Cop: Anxiety surrounds fossil fuel discussions

  • : Crude oil, Natural gas
  • 23/12/06

A certain anxiety is enveloping discussions at the Cop 28 UN climate conference about the phase-out of all fossil fuels, with parties aiming to finalise a text today ahead of ministerial negotiations starting next week.

The text is described as "building blocks" for an official draft document for the first global stocktake — a measurement of progress towards Paris Agreement goals. Oil and gas producing countries have shown concern about the options presented on fossil fuels, said non-profit Centre for Science and Environment's climate programme manager Avantika Goswami. She said Saudi Arabia, in co-ordination with others, talked about "trauma" when referencing this section.

The mitigation section has three options for fossil fuel language. The first is for "an orderly and just phase out of fossil fuels", which is supported by Pacific island nations and other countries under the high-level coalition umbrella. These include some EU countries, Barbados, Kenya, Chile and Colombia.

The second is "accelerating efforts towards phasing out unabated fossil fuels and to rapidly reducing their use to achieve net-zero CO2 in energy systems by or around mid-century", which is broadly aligned with the EU position. The third is to have no language on fossil fuels in the outcome of the global stocktake.

Asked what could be done to bridge the divide in positions on fossil fuels, Spain's climate minister Teresa Ribera told Argus her country was only focusing on getting language on phasing out fossil fuels at this point.

Observers are stressing that a lack of ambitious language on fossil fuel will not only be a failure for Cop 28, but also for the rest of the process as it risks undermining trust in the Paris Agreement, since it is a "report card" on the accord.

"If you can't agree on this, what are you going to do moving forward," an observer listening to the global stocktake discussions told Argus.

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