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Revised COP Draft Proposes Fossil Fuel Transition As Compromise Deal

The latest text ordains nations to transition away from fossil fuels, including coal, but stops short of dictating a phase-out

 

COP28 leaders worked through a draft deal after arguing over the divisive phase-out issue till the small hours of Wednesday. The most recent wording calls for countries to move away from coal and other fossil fuels but does not mandate a phase-out. It is unclear if the final draft’s semantic gymnastics would be sufficient to get approval.

Earlier, during ten days of intense cooperation by hundreds of involved parties aiming to advance the globe towards a sustainable future, a single word with make-or-break consequences—”phase-out”—seemed to unravel.

The likelihood of the mandated agreement in Dubai diminished as the impasse between a powerful coalition led by OPEC and more than 190 countries wanting a time-bound “phase-out” of coal and other fossil fuels grew increasingly intense.

Majid Al Suwaidi, the director general of the United Arab Emirates for COP28, said that the draft wording was intended to “spark conversations” and prompt parties to declare their red lines as soon as possible in light of the disapproval. At the Dubai conference, negotiators from around 200 countries are trying to come up with a worldwide action plan to curb climate change and avoid catastrophic flooding, lethal heatwaves, and irreparable damage to the planet’s ecosystems.

Al Suwaidi stated that bringing up fossil fuels was part of the “historic” outcome that the COP28 presidency was going for. Nonetheless, the countries must reach a consensus regarding the idea. At U.N. climate conferences, agreements must be ratified by consensus, and each nation is in charge of carrying out the agreement through national investments and policies.

Jennifer Morgan, Germany’s Climate Envoy, noted that a lot of “shuttle diplomacy” was taking place and that the negotiations had reached a “critical phase”. She mentioned quick meetings amongst nations in an attempt to reach a consensus.

A draft of the UN Climate Summit’s plans for how nations would reduce emissions was previously made public. Eight possibilities were included in the draft that nations could use to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Reducing the use and production of fossil fuels in a fair, just, and systematic way was one of these choices. Reducing the usage of all fossil fuels has not been discussed at a U.N. climate summit before.

Scientists contend that additional measures are necessary to stop climate change from getting worse. In anticipation of fresh talks, negotiations continued through Tuesday morning. Even in cases of extreme urgency, COP conferences are rarely concluded on time.

Dan Jorgensen, the minister of global climate change, voiced concern over the proposal and stated that greater ambition is needed to address the problem. Participants, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, Norway, and the European Union, condemned the situation and called for a solid commitment to wean the globe off of gas, oil, and coal.

The primary source of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, are mostly produced by burning fossil fuels. Around 80 per cent  of the energy in the world still comes from fossil fuels, despite the tremendous increase of renewable energy sources.

African countries said that since they have long produced and utilised fossil fuels, any agreement must force wealthier nations to give up first. Collins Nzovu, Zambia’s Minister of Green Economy and the chair of the African Group of nations at the UN climate talks, stressed that distinct pathways to net zero and the phase-down of fossil fuels should serve as the foundation for the transition. He went on to say that Africa is fully entitled to the sustainable exploitation of its natural resources.

The world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, China, may or may not support Monday’s draft. Its seasoned climate change envoy, Xie Zhenhua, stated that the negotiations were making headway, but it is unclear if an agreement can be reached by Tuesday’s conclusion. Brazil wants a stronger text on ditching fossil fuels, but one that makes clear that rich and poor nations should do so on different timeframes. Environment Minister Marina Silva stated this.

Representatives of small island nations said they would not approve a deal that would be a “death warrant” for vulnerable countries hit hardest by rising sea levels.

 

(Inputs from Planet outlook)

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