GLASGOW (Dispatches) -- Iran said it was not satisfied with the language in a draft COP26 agreement on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and expressed its support for India, which also criticized richer nations over the pledge.
“We are not satisfied on paragraph 36 on the phase out of fossil fuel subsidies. We support the Indian delegation related to fossil fuels,” the Iranian delegation told the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow.
In an informal session to give feedback on the draft Saturday, delegates from dozens of countries listed their grievances with the potential agreement.
Indian Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said that “consensus remains elusive” and that fossil fuels had allowed parts of the world to achieve wealth and high living standards.
“How can anyone expect developing countries to make promises about phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies?” he asked, adding that developing countries had to deal with poverty eradication.
“Subsidies provide much-needed social security and support,” he said, giving the example of how India uses subsidies to provide liquified natural gas to low-income households.
Yadav also questioned a key measure on requesting countries come forward with updated plans on slashing emissions by the end of next year, a centerpiece in the draft text. That brings the deadline for new ambitions forward three years than the 2015 Paris Agreement requires.
He complained that the same sense of urgency hadn’t been given to climate finance.
The UN published a third draft of the agreement Saturday morning that retained reference to phasing out coal and ending subsidies for fossil fuels, albeit watered down.
Developing countries appear to be conceding on the lack of strong progress around their calls to set up an dedicated “loss and damage” fund, in which wealthy nations would pay developing ones for climate crisis impacts,
implicitly acknowledging wealthy nations’ outsized role in causing the climate crisis.
The issue had pitted the developed and developing world against each other, a characteristic typical of COP conferences.
A delegate from Guinea, representing a group of 77 nations including China, said: “The group expresses its extreme disappointment .... on a dialogue related to loss and damage. This is a far way from the concrete core for loss and damage facility that the group came together to make and seek an answer here in Glasgow,” he said.
Outside the discussions, climate activists say the deal is weak.
Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network (CAN), said that the draft text was a “clear betrayal by rich nations” to poor and vulnerable countries.
By blocking progress on a dedicated facility for loss and damage, “rich countries have once again demonstrated their complete lack of solidarity and responsibility to protect those facing the worst of the climate impacts,” Essop said. “We urge developing countries to act in the interest of their citizens and stand strong in the face of bullies.”