COP28: Climate conference cancels phase-out of fossil fuels

COP28: Climate conference cancels phase-out of fossil fuels

The international climate conference COP28 in Dubai is ending soon: According to the current draft resolution, the states agree to only reduce the use of fossil fuels. The reactions to this are violent.

A new draft for the final text of the World Climate Conference in Dubai no longer provides for an exit from coal, oil and gas. The 21-page paper, published on Monday, only talks about reducing the consumption and production of fossil fuels. In a previous version, exit was mentioned as one of several options. Environmental organizations reacted with disappointment – as did states that are particularly threatened by the climate crisis.

The text presented by the Emirati COP presidency was “a disappointment” and “unacceptable,” said Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) on Monday evening (local time). Baerbock is leading the negotiations for the EU in the important area of ​​emissions reduction. The chief negotiator for the Marshall Islands, threatened by rising sea levels, John Silk, said they had not come to Dubai “to sign our death warrant.” One will not “quietly descend into our watery graves”.

EU Climate Commissioner and chief negotiator Wopke Hoekstra also expressed disappointment. The draft submitted by the presidency of the United Arab Emirates is “clearly inadequate” and unacceptable.

“Really stunned”

The executive director of Greenpeace Germany, Martin Kaiser, said he was “really stunned” that the draft served the wishes and interests of the oil and gas industry, but not of the people who were already suffering the most from the floods and droughts. The draft is very non-binding, especially when it comes to phasing out fossil fuels, which over 100 countries have called for. “If it is passed like this, it can cause this conference to fail,” warned Kaiser. Now it is up to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and her EU colleagues, together with the island states and the most wounded states, to ensure “that this non-binding nature is removed from the document” and that there is a binding exit from coal, oil and gas give.

The two-week negotiations are scheduled to end on Tuesday morning, but have recently stalled. As always in previous years, the conference could go into extension.

COP28 President is the head of an oil company

Conference president Sultan al-Jaber, also head of the state oil company, indicated that he expected improvements to the text. “We still have a lot of gaps to fill,” he said. “We need to deliver a result that respects the science and keeps the 1.5 degree target within reach.” He expects the delegates to have the highest ambition on all points – “including with regard to the language on fossil fuels.”

Previously, at lunchtime, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the almost 200 countries to pull themselves together and stipulate the phase-out of coal, oil and gas in the final text. “Now is the time for maximum ambition and maximum flexibility,” he said during an appearance before the world press.

Oxfam expert Jan Kowalzig said that in the draft text the other desired goals – a tripling of renewable energies and a doubling of energy efficiency – are not reflected as a goal, but only as a possible measure. “COP28 must not end like this,” he warned. The goal agreed in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees will probably be “thrown out the window” with this draft. Kowalzig also demanded that the European Union should under no circumstances agree to the declaration and that it must demand significant improvements.

Phase out coal, oil and gas

The most controversial point since the conference began at the beginning of the month has been whether the international community can unanimously agree on phasing out the climate-damaging energy sources coal, oil and gas. A number of countries resisted, including oil-rich Saudi Arabia, but also China, Iraq and Russia.

Viviane Raddatz, head of climate at WWF Germany, said the draft text was very disappointing and raised concerns that this COP could lead to a gigantic failure.

Foreign Minister Baerbock had previously written on Instagram that the majority of all countries wanted to get out of fossil fuels. However, some countries are worried because they lack support in implementation. “We know that it is our responsibility as industrialized countries to enable them to exit too. And we will do that.” She was combative: “What we won’t do is give in to those who have all the resources – especially financial ones.”

UN climate chief Simon Stiell also insisted on ambition in the fight against global warming. “Every step away from the highest ambitions costs countless millions of lives – not in the next political or economic cycle that future heads of state and government will have to contend with, but now, in every country.” He continued: “The world is watching, as are the 4,000 media representatives and thousands of observers here in Dubai. There is nowhere to hide.”

Climate activists denounce Israel

A network of environmental organizations awarded the negative “Fossil of the Day” prize to Israel at COP28 – with drastic formulations about the ongoing military operation in the Gaza war. “Israel’s actions aim to eliminate the Palestinian people through the unfolding genocide and ethnic cleansing,” said the Climate Action Network (CAN). According to its own information, it includes more than 1,900 civil society organizations in more than 130 countries and at the international level – including Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF and Germanwatch. The German organizations distanced themselves.

Source: Stern

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