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COP28 Presidency No Red Lines on Fossil Fuels

The COP28 UAE-led presidency doesn't have any "red lines" for language about fossil fuels in the negotiated text, COP28 Director General Majid al-Suwaidi said on Friday.

"Our job as a COP presidency is not to have red lines. We don't have red lines."

The question was in response to comments by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres about what he called the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels to avoid climate catastrophe and meet Paris goals. "We cannot save a burning planet with a firehose of fossil fuels," Guterres said earlier in the day. "The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate."

But the UAE—holding the presidency of COP28, remains steadfast in its position that all energy needs to be discussed, with many countries—the UAE included—viewing fossil fuels as having a role in the energy transition.

Already, Hila Heine, former Marshall Islands president, stepped down from her role on the COP28 advisory board, citing her disappointment with the UAE's support of continued fossil fuel use and accused the COP28 presidency of using its platform at COP28 to broker oil and gas deals—an accusation that the UAE has denied.

"We have been clear, open, and honest throughout this process," the UAE said in a statement.

Still on the table for discussion at COP28 is the matter of whether fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out, which have been estimated at about $7 trillion globally as of last year. The group is also planning to discuss provisions for carbon capture and removal technology.

The UAE secured a victory earlier this week with delegates adopting a new loss and damage fund to assist poor nations with climate disasters—it was a deal that is decades in the making.


By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Mike Hartman on December 01 2023 said:
    Do they realize how many life-enhancing things are made with oil? Sounds like a big NO. Oil is used to produce EVs from design to resource extraction to manufacture to ownership. Those jets these people fly on to COP28 use so many oil products to get there.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on December 01 2023 said:
    Comments by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the COP28 that “ We can’t save a burning planet with a firehose of fossil fuels” is neither accurate nor constructive.

    Pro-fossil fuel delegates could equally retort by saying that “ we can’t prevent a collapse of the global economy without fossil fuels”. Long before the planet burns, a collapse of the global economy would have led to famine, nuclear wars, destruction of civilization and end of humanity.

    The only pragmatic outcome of the COP28 should be to agree that both fossil fuels and renewables have essential roles to play and therefore they have to co-exist and work together to satisfy global energy needs. The higher renewables’ share in global electricity generation the less gas and coal will be needed.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert
  • George Doolittle on December 01 2023 said:
    Oil production way better for the environment than massive mineral extraction to create E-Waste pure BEV so I think the UN out to be focusing on that instead unless suddenly we really do see mercury used as a fuel to power rockets and satellites..

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