Dubai: The latest proposed text of the deal countries hope to reach at the COP28 summit in Dubai published on Wednesday (December 13), underscored the transition away from fossil fuels as an option to slash greenhouse gas emissions, but does not call for countries to “phase out” fossil fuels, CNN reported. The text calls on countries to “contribute” collectively to global efforts to reduce carbon pollution in a way that they see fit offering eight options one of which is “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems … accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050.”
Countries could choose other options instead, including contributing to a global goal of tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency.
The draft was published Wednesday morning, more than 12 hours after the summit’s deadline, as talks ran hours into overtime as countries negotiated language around fossil fuels and other sticking points, CNN reported.
Another more controversial option is to accelerate technologies, including “removal technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage” which would allow for the continued use of fossil fuels if their carbon pollution was removed from them before entering the atmosphere. That technology is not proven effective at scale and is currently expensive.
The annual climate talks are often divisive and run into extra hours, but COP28 has been particularly fraught, with criticism that oil interests have derailed the process.
The discussions over the future of fossil fuels have been the most contentious issue at these talks. Some more ambitious nations and climate advocates had expressed anger and frustration an earlier draft dropped the call for a phase-out, CNN reported.
The fossil fuel industry was given record access to the conference, a recent analysis showed. COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber, who is presiding over the talks, also leads the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company as it undergoes a major expansion in oil and gas production. He has consistently rejected criticisms of a conflict of interest and pledged to hold a transparent process.
The secretary-general of the oil-producing group OPEC, Haitham Al Ghais, called on members and allies last week to “proactively reject” any language that targeted reducing fossil fuel use, telling members to support language that focuses on “emissions” instead.
CNN reported, that Saudi Arabia and Iraq were among the countries that did not want reference to a phase-out of fossil fuels in the text, Catherine Abreu, the founder and executive director of the nonprofit group Destination Zero, told reporters in Dubai. Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA said the country’s delegation to COP28 was “reaffirming” its rejection of a phase-out as well.
The COP28 presidency has fended off criticism that the text had been too watered down. On Tuesday, it said it supported a “historic” deal that included some language on fossil fuels and aimed for “the highest ambition.”
“We are facing the most demanding COP agenda of all time,” said COP28 Director-General Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi in a news conference, CNN reported.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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