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Climate Change

Countries Push For COP28 Deal On Fossil Fuels As Talks Spill Into Overtime

Many nations had criticised a deal draft released on December 11 for failing to call for a “phase-out” of fossil fuels, which scientists say are by far the biggest source of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming

Countries Push For COP28 Deal On Fossil Fuels As Talks Spill Into Overtime
COP28 presidency aims for a "historic" result that includes mentioning fossil fuels

Dubai: Negotiations for a climate deal spilled into overtime at the COP28 summit in Dubai on Wednesday (December 13), as nearly 200 countries sought to bridge divisions on the future role of fossil fuels — by far the most contentious issue. Where the two-week conference lands on the issue will send a powerful message to global investors and markets about the ambition of governments around the world to end the use of oil, gas and coal, or preserve place them.

Also Read: At COP28, UN Chief Proposes Deal On Phasing Out Fossil Fuels

Many nations had criticised a deal draft released on Monday for failing to call for a “phase-out” of fossil fuels, which scientists say are by far the biggest source of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming.

More than 100 countries ranging from the United States and the EU to tiny island nations like Samoa had pushed for the language but faced resistance from members of the OPEC oil producer group and its allies.

Late on Tuesday and into the early hours of Wednesday, country delegations met with each other and with the United Arab Emirates’ COP28 host — which is responsible for writing a new draft of the final deal — to make clear their demands in a flurry of midnight shuttle diplomacy.

U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry popped out of one meeting with representatives from several other delegations late on Tuesday and said he believed the fossil fuel language in the COP28 deal text was getting stronger.

“I think there’s progress and moving in the right direction,” he told reporters. “And you know, we’re going to keep working through the night.”

Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, Samoa’s environment minister, said “there are improvements from yesterday’s language in some areas,” but declined to offer specifics.

Small island nations, who are already feeling the brunt of climate-drive sea level rise, had described the Monday draft deal as a death sentence.

The COP presidency had hoped to wrap the two-week summit up by Tuesday morning, but clashes over the draft deal text forced negotiations into overtime – a routine pattern for the annual COP summits.

COP28 Director General Majid Al Suwaidi said the aim of the Monday text was to draw negotiators to reveal their demands and move the discussion forward. He said,

By releasing our first draft of the text, we got parties to come to us quickly with those red lines.

Al Suwaidi said the COP28 presidency was aiming for a “historic” result that included mentioning fossil fuels – but that it was up to countries to agree.

Sources familiar with the discussions said COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber had faced pressure from Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of the OPEC oil producers’ group to which UAE belongs, to drop any mention of fossil fuels.

Saudi Arabia’s government did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

In a Dec. 6 letter seen by Reuters, OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais urged members and allies to reject any COP28 deal that targeted fossil fuels.

Negotiators and observers in the COP28 talks said that while Saudi Arabia has been the strongest opponent of anti-fossil fuel language in the text, other OPEC and OPEC+ members, including Iran, Iraq and Russia, have also resisted a fossil fuel phase-out deal.

“I’m worried … because it’s very obvious that we need more ambition,” Denmark’s Global Climate Minister Dan Jorgensen said. “I haven’t given up yet of course, we still think this is possible.”

The Monday draft had also been criticised as too weak by Australia, Canada, Chile, Norway and scores of others.

Some African nations, meanwhile, have said any deal must require wealthy countries, who have long produced and used fossil fuels, to quit first.

“The transition should be premised on differentiated pathways to net zero and fossil fuel phase-down,” said Collins Nzovu, minister of Green Economy for Zambia, which chairs the African Group of countries in U.N. climate talks. He added,

We should also recognise the full right of Africa to exploit its natural resources sustainably.

It was unclear if China, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter, supported Monday’s draft. Its veteran climate change envoy, Xie Zhenhua, said progress was being made in the talks.

Also Read: COP28 Plan To Triple Renewables Is Doable, But Not Easy, Companies Say

(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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