COP28 Presidency avoids talking about 'phasing out' fossil fuels

COP28 Presidency avoids talking about 'phasing out' fossil fuels
Credit: Belga

In a summary of the first few days of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), the UAE presidency, led by Emirati Sultan Al Jaber, made no mention of phasing out fossil fuels – a demand made by numerous global leaders.

The Presidency instead referenced a round table discussion held on Saturday, where 22 heads of state and ministers, representing major negotiation groups, "emphasised the possibility of reducing emissions across all sectors…as well as reducing the reliance on fossil fuels to support a transition in keeping with the 1.5°C warming limit."

This summary, published on the official COP28 website, is presented through the lens of the presidency and encapsulates the outcomes of the global climate summit, which has already brought together around 140 leaders in Dubai on 1-2 December.

Sidestepping the issue

Yet the summary omits the dozens of speeches made by world leaders that called for divestment from fossil fuels, not just reduction – a crucial point of contention amongst the approximately 200 countries gathered in Dubai.

The text also consolidates all the financial and energy commitments and targets announced on Friday and Saturday, deemed as indicators to facilitate the progress of UN negotiations. These negotiations are to conclude on 12 December, with hopes of achieving an agreement to urgently rectify humanity’s carbon emission trajectory, not aligning with the Paris Agreement.

Sultan Al Jaber, reaffirmed on the fifth day of the conference, his commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030, reflecting the scientific guidance on climate change and responding to his critics.

COP28 delegates agreed last Thursday to set up a loss-and-damage fund to help poor countries pay for losses and damage caused by man-made climate change. The landmark agreement came on the opening day of the summit and was greeted with a standing ovation.

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