Climate activists say the 2023 UN Climate Conference is on “the verge of complete failure” after oil-producing nations secured the removal of language calling for a phase-out of fossil fuels from the summit’s draft agreement.
COP28, held in Dubai and headed by Sultan al-Jaber — the CEO of the United Arab Emirates state-run energy company ADNOC — has already been criticized for overemphasizing the desires of fossil fuel economies and energy corporations rather than the need to address climate change. On Monday, the criticism reached a fever pitch after COP28’s leadership published a draft of the conference’s final resolution, which axed key language calling for a devolution, and ultimate phase out, of fossil fuels. The document now reads that nations “could” embrace options to reduce their consumption and production of non-renewable resources.
The removal of language calling for a full phase-out directly contradicts the demands made by the European Union and a coalition of developing nations advocating for more aggressive measures to curb potentially catastrophic climate change.
The international outrage has been full-throated. According to the BBC, sources indicate that the EU has now threatened to walk away from the agreement. France’s minister of energy transition, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, also expressed her displeasure with the draft. “This text is insufficient. There are elements that are not acceptable as they are. It’s a disappointment,” she said. A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said that the agreement’s language needed to be “substantially strengthened,” and the Alliance of Small Island States stated unequivocally that they would “not sign [their own] death certificate.”
Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President turned climate activist, wrote on X that “COP28 is now on the verge of complete failure. The world desperately needs to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as possible, but this obsequious draft reads as if OPEC dictated it word for word.” [Continue reading…]