Minister Ribera calls OPEC’s position at COP28 “nauseating”


The position of the oil cartel is to demand its members to defend fossil fuels

The spy minister
The Spanish Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera.MARTIN DIVISEK | EFE

The Spanish Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, described this Saturday as “nauseating” the position of the oil cartel OPEC in demanding its members defend fossil fuels at the UN climate conference (COP28).

“In my opinion, I think it is quite nauseating what the OPEC countries are doing, pushing to delay things”the minister, who represents the Spanish presidency of the European Union (EU) in the climate negotiations, told journalists.

“We are not talking about eliminating fossil fuels tomorrow, but unless we create the conditions to reduce them, so that we go to their elimination, it will not happen,” the minister insisted.

Ribera made these statements shortly before entering a plenary session of COP28, together with the European Commissioner for Climate Action, Wopke Hoekstra, who co-leads the European negotiating position in Dubi.

The secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) urged in a letter sent to the members of this cartel to reject any agreement at COP28 that goes against fossil fuels.

“The draft decision still contains options to phase out fossil fuels,” Al Ghais said in his letter, which drew criticism from non-governmental organizations in Dubai.

The controversy revolves around how to define the future of oil, gas and coalwhich are the energies considered responsible for the vast majority of greenhouse gases.

The draft being discussed at COP28 has several options, which basically go of “abandon” (“phase out”) those fossil fuels to “reduce” (“phase down”) its use.

“Each one (of those options) in isolation is not enough. “We have to combine them.”Ribera explained.

“I think we have to reduce to abandon” those polluting energy sources, Ribera added.

For his part, Hoekstra clarified that, although this abandonment will be “outright”, it will be accompanied by “a series of specifications.”

These conditions are to triple the generation of alternative energy and double energy efficiency, according to the draft under discussion.

COP28 is the climate conference that has to set the course to take after the assessment of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Criticism against OPEC

“Nothing endangers the prosperity and future of the inhabitants of the Earth more, including the future of the citizens of OPEC countriesthan fossil fuels,” denounced Tina Stege, climate emissary for the Marshall Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific threatened by rising water levels.

“Not everyone is participating constructively and that worries me,” said Germany’s special climate envoy, Jennifer Morgan.

The Colombian Minister of the Environment, Susana Muhamad, endorsed the criticism in a speech on Friday that provoked applause.

Colombia is willing to cut its dependence on oil, the minister recalled. But “In this room there are countries that plan to double their production of fossil fuels”he cried.

“This way we will not be able to make the transition,” warned Muhammad, who spoke next about Saudi Arabia.

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