for more than 24 hours after the Glasgow conference was due to end amid intense negotiations over contentious issues like fossil fuel subsidies, emission-reduction timelines and climate finance for developing nations.
China and India made a last-minute intervention to water down language in the final text on coal, changing it to “phase down” on unbated coal power instead of the stronger “phase out”.
Our climate correspondents Louise Boyle and Daisy Dunne report:
Talks dragged on for more than 24 hours after Cop26 was due to end on Friday amid intense negotiations
Countries continue to express anger at last-minute change to coal wording
Many island states, including the representative for Fiji, criticised the last-minute proposed change to call on parties to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal.
He told the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow: “What we would like to express was not just our astonishment but our immense disappointment in the manner in which this has been introduced.”
He said days before they were warned against making “last-minute” changes to the text and said “due process” had not been followed.
Meanwhile, EU executive vice-president Frans Timmermans said that despite his disappointment over the change, he still believed the outcome of Glasgow would help the world shift away from the use of fossil fuel.
He said: “[The EU] is going to work bloody hard on getting rid out of of coal, and I believe this conclusion will help us work in that direction.
“The European Union will be strongly committed to that not just within the European Union, but also with our partners worldwide.
“And for us the model we have found together with the United Kingdom, United States, Germany and France on South Africa should be the template of how we help other coal producing countries to rid themselves of this fossil.”
Emotional Sharma apologises as coal phase out text ‘watered down’
Here’s Ella Glover with more detail on the moment Cop26 president Alok Sharma broke down on stage at the climate summit.
It comes after a key change to the deal on coal, following a proposed revision by India to water down language on coal
UN calls out failure of negotiators to ‘overcome deep contradictions’
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said the approved texts from Cop26 were a compromise that took important steps, but the “collective political will was not enough to overcome some deep contradictions”.
“Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread,” he warned, adding: “We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.”
He called for an end to fossil fuels subsidies, a phase out of coal, a price on carbon, building resilience of vulnerable communities against the impacts of climate change and to make good on the long-promised 100 billion US dollar climate finance commitment to support developing countries.
“We did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress,” Mr Guterres said.
Here’s Sky’s Beth Rigby with more on Mr Guterres’ “downbeat” remarks.
Politicians react to news of ‘modest’ Cop26 agreement
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said of the agreement at Cop26, that “there has been modest progress toward the challenges we face - which is important”.
But, he stressed: “We have seen too many promises for tomorrow, not the action that the climate emergency demands today. Boris Johnson bears some responsibility for that. Glasgow has been a missed opportunity - a summit too often of climate delay not climate delivery”.
Sir Keir accused the PM of not treating the summit with the seriousness it deserved, or building the trust that was critical to its success.
He urged the UK - during its presidency of the Cop until next year’s Cop27 - to redouble diplomatic efforts and make the strides forward that Cop26 did not achieve.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, tweeted:
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said:
Meanwhile, former Labour leader Ed Miliband praised Alok Sharma’s integrity;
Watch: Sharma gets emotional in Cop26’s last moments
Thunberg shares feelings on Glasgow Climate Pact: ‘Blah blah blah’
Greta Thunberg gives her verdict on the final agreement reached at Cop26.
Boris Johnson said he hopes Cop26 will signify the ‘beginning of the end of climate change’
The Prime Minister said he hopes Cop26 will be looked back on as the “beginning of the end of climate change,” although he admits there is “still a huge amount more to do.”
Writing on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “We asked nations to come together for our planet at Cop26, and they have answered that call.
“I want to thank the leaders, negotiators and campaigners who made this pact happen – and the people of Glasgow who welcomed them with open arms.”
He also thanked Alok Sharma for his work in bringing everyone together.
The PM added: “There is still a huge amount more to do in the coming years.
“But today’s agreement is a big step forward and, critically, we have the first ever international agreement to phase down coal and a roadmap to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
“I hope that we will look back on COP26 in Glasgow as the beginning of the end of climate change, and I will continue to work tirelessly towards that goal.”
The wealthiest countries most responsible for climate change ‘have failed,’ says advocacy group
Some more reactions to the final deal are in, this time from advocacy group Global Citizen.
Michael Sheldrick, Chief Policy and Government Affairs Officer at Global Citizen, said: “The wealthiest countries who are responsible for and now continue to worsen climate change, have failed.
And it is the poorest communities that will continue to suffer loss and damage, which continues to go unaddressed.
Global Citizen calls for wealthy countries to meet their obligations, reach the $100bn per year in climate finance now not in 2023, provide financial support for loss and damage, annually update their Nationally Determined Contributions and move from pledges to the policies and legislation needed to avoid greater than 1.5C temperature rise.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies