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Fury And Dissatisfaction As The COP28 Draft Language Leaves Out The Phase-Out Of Fossil Fuels

Fury And Dissatisfaction As The COP28 Draft Language Leaves Out The Phase-Out Of Fossil Fuels
On the last day of the global conference, the proposed language for a COP28 climate agreement that does not call for the phase-out of fossil fuels has come under heavy fire from influential figures, exposing deep divisions.
The United Arab Emirates' leadership of the climate summit released a document that emphasised the need to cut emissions but refrained from advocating for the complete phase-out of fossil fuels. According to scientists, fossil fuels are the primary cause of climate change, which may endanger human life.
Urgent warnings against the draft pact were expressed by delegates from the United States, the European Union, and climate-vulnerable nations, including several in Africa and the Pacific Islands. This put them at conflict with many oil-producing nations.
The EU's lead COP28 negotiator, Wopke Hoekstra, stated to the media that the proposal was "obviously inadequate and not sufficient to addressing the problem we are here to address."
“That is not because we want it, the minister or I want it, or the Europeans want it,” Hoekstra said. “Because scientists are crystal clear about what is needed and on the top of that list is phasing out fossil fuel because there is a direct [correlation] between doing that and making sure we get the earth, we get people out of harm’s way.”
Similar worries were voiced by US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry, who stated: "We're not where we're expected to be in terms of the text... Many of us have advocated for the global phase-out of fossil fuels, beginning this decade with a significant reduction.
“This is a war for survival,” he added.
The majority of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are caused by the burning of coal, oil, and gas. The COP28 conclusion was heavily pushed to demonstrate that "we are truly at the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era" for this reason.
When he asserted last week that there was "no science" supporting calls for the phase-out of fossil fuels and that doing so would prevent sustainable growth "unless you want to take the world back into caves," COP28 President Sultan al Jaber, however, drew criticism.
Jaber, who also serves as CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), stated that his team "very much believe and respect the science" in response to the subsequent uproar.
According to a COP28 spokesman, al-Jaber has been "unwavering" in his assertion that action must be taken in a variety of sectors and areas in order to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Teresa Ribera, Spain's minister for ecological transition, told reporters following the release of the draft text on Monday: "We think that there are elements in the text that are fully unacceptable," she continued, "and it is not clear at all, how it can proceed in this critical decade in the energy field."
“We think that it could be good to have clarity if we really want to make out of this COP what the world needs, and to make out of this COP what it was supposed to be: a turning point in our climate fight,” she added.
Meanwhile, Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister of Germany, called the text deceptive. "There is a severe lack of urgency in replacing and reducing fossil fuels in the power sector during this crucial decade. The coal-related text permits new coal-fired power stations, which is in conflict with EU energy policies, the speaker stated.
Above all, the global context of fossil fuels is misleading. It implies that fossils may still be very important to our future. This gives our markets and businesses the wrong impression.
"Reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net zero by, before, or around 2050" was one of the options for countries to reduce emissions that were listed in the draft statement.
The almost 200 nations taking part in the negotiations "still have a lot to do," according to COP28 chief Jaber's remarks on Monday.
“We need to make progress in many areas, including fossil fuel language,” he said, and urged “even more flexibility” from the involved parties.
The United Arab Emirates is one of the top 10 oil producers in the world and a member of the influential OPEC club.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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