COP28 draft agreement drops phaseout of fossil fuels

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A draft agreement from the UN’s COP28 climate summit has dropped references to the phase out of fossil fuels after opposition from oil and gas-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia.

The document — which will have to be agreed by almost  200 countries — sets out a range of actions that countries “could” take to cut emissions to net zero by 2050.

This includes reducing “consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net zero [carbon emissions] by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science.”

But a large number of countries are hoping for the text to go further by striking a landmark agreement to phase out fossil fuels, rather than just reducing their consumption and production.

The draft text, published by the UN climate body, is likely to face fierce opposition from such states.

If agreed, the text would nevertheless mark the first plan set out by a COP summit — the world’s most important climate forum — to shift away from fossil fuels.

The draft also pledges to “accelerate efforts globally towards net zero emissions energy systems, utilising zero and low carbon fuels well before or by around mid-century”. 

Over the past 24 hours, the talks have become embroiled in a dispute over the financing for the transition to a greener economy, as well as the controversy over the future of fossil fuels.

The Alliance of Small Island States, a group of countries vulnerable to climate change, said the “weak language on fossil fuels was completely insufficient”.


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