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COP28 Enters Crunch Time With Countries At Odds Over Fossil Fuels

U.N. climate chief Simon Stiell urged countries to come together to reach a final deal for the summit – where they were facing off over whether to call for an end to fossil fuels

COP28 Enters Crunch Time With Countries At Odds Over Fossil Fuels
A coalition of more than 80 countries are pushing for an agreement that includes language to "phase out" fossil fuels, a feat not achieved in 30 years of the U.N. summits

Dubai: With the COP28 climate talks entering crunch time on Monday (December 11), U.N. climate chief Simon Stiell urged countries to come together to reach a final deal for the summit – where they were facing off over whether to call for an end to fossil fuels. Mr Stiell said there had been progress in resolving some disagreements over the last day, but warned that “each step back from the highest ambition will cost countless millions of lives”. Countries at the U.N. climate summit in Dubai were waiting on Monday for the COP28 Presidency, held by the United Arab Emirates, to release a new draft text of what would be the hoped-for final agreement.

Also Read: At COP28, PM Narendra Modi Launches ‘Green Credit Initiative’, Proposes To Host 2028 Edition: Top Highlights

At a press conference on Monday morning, Mr Stiell said,

Clear the unnecessary tactical blockades out of the way. And there have been many along this journey.

He said two key issues were still in debate: how ambitious nations were willing to be in tackling climate change, and how much funding and support they would provide to back up that aim.

A coalition of more than 80 countries including the United States, the European Union and small island nations are pushing for an agreement that includes language to “phase out” fossil fuels, a feat not achieved in 30 years of the U.N. summits.

They are coming up against some strong opposition.

Negotiators and observers inside the COP28 talks told Reuters that Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of the OPEC oil producers’ group, was among the main opponents of a deal to phase out fossil fuels.

Saudi Arabia’s government did not respond to a request for comment on Monday morning.

Also Read: COP28 Releases Crucial Document To Guide Adaptation Efforts, Disagreement Lingers

Deals at U.N. climate summits must be passed by consensus among the nearly 200 countries present.

COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber has given negotiators until Tuesday to agree on what could be the world’s first deal to phase out the use of fossil fuels, the main source of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

As the COP28 summit headed into its endgame, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres flew back to the conference on Sunday afternoon.

“I am here to renew my urgent appeal to leaders: Recommit to the 1.5°C warming limit. End the fossil fuel age. Deliver climate justice,” he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Also Read: India Will Set Narrative To Grow Responsibly And Sustainably: Secretary Leena Nandan At COP28 Event

Speaking in a gathering of ministers and negotiators on Sunday, a representative for Saudi Arabia’s delegation said a COP28 deal should not pick and choose energy sources, but should instead focus on cutting emissions. The representative said,

We have raised our consistent concerns over the attempts to attack energy sources instead of emissions.

That position echoes a call made by oil producers’ club OPEC in a letter to its members earlier in the COP28 summit, seen by Reuters, which asked them to oppose any language targeting fossil fuels directly.

While greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are by far the main cause of climate change, the burning of coal, oil and gas remains the world’s main source of energy, powering many nations’ economies.

Despite the rapid growth of renewable energy, today, fossil fuels produce around 80% of the world’s energy.

Negotiators told Reuters other OPEC and OPEC+ members including Russia, Iraq and Iran have also resisted attempts to insert a fossil fuel phase-out into the COP28 deal.

Singapore’s environment minister Grace Fu said on Monday that the talks had progressed in some areas, but there still was “significant” work to do.

On the COP28 sidelines, Grace Fu told reporters,

We have more or less narrowed down the crucial and critical issues. Having said that, there are still some gaps to finding the solution.

Also Read: COP28: Delegates Urge Greater Action On Climate-Linked Health Risks

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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