Environment

COP28 proposes lowering fossil fuel production without committing to phase-out

Dubai, Dec 11 (EFE).- The COP28 climate conference is heading towards a deal under which the parties will agree to “lower the production and consumption” of fossil fuels to achieve the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

That target is stated in the latest draft of the Global Stocktake sent by the presidency of the Dubai Climate Summit (COP28) to the conference’s participants on Monday.

The text made no mention of ending or phasing out fossil fuels, in a blow to climate activists.

Under the draft deal, the parties will agree to work towards “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 in keeping with the science.”

The language used in the text, as well as the 2050 target to achieve net zero emissions, is less ambitious than the complete “phase out” of fossil fuels by 2035 that has been called for by scientists and more than 100 countries.

The draft text did address energy produced from coal, the use of which should be rapidly reduced, while permits for new coal-based power plants should be limited.

In a statement, the COP28 presidency highlighted its “ambitions” and praised the draft agreement, which it called a “huge step forward.”

“Now it is in the hands of the parties, who we trust to do what is best for humanity and the planet,” the COP28 presidency added.

Several climate activists, however, slammed the draft deal, with ActionAid’s Teresa Anderson calling it “staggeringly empty of new commitments” and a “giant step backwards.”

Harjeet Singh of the Climate Action Network International also lamented the Global Stocktake’s “significant regression from previous versions,” specifically the removal of “explicit language phasing out fossil fuels,” which he said was a “clear indication of the fossil fuel industry’s lobbying power, influencing global policies to favor prolonged fossil fuel use.”

Several small island states—those most at risk of rising global temperatures and sea levels—have also heavily criticized the draft deal, calling its fossil fuel commitments “completely insufficient.”

Samoa Environment Minister Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster told reporters that his country “cannot sign on to a text that does not have a strong commitment to phasing out fossil fuels.”

Speaking on behalf of the 39 members of the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) that he said “are on the frontlines of this climate crisis,” he warned large carbon emitters that “if you continue prioritizing profit over people, you are putting your own future on the line.”

“We call on all our allies to support our call and stand with us to keep 1.5C” above pre-industrial levels as the target to limit global temperatures, as agreed in Paris in 2015.

The draft will be sent to the conference’s participants for review. EFE

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