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India criticised over coal at Cop26 – but real villain was climate injustice

Experts say country’s watering down of fossil fuel pledge reflected its lack of choices

It was a dramatic 11th-hour decision, portrayed as a devastating blow to the success of Cop26.

After pressure exerted by India and China, the wording of the final deal was watered down to a pledge to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal. Alok Sharma, the president of Cop26, was on the brink of tears as he explained what had happened and the last-minute alteration brought sharp words of rebuke from the US and other nations.

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