Final stretch of negotiations
The UN Secretary General returns to Dubi for the final stretch of the COP28 negotiations that officially end on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia and a group of allies continue to reject the word “elimination” of fossil fuels and want the treaty to speak of ‘reduction’
UN Secretary General Antnio Guterres has urged delegates from more than 190 countries at COP28 to close ranks to “end the era of fossil fuels.”
“This conference has to be the turning point,” Guterres stressed upon his return to Dubai in the final stretch of the negotiations. “I am back to renew my urgent call to leaders to stay within the 1.5 degree limit and ensure climate justice.”
Guterres’ call came a few hours after the warning issued by the president of COP28 himself, Sultan Ahmed Al Yaber: “Failure is not an option (…) I ask the parties for maximum ambition. “The time has come to shift gears and reach a deal on greenhouse gas emissions.”
The main point of contention in the final text, which should be approved by consensus, is the explicit mention of elimination(phase out in English) in front of the reduction (phase down) of fossil fuels as an objective shared by the international community.
Saudi Arabia and a group of allies continue to express opposition to the use of the word “elimination”. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to which the host United Arab Emirates also belongs, has pressured its members to confront this option.
China has softened its opposition in recent days and his special climate change envoy, Xie Zhenzhua, is expected to reach some kind of compromise with his American counterpart John Kerry. An agreement in principle between the two largest emitters could pave the way for a positive turn in the last leg of the negotiations.
The European Union has already offered its own proposal in favor of the “elimination” of fossil fuels “without mitigation”, another point of dispute that would leave out of the agreement gas and oil whose emissions can be “captured” and stored (despite doubts about the capacity of large-scale CO2 sequestration technologies).
COP28 officially ends on December 12, but negotiations usually extend into marathon sessions during the early morning and normally last for at least a day.