HomeNewsEnvironment & ClimateCOP28 draft raises concerns about fossil fuel exclusion

COP28 draft raises concerns about fossil fuel exclusion


Doha, 13 December 2023(TDI): COP28, a United Nations-led meeting, is set to conclude after two weeks of discussions, but the 21-page presidency’s draft does not address the ‘phasedown’ or ‘phase-out’ of fossil fuels.

According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, this is one of the keys to the conference’s success, and it is something that many countries have urged.

In fact, the proposed speech urged countries to limit “fossil fuel consumption and production in a just, orderly, and equitable manner.”

As COP28 comes to an end, Antonio Guterres stressed the importance of an ambitious, decisive climate action plan to uphold the 1.5°C temperature limit and protect those affected by the climate crisis. He underlined the need for a brighter and better plan in order to attain these goals.

In this regard, the UAE’s COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber stated, “We have made progress, but we still have a lot to do. I want you to deliver the highest ambition on all agenda items, including the fossil fuel language.”

The text, condemned by activists from the US, European Union states, and small island countries, argues that the draft lacks sufficient measures to combat climate change.

Also Read: EU to combat climate change through forests power

Reports suggest that the current draft is not the final one, and negotiations on compromise language are expected to continue until Tuesday, which is the last day of COP28.

The draft included voluntary measures, most of which were optional, while the other parts were left unspecified.

The current draft specifies voluntary initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the goal of tripling global renewable energy production capacity by 2030, the rapid phaseout of coal, zero and low emission technologies, weak language in climate finance, and adaptation goals without financial commitments.

However, the text excluded the phase-out of fossil fuels, the omission of terminology such as “oil” and “natural gas,” substantial duties for rich nations, and the necessity for justice in rich countries’ adaptation support.

COP28 Draft Raises Concerns About Fossil Fuel Exclusion
Activists are converging outside negotiating halls in the final hours of COP28 to demand a fossil fuel phaseout now

According to Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International, the new version will be “far stronger, but the language on phaseout of fossil fuels is now completely gone. We, as a civil society, reject the text.”

“There will be negotiations on this text,” Singh added. “Let’s see how countries respond,” he added.

Harjeet Singh noted that during the UAE talks, there was external pressure from the fossil fuel industry, as OPEC issued a letter stating that oil-producing countries strongly object to any wording on fossil fuel phaseout and how rich nations are just pretending.

In response to Harjeet Singh’s claims, Maryam Shabbir Abbasi, an environmental expert based in the United States, issued a statement. “Delays, false promises, and now a shift in terms to “reducing consumption and production” rather than “phasing out” fossil fuels.”

She further added that, for the past 30 years, developing countries have been in strife. The developed world must act now because the COP28-UAE is not winning over the oil and gas lobbies.

Aqsa Bibi
Aqsa Bibi
Aqsa Bibi is a dedicated undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Multan. In addition to her academic interests, she is passionate about understanding global dynamics. She has worked with various organizations sponsored by the US Embassy Islamabad. Her commitment to the field and determination to contribute significantly to international relations is evident in her involvement in initiatives. The writer can be reached at kaqsa064@gmail.com

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