Coal-dependent India asks world to avoid ‘singling out’ fossil fuel in final Cop27 agreement

India is demanding that coal not be “singled out” in the final agreement from Cop27 after a furore over the wording around the dirtiest fossil fuel at the last climate conference in Glasgow.

The country, which remains heavily dependent on coal, has demanded that “all fossil fuels” that contribute to planet-heating emissions be treated as equals instead of “singling out coal”, according to submissions made by India, seen by The Independent.

The text of the final agreement is currently being debated by negotiators at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit.

Earlier, Bloomberg reported that India’s negotiators were demanding that the final agreement include mention of a “phase-down” of oil and gas, too.

A source toldThe Independent that India’s demands were in line with the “clean energy transition” stated by the UN’s leading climate science body. The most recent assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that it “recognises the need for the phase down of all fossil fuels”.

During eleventh-hour negotiations of the Cop26 agreement in Glasgow, India and several other developing countries created last-minute uproar after they objected to language that called for “phase out” of coal.

In the end, the text of the final Glasgow Agreement called for the “phase down” of coal.

India is one of the biggest producers and consumers of coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels. However the country maintains that the clean energy transition should be focused on phasing down of all fossil fuels including oil and gas, which the United States, United Kingdom and European Union are reliant upon.

But Cop27 negotiations so far have been focused on coal, something developing countries have objected to repeatedly.

The recent IPCC report warns that all fossil fuels need to be phased out for global heating to remain within the agreed target of 1.5C, as set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

In its Cop27 agreement submission, India has once again stressed there are “enormous disparities in energy use”.

It has also stressed “equitable sharing” of the carbon budget - the remaining emissions that can be released it climate goals are to be achieved.

This story was published with the support of Climate Tracker‘s Cop27 Climate Justice Journalism Fellowship