INDIA’S CALL for a phase-down of all fossil fuels, and not just coal which was singled out in the decisions of the Glasgow conference last year, is getting support from some key quarters, including from European Union, for inclusion in the main decisions that will be agreed here.
India had, on Saturday, proposed that the countries at the COP27 agree to a phase-down of all fossil fuels. It also called out the duplicity of the developed countries, arguing that selective labelling of some energy sources as ‘green’ had no basis in science. The argument was clearly aimed at a recent decision of the European Parliament to classify some uses of gas as ‘green’.
At the Glasgow climate conference, India had been caught on the wrong foot when the final draft decisions included a mention of ‘phase-out’ of coal. India continues to rely heavily on coal-based power plants, which generate about 55 per cent of the country’s electricity right now, and is often criticized for this. In the final moments of Glasgow meeting, India, with the support of a few more countries, was able to get the ‘phase-out’ reference amended to a ‘phase down’.
However, in a bid to neutralise some of the negative attention it attracts on its use of coal, this year India decided to push for the phase-down of all fossil fuels, something that no country can in principle disagree with.
EU’s climate policy head Frans Timmermans said EU was in agreement with India’s proposal, even though he did not offer an unequivocal support.
“Obviously, we are in favour of phasing down all fossil fuels, and we are in support of any call to support all fossil fuels. But we also have to make sure that this call does not diminish the earlier agreement we had on phasing down coal. So, if this comes on top of what we are already agreed in Glasgow, then EU has no problem in supporting India’s call. But it should not divert our attention and our effort to phase down coal, as we had agreed in Glasgow last year,” Timmermans said.
The Indian proposal had received support from some other countries as well, mainly from the developing world and the small island states. The first draft of the decision text is expected to make its appearance on Wednesday.
India, Brazil, China and South Africa, the grouping of BASIC countries, had a ministerial meeting on Tuesday evening, where this issue also came up for discussion. A support from BASIC as a group would make the case very strong. China, like India, also has a large proportion of its electricity coming from coal-based power plants.
Meanwhile, India was named the co-lead for the informal ministerial consultations on climate finance. Five ministerial groups have been constituted to iron out outstanding differences on different negotiating tracks — mitigation, adaptation, climate finance, loss and damage, and carbon markets.
Some of these ministerial consultations began their work on Tuesday. Differences that remain unresolved by the negotiators are kicked up to the ministerial level to look for political solutions and compromises.