Tuvalu’s climate minister has hit out at a last minute move to water down a new climate deal that 197 countries signed off on in Glasgow.

Tuvalu’s Seve Paeniu said he was dismayed by India and Chinese intervention in the final hours of COP 26 to replace the words “phase out” with “phase down” in reference to coal.

“Everybody was in disbelief. So very disappointed, dismayed, disheartened that the hard work we had put in over the last two weeks just got changed in the last minute,” he said.

Although he wasn’t happy with the final Glasgow Climate Pact, Paeniu said it was a progressive step towards limiting global warming with a commitment by countries to return next year with more ambitious emission cuts.

“So countries have to commit to reducing their emissions and keeping the dialogue on the 1.5-degree trajectory alive.

“For the first time in COP, the first mention of the use of coal. So to me that is an achievement to getting that language on the use of coal reflected in a COP outcome document,” he added.

Paeniu said the message for Pacific countries was to keep working with developed countries like Australia to make them see the benefit of transitioning to a green economy.