Home Business COP28 Draft Negotiation Text Frustrates Hope Of Phasing Out Of Fossil Fuel | Arabian Weekly

COP28 Draft Negotiation Text Frustrates Hope Of Phasing Out Of Fossil Fuel | Arabian Weekly

COP28 Draft Negotiation Text Frustrates Hope Of Phasing Out Of Fossil Fuel | Arabian Weekly


By Dr. Gyan Pathak

COP28 draft negotiation text released on reduction of fossil fuel has generated great criticism and fury, since it stops short of phasing out fossil fuels, and therefore no agreement was reached within the deadline. Negotiators are now awaiting new text, talks continue beyond the deadline, but there is no sign that an agreement acceptable for all parties could be reached.

Even though the UN Climate Chief Simon Stiell has expressed hope for an outcome document with a chance to begin a new chapter that delivers for people and the planet. It should be noted that COP28 that began with a historical agreement on November 30 with first major milestone on the day-one, relapsed midway into politics by negotiating partners who resorted to merely “scoring points” and played “lowest-denominator politics” and finally brought a draft text for negotiations that frustrated hopes of achieving the target set by Paris Agreement of 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius to pre-industrial levels by 2050.

After the draft text of the deal was released on Monday, the parties in the conference became furious since the text was considered by them as “too weak” because it omitted the term “phase-out” of fossil fuels. The draft of the final deal suggested eight options countries “could” take to cut emissions, which included “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”.

The draft text was strongly criticized by Australia, Canada, Chile, the EU, Norway and the US, among the 100-strong group demanding a firm commitment of exit from usage of coal, oil and gas. OPEC countries and the coal producing countries are opposing the demand on the ground that they need it for developing requirements of their countries and people.

Though it was for the first time in the history of the UN climate summit mentioned reduction of all “fossil fuels” it did not mention “phase-out” of coal, oil and gas, even as the world is heading towards a catastrophic climate crisis. How serious is the situation can be understood in the light of the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) two reports released during this summit, the first of which warned that the world is heating up at a pace that could signal “planetary collapse” if drastic and immediate action isn’t taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions, while its second report confirmed that 2011-2030 would be the warmest decade ever recorded with greenhouse gas emissions “turbo charging” climate change and imperilling out Polar ice caps and mountainous regions.

People were hoping that COP28 would take the historic step of phasing out of fossil fuels, which account for the three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions which is responsible for the catastrophic climate crisis, and the present rate of action in this regard cannot even achieve half the emission reduction target set in COP21 and in Paris Agreement 2015. However, the 21-page draft negotiation text released by COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber has just omitted the term “phase-out”. Since he himself is head of the UAE’s national oil company, the campaigners for the concrete action to save the humanity, ecology, and the climate of the earth, believe that he himself was not serious in phasing out of fossil fuel, and hence only presented measures that nations “could” take.

However, the UN Climate chief has expressed hope that negotiators have a chance, right here in Dubai over the next 24 hours, to start a new chapter – one that really delivers for people and the planet. “We do not have a minute to lose”. He underscored the importance of finance as “the bedrock to scale-up climate action on all fronts” perhaps referring to the operationalisation of the Climate Fund right in the beginning of COP28, which was proposed in the COP27.

UN Climate Chief Simon Stiell said that negotiations have now boiled down to two issues – 1. How high is out ambition on mitigation; and 2. Are we willing to back this transition with the proper means of support to deliver it? He stressed that the highest levels of ambition are possible on both, “but if we reduce on one, we reduce our ability to get either.” “To reach a meaningful deal, the many “unnecessary tactical blockades” seen along the COP28 journey must be removed, and “incrementalism” must be rejected.”

EU climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra said the draft deal was “disappointing” and the bloc would negotiate into overtime for a stronger text. “We will talk as long as necessary,” Hoekstra has said.

UN Secretary-Ganeral António Guterres has urged a concrete deal at COP28 on phase-out of fossil fuels. “We must conclude the conference with an ambitious outcome that demonstrates decisive action and a credible plan to keep 1.5-degree goal alive, protecting those on the frontlines of the climate crisis,” he has said while warning that humanity’s race is against time, and the clock keeps ticking. At yet, with COP28 so close to the finish line, there is still a “gap that needs to be bridged.” Ministers and negotiators must move beyond arbitrary red lines, entrenched positions and blocking tactics,” he said cautioning that any “compromise for solutions”, must not come at the cost of “compromising on the science or on the need for the highest ambition.”

Mr. Guterres has welcomed the “emerging consensus for a new framework on adaptation” but cautioned that a “framework without the means of implementation is like a car without wheels.” “The doubling of adaptation finance to $40 billion dollars by 2025 must be an initial step towards allocating at least half of all climate finance towards adaptation,” he noted. (IPA Service)

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