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COP28 new draft fails to mention fossil fuel phase out in text 

Even as the UN chief called for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and delivering climate justice, a draft COP28 list doesn’t mention a complete phase-out of fossil fuels anywhere.

HQ Team

December 11, 2023: Even as the UN chief called for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and delivering climate justice, a draft COP28 list doesn’t mention a complete phase-out of fossil fuels anywhere in its text.

The Conference of the Parties, which is serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, came out with an eight-point draft on emissions.

It recognised the need for deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and called upon the parties to take eight steps to reach the goal.

 (a) Tripling renewable energy capacity globally and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030

(b) Rapidly phasing down unabated coal and limitations on permitting new and unabated coal power generation.

Net zero emissions

(c) Accelerating efforts globally towards net zero emissions energy systems, utilising zero and low carbon fuels well before or by around mid-century.

(d) Accelerating zero and low emissions technologies, including, inter alia, renewables, nuclear, abatement and removal technologies, including such as carbon capture and utilization and storage, and low carbon hydrogen production, so as to enhance efforts towards substitution of unabated fossil fuels in energy systems. 

(e) Reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net zero by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science

(f) Accelerating and substantially reducing non-CO2 emissions, including, in particular, methane emissions globally by 2030.

Fossil fuel subsidies

(g) Accelerating emissions reductions from road transport through a range of pathways, including the development of infrastructure and rapid deployment of zero and low-emission vehicles

(h) Phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and do not address energy poverty or just transitions, as soon as possible.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the COP28 parties must stop “kicking the can down the road,” and urged members at the UN climate body’s conference for a deal on the phase-out of fuels.

“Now is the time for maximum ambition and maximum flexibility,” he said, as UN climate talks in Dubai head for the finish line.

‘Clock keeps ticking’

“We must conclude the conference with an ambitious outcome that demonstrates decisive action and a credible plan to keep the 1.5-degree goal alive, protecting those on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”

Negotiators are engaged in intense negotiations to hammer out a deal on key agenda items including the future of the use of fossil fuels.

Humanity is racing against time as our planet is “minutes to midnight” for the 1.5-degree limit, referring to one of the keystone global warming targets set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. “And the clock keeps ticking.”

With COP28 closing on December 12, there is still a “gap that needs to be bridged,” he said,

The Secretary-General, UN Climate Chief, Simon Stiell said: One thing is for certain: ‘I win – you lose’ is a recipe for collective failure. Ultimately it is 8 billion people’s security that is at stake”.

Verge of ‘complete failure’

The Global Stocktake is still being assessed and could pave the way to ambitious national climate action plans, or Nationally Determined Commitments’ that countries are due to submit in 2025, according to the UN.

The “need to phase out all fossil fuels on a time-frame consistent with the 1.5-degree limit – and to accelerate a just, equitable and orderly energy transition for all,” Mr Guterres said.

COP28 is now on the verge of complete failure, said Al Gore, former US vice president and the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit organisation set up to solve the climate crisis.

“The world desperately needs to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as possible, but this obsequious draft reads as if OPEC dictated it word for word. It is even worse than many had feared. It is “Of the Petrostates, By the Petrostates and For the Petrostates,” he said in an X tweet.

“There are 24 hours left to show whose side the world is on: the side that wants to protect humanity’s future by kickstarting the orderly phase-out of fossil fuels or the side of the petrostates and the leaders of the oil and gas companies that are fueling the historic climate catastrophe.”  

The final text must include clear language on phasing out fossil fuels, Mr Gore said.

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