‘Still on the road to hell’: Global media reacts to COP26 climate deal

Britain’s President for COP26 Alok Sharma (L) reacts as he makes his concluding remarks during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 13, 2021.

PAUL ELLIS | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Media outlets around the world have been giving their verdict on the COP26 deal, an agreement struck Saturday night which tries to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Nearly 200 countries approved the U.N.-brokered deal, which suffered stumbling blocks over the phasing out of coal, fossil fuel subsidies and financial support to low-income countries.

India and China, both among the world’s biggest burners of coal, insisted on a last-minute change of fossil fuel language in the pact — from a “phase out” of coal to a “phase down.”

After initial objections, opposing countries ultimately conceded.

The U.K.


The English-language edition of Deutsche Welle declared: “World leaders fail to honor climate pledge.” It noted that the U.N. summit has been “slammed as a failure after India and China weakened language on phasing out fossil fuels.”

German tabloid Das Bild headlined with “Weltweiter Kohleausstieg eingeleitet,” which roughly translates as “Global phase-out of coal initiated.”

It highlighted that, although the language was somewhat watered down, it was the first time that a COP conference had made specific decisions on coal and fossil fuels.


France’s Les Monde headlined, “La COP26 accouche d’un accord en demi-teinte,” which underlined the mixed reception the deal received. It said that countries from the North had not met the expectations of the more vulnerable countries of the South.

Le Figaro added that Saturday night’s deal would probably generate a lot of frustration.

The U.S.



There was also less focus on the climate summit on the English-language versions of Indian news websites. The Hindustan Times reported comments made by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who conceded that the deal had been a compromise.

The Times of India picked up comments made by Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, whose eleventh-hour intervention changed the wording on coal in the final text of the agreement. Yadav labeled Glasgow a “success from India’s standpoint because we articulated and put across the concerns and ideas of the developing world quite succinctly and unequivocally.”

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