COP 28. Controversy over the final text of the climate change agreement

Fossil fuel issue ignites climate conference. Subsequent drafts of the agreement do not meet the ambitions, expectations and capabilities of many participants. The most recent resolution removed the commitment to “phasing out fossil fuels consistent with the best available scientific knowledge.” Reuters quoted a European diplomat commenting on the draft agreement submitted to the COP28 climate conference in Dubai: “Weak as hell.” But the summit’s president, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, considered the agreement a “big step forward.”

A draft of a potential agreement presented at Monday’s meeting suggests a range of options countries could pursue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it ignores the “phasing out” of fossil fuels that many countries are calling for.

Instead, it listed eight options that countries “could” pursue to reduce carbon emissions, including “reducing fossil fuel consumption and production in a fair, orderly and equitable way to achieve net zero by 2050, i.e. sooner or later.”

Agreement – details

Other measures mentioned include tripling renewable energy generation capacity by 2030 and further developing technology, including the process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions to prevent the gases from entering the atmosphere. “The COP28 presidency has been clear about our ambitions from the beginning. This text reflects these ambitions and represents a major step forward,” Al Jaber said in a statement. “Everything is now in the hands of parties we trust to do what is best for humanity and the planet,” he noted.

Chair of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Ahmed Al Jaber PAP/EPA/MARTIN DEPARTMENT

The COP28 President also called on countries to make further progress towards reaching an agreement on climate change in areas where differences remain, including the use of fossil fuels.

“Weak as hell”, “This text is not enough”

As Reuters wrote, one European diplomat said the draft agreement was “very weak” and read like “a menu from which you can choose any dish you want.” The US State Department expressed significant departure from the project, saying the text should be improved on several issues, including fossil fuels.

Activists protest during the COP28 conference in DubaiBab/epa/Ali Haider

“We appreciate the efforts made by many people to develop a text that attempts to balance various interests. At the same time, the section on climate change mitigation should be significantly strengthened, including the issue of fossil fuels, and the section on financing contains inaccurate information,” the ministry said. The American Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “It must be corrected.” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that the draft agreement was clearly insufficient and disappointing. In a speech she delivered at the German climate pavilion in Dubai, she said that the text did not address the issue of replacing fossil fuels at all, which means that Germany cannot support it. The European Union found the draft agreement disappointing. – It is long, and we are still analyzing all the elements. The EU’s chief negotiator, Wopke Hoekstra, said that there are some things, but in general they are clearly insufficient and not appropriate to the scale of the problem. Which we are here to address. He added – that the vast majority of countries want more in terms of moving away from fossil fuels (…) and getting rid of coal. As Agnes Panier Ronacher, the French Minister of Energy Transition, said, “This text is not sufficient.” – She said :- There are elements that are unacceptable in their current form.

The twenty-eighth United Nations Climate Change Conference concluded in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab EmiratesPAP/EPA/MARTIN DEPARTMENT

Pressure from Saudi Arabia

As Reuters writes, sources familiar with the discussions claim that the UAE, when preparing the draft agreement, came under pressure from Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC’s group of oil producers, to delete any mention of fossil fuels in the agreement. text. On the penultimate day of the meeting, it was decided to hold the next conference, COP29, in Azerbaijan.

Main image source: Bab/epa/Ali Haider

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