Representatives from almost 200 countries, gathered at the COP28 in Dubai, debated against the clock a final declaration of the annual conference on climate change what does he ask reduce but not eliminate the use of fossil fuels responsible for the global warmingamid persistent divisions a day before the closing of the expected event.
The draft declaration, proposed by the COP28 Presidency, stipulates the “reduction of consumption and production of fossil fuels” as an option to combat climate change, but several countries and environmental organizations consider the commitment insufficient or directly ineffective to avoid catastrophic consequences for life on Earth.
What the draft COP28 Presidency statement says
After 10 days of discussions, the text falls short of the demand for progressively “eliminate” the use of fossil fuelsthe use of these energies was triggered in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century and increased the atmospheric concentration of gases that prevent the planet from releasing the heat it receives from the sun.
The 21-page draft must still be submitted to a plenary session of the negotiators of the almost 200 participating countries, scheduled for Tuesday, and, like the decisions at these annual climate conferences of the UN are taken by consensusfear was rife in Dubai about differences so insurmountable that they would make the meeting fail.
What studies by the UN, NGOs and various organizations reveal
Studies scientists from the UN, NGOs and various organizations have warned that the world is heading towards failing to comply with central points of the 2015 Paris Agreementachieved at COP21, which sets the objective that the global temperature increases only between 1.5ºC and 2º C this century compared to the pre-industrial era, when the use of fossil energy began to skyrocket.
The nations that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement “recognize the need for deep, rapid and sustainable emissions reductions” of greenhouse gases and consequently call for “actions that could include” a whole battery of measures, says the text of the draft final declaration of COP28, reported the AFP news agency.
Among these measures, mention is made of “reduction of consumption and production” of fossil fuels. It is also proposed as an option “Phase out” “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, and this “as soon as possible.” The text renews the call in favor of renewable energies, includes nuclear energy as a “clean” option and also the controversial CO2 retention and capture technologies, still in development.
“We still have a long way to go”recognized the president of COP28, the Emirati Sultan Al Jaber, before ministers and other representatives of the attending nations.
The sayings of the representatives who are against reducing or abandoning the use of fossil energies
A spokesperson for the United States delegation, which is the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gasestold reporters in Dubai that the text had to be “substantially reinforced”.
“We appreciate the efforts of many to produce this text, which seeks to be a balance of a wide variety of interests,” explained the US State Department spokesperson.
Spanish Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera said the draft final declaration was “clearly insufficient”. The text is “a regression” criticized the main alliance of environmental organizations, the Climate Action Network.
The claim of small island states
“Our voices were not heard” explained the small island States, the most threatened by rising waters.
“We are in a race against time” to find a consensus, had highlighted the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, present in Dubai to encourage the diplomats, after more than ten days of long meetings. Guterres had advocated for specific mention of the elimination of fossil fuels.
But this “does not mean that all countries should abandon fossil fuels at the same time,” recognized the head of the UN before journalists.
Why COP28 was held in Dubai
The Dubai COP28 It is the first to take stock of climate action since the Paris Agreement of 2015. The intention in Dubai was set new goals more ambitious, accelerate the energy transition and adaptation measures.
The text asks that countries present new plans to reduce gas emissions between now and the end of 2024.
The Emirati Al Jaber is the head of the national oil company of the United Arab Emirates, which aroused suspicion months ago.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq, two major oil powers, publicly showed their opposition to the word “elimination” in the last major plenary meeting on Sunday. Climatologists insist that greenhouse gas emissions are not decreasingand therefore, drastic measures must be taken, as soon as possible.
The goal shared by the almost 200 nations present in Dubai is to achieve carbon neutrality, meaning that emissions and capture add up to zero, between now and 2050.
COP28 did in any case ratify Azerbaijan as the host of the next COP, and Brazil the following year.
The Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, asked in her turn of thanks for the “reduction of dependence on fossil fuels.”
Also, the delegations of Colombia, France and Kenya to COP28 announced the creation of a commission of experts to analyze the necessary reforms that allow the reduction of the debt of developing countries in exchange for measures against climate change and protection of nature.
The commission “will examine the necessary reforms, at the national and international levels, to ensure the sustainability of the debt of developing countries as they seek to increase investment” in climate, the three nations explained in a joint statement.
This commission is part of the set of proposals during the summit for a New Global Financial Pact, which was held in Paris in June 2023. This commission “It is a forceful step, a tangible example of what climate action is”declared the Colombian Minister of the Environment, Susana Muhamad, quoted in the statement.