New push at COP28 in hope of speeding up negotiations on fossil fuels

Dubai, Dec. 10 (EFE) – Negotiations at the COP28, the United Nations climate summit, entered their final stretch with a sense that the chance to reach an agreement on the thorny issue of ending fossil fuels was slipping away, prompting its president, Sultan al-Jaber, to try a “new dynamic.”

Al-Jaber gathered the negotiators from the 198 parties present in Dubai in a circle for a majlis, an Arabic-style conference, to “change the ecosystem” of the meeting so that everyone can “relate to each other openly and transparently,” he explained at a press conference on Sunday.

“Everyone’s experience and national circumstances have merit and will be taken in consideration. We will not ignore anyone,” the conference president said.

“The time has come for all parties to constructively engage, I want everyone to show flexibility,” he stressed.

Monday and Tuesday, the last two days of COP28, will be devoted exclusively to negotiations, with no distractions or side events on the agenda.

The message reinforced an idea that has began to hover over the meeting, namely that the sense of progress and the important steps taken to achieve a clear and strong language in favor of fossil fuel divestment at COP28 have turned into uncertainty in the face of the apparent decision of key players such as China, India, Russia or Saudi Arabia not to support this path.

OPEC “not opposed”

A source familiar with the position of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries at COP28 told EFE that this institution, an important indirect actor in the climate negotiations, is not against the end of fossil fuels, but is against COP28 setting a date for their extinction, considering that this is “not realistic.”

The source, who is familiar with the position of the organization that brings together thirteen of the world’s largest oil-producing nations, spoke on the sidelines of the meeting in Dubai after a letter from the organization to its partners was made public, in which it urged them not to accept such phase-out language in the summit’s outcome document.

“It seems that the undue and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels may reach a tipping point with irreversible consequences, as the draft decision still contains options on fossil fuels phase out,” the organization’s letter said.

Insufficient pledges

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency warned Sunday that the voluntary pledges made so far at the climate summit on renewables, energy efficiency and methane are not enough.

After analyzing the impact on global emissions from the energy sector if all the pledges made in Dubai were fully implemented, the IEA concluded that they “would not be nearly enough to move the world onto a path to reaching international climate targets, in particular the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.”

Still, the pledges represent “positive steps forward in tackling the energy sector’s greenhouse gas emissions,” the organization added in a statement.

Champions for food

Sunday’s COP28 thematic axis on food, agriculture and water launched a “strategic coalition of ambitious countries” called the Alliance of Champions for Food Systems Transformation, with Brazil, Sierra Leone and Norway as co-chairs and Cambodia and Rwanda as additional founding members.

The alliance aims to reorient policies, practices and investment priorities to “deliver universal access to affordable, nutritious and sustainable diets, aiming to accelerate major progress this decade.” EFE


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