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COP28. Controversies surrounding the final text of the climate conference agreement

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The issue of fossil fuels is heating up the climate conference. Subsequent drafts of the agreement do not meet the ambitions, expectations and capabilities of many participants. The most recent one removed the commitment to “phasing out fossil fuels in accordance with the best available scientific knowledge.” Weak as hell – Reuters quoted one of the European diplomats as commenting on the draft agreement presented to the COP28 climate conference held in Dubai. However, according to the chairman of the summit, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the agreement “is a huge 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 leaves out 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 both the consumption and production of fossil fuels in a fair, orderly and equitable way to achieve net zero by 2050, before or thereabouts.”

Agreement – details

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Other actions mentioned would include tripling renewable energy generation capacity by 2030 and increasing technology development, including the process of capturing CO2 emissions to stop gases from entering the atmosphere. “The COP28 Presidency has been clear about our ambitions from the beginning. This text reflects these ambitions and is a huge step forward,” al-Jaber said in a statement. “Now everything is in the hands of the parties we trust to do what is best for humanity and “planets”.

President of COP28 and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber PAP/EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK

The COP28 president also called on countries to make more progress towards an agreement on the issue climate change in areas where differences still exist, including the use of fossil fuels.

“Weak as hell”, “This text is insufficient”

As Reuters writes, one of the European diplomats said that the draft agreement is “weak as hell” and reads like “a menu from which you can choose any dish you want.” The Department of State expressed great dissatisfaction with the project USAwho stated that the text needs to be improved on a number of issues, including fossil fuels.

Activists protest during the COP28 conference in Dubai, United Arab EmiratesPAP/EPA/ALI HAIDER

“We appreciate the efforts of many people in developing a text that tries 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 finance contains inaccuracies that should be corrected,” the US ministry said in a statement. . Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Annalena Baerbock concluded that the draft agreement was clearly insufficient and disappointing. In a speech at the German Climate Pavilion in Dubai, she said the text did not address the issue of replacing fossil fuels at all, which meant Germany could not support it. She found the draft agreement disappointing European Union. EU chief negotiator Wopke Hoekstra told reporters: “It’s a long one, we’re still analyzing all the elements.” It has a few things going for it, but overall it is clearly insufficient and inappropriate for the scale of the problem we were here to address. – The vast majority of countries want more in terms of moving away from fossil fuels (…) and getting rid of coal – he added. As Agnes Pannier-Runacher, the French energy minister for transformation, said, “this text is insufficient.” – There are elements that are unacceptable in its current form – she said.

The 28th UN Climate Change Conference ends in Dubai, the largest city of the United Arab EmiratesPAP/EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK

Pressure from Saudi Arabia

As Reuters writes, sources familiar with the discussions say that United Arab Emirates, when preparing the draft agreement, came under pressure from Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the OPEC group of oil producers, to omit any mention of fossil fuels from the text. On the penultimate day of the meeting, it was decided that the next COP29 conference will be held in Azerbaijan.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ALI HAIDER

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