‘Fossil fuel era comes to a close’ as COP28 reaches historic deal

Countries have agreed to transition away from using fossil fuels in a landmark moment at a UN climate change conference.

Ministers representing nearly 200 nations made the commitment following days of heated and widespread wrangling at COP28 in Dubai.

It is the first time there has been explicit mention in a COP agreement of reducing use of coal, oil and gas – the main driver of climate change

But campaigners have hit out at the finance currently being provided by richer countries for poorer nations to adapt to climate change.

Joab Okanda, Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Advisor, said: “It is clear that the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close. We may not have driven the nail into the coffin here at COP28 but the end is coming for dirty energy.

“But there is a gaping hole on finance to actually fund the transition from dirty to clean energy in developing countries.

Without that, we risk the global shift being much slower.

“We now need to see rich countries following up their warm words about wanting a fossil fuel phase out with actions to actually bring it about and end their use of coal, oil and gas by the end of this decade.

“Rich fossil fuel using countries like the UK will need to decarbonise first, with middle income countries going next and then the poorest countries after that.

“There’s also a huge gap in terms of finance to help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.”

UK Climate Minister Graham Stuart claimed the UK was “central” to Cop28 despite his absence on the final evening during tense negotiations when the conference overran.

Mr Stuart had flown the 6,800-mile round trip to help push through the Government’s Safety of Rwanda Bill in the House of Commons, which many Tory MPs had threatened to derail.

He said: “The UK has, as ever in this space, been absolutely central to the outcomes and the most notable outcome of all, which is this global stocktake text.”

The deal struck in Dubai stops short of calling for a complete phase-out of fossil fuels – which some countries wanted.

Methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, is also not mentioned

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng MP, member of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN), said: “While the UK was a first-mover in setting a net zero target, ramping up renewables capacity, and weaning ourselves off coal, we are no longer alone.

“Where we have led, others have now followed, recognising the economic prize for the nations that own a greener future.

“With the global race to cut emissions well underway, it’s time for us to recommit ourselves to serious climate action in a way that boosts the economy, creates jobs, and cuts inflation.”

CEN MP Greg Clark added: “By following the Prime Minister’s approach of using carrots rather than sticks, we should press ahead with policies that incentivise take up of clean technologies and demonstrate to the world that we remain ambitious and crucially, can also take people with us.”

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