But when China and India chose the last few hours of negotiations to push for the language on coal to be diluted from “phase out” to “phase down”, both countries came under nearly immediate fire from commentators. Cop president Alok Sharma later urged both countries to “explain themselves and what they did to the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world”.
On Monday Beijing kicked the ball back to developed nations. Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson at China’s foreign ministry, said that before asking all countries to stop using coal, developed countries should remember how far many developing countries need to travel in order to find sustainable ways to provide electricity for their citizens. “We encourage developed countries to take the lead in stopping using coal while providing ample funding, technological and capacity-building support for developing countries’ energy transition. We need concrete actions more than slogans.”