Published 2 months ago.
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Image: Samer Daboul
Climate groups and world leaders decry draft agreement as falling fatally short of the clarity and ambition the climate and economy demand — including a phase-out of fossil fuels.
Update, 12/13: Read details about the final climate agreement reached in Dubai — which includes little to address the concerns raised by the draft agreement.
As the deadline to publish a final COP28 agreement
passes and the summit enters overtime, hundreds of world leaders and global
organizations are pleading with negotiators in Dubai to drastically improve
the agreement to meet the urgency of the moment. One of these,
Ceres, said that the draft
published yesterday falls fatally short of what the global climate and economy
demand: a phase-out of unabated fossil fuels.
Ceres CEO and President Mindy Lubber
said “the draft agreement published yesterday does not reflect the level of
urgency and ambition demanded by the global climate crisis. Instead of requiring
a phase-out of fossil fuels, it provides countries with a much weaker option to
cut emissions and reduce both the consumption and production of fossil fuels. It
fails to call for the phase-out of fossil fuels, which hundreds of private
have called for in the final agreement. The agreement also lacks specificity
regarding interim targets, disclosure and transparency for reducing emissions
from fossil fuels. This lack of specific direction leaves open the potential for
countries and industries to not act aggressively on combatting the climate
The draft text avoids the highly contentious calls for a “phase-out” or
“phase-down” of fossil fuels, which have been the focus of deep disagreement
among the more than 190 countries meeting in Dubai. Instead, it frames such
reductions as optional — by calling on countries to “take actions that could
include” reducing fossil fuels.
“That one word ‘could’ just kills everything,”
Ireland’s environment minister, Eamon Ryan — adding that the EU could
walk out of the talks if the text did not improve. “We can’t accept this text —
it’s not anywhere near ambitious enough. It’s not broad enough. It’s not what
parties have been calling for … we have to stitch climate justice into every
part of this text, and we are not anywhere near that yet.”
As Al Gore said in a
tweet: “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. It is even worse than many had feared. It is ‘Of the
Petrostates, By the Petrostates and For the Petrostates.’ It is deeply offensive
to all who have taken this process seriously.
“In order to prevent COP28 from being the most embarrassing and dismal failure
in 28 years of international climate negotiations, the final text must include
clear language on phasing out fossil fuels. Anything else is a massive step
backwards from where the world needs to be to truly address the climate crisis
and make sure the 1.5°C goal doesn’t die in Dubai.”
According to Al Jazeera,
COP28 director general for the United Arab Emirates, Majid Al Suwaidi, said
at a news conference on Tuesday that the aim of the draft text was to “spark
conversations:” “When we released it, we knew opinions were polarized; but what
we didn’t know was where each country’s red lines were.”
It seems those red lines have since been made clear.
Climate groups — as well as the leaders of an umbrella group of
including Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, the UK and the
US; and the Alliance of Small Island States —
widely critiqued the text as being “grossly
and said it reflected the world’s reluctance to emphatically close the door on
new coal, oil and gas production. John Silk, Head of the Republic of
Marshall Islands delegation, said his country won't accept an outcome all but
ensures its devastation.
“The Republic of the Marshall Islands did not come here to sign our death
warrant. We came here to fight for 1.5 and for the only way to achieve that: a
fossil fuel phase-out. What we have seen today is unacceptable. We will not go
silently to our watery graves. We will not accept an outcome that will lead to
devastation for our country, and for millions if not billions of the most
vulnerable people and communities.”
It’s the latest in a string of ever-more-tepid agreements to come out of recent
COP events: COP27’s
largely echoed what was officially stated at
aside from a dialing-back of the proposed “phase-out of fossil fuels” to the
much weaker “phase-down” in the final hours of negotiation.
as of early morning Wednesday, Dubai time, new deal text is due later in the
Published Dec 12, 2023 5pm EST / 2pm PST / 10pm GMT / 11pm CET