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As leaders and negotiators are racing to adopt a final declaration from the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, the fossil fuel debate is at the center again, with the latest draft circulated on Monday containing language about “reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels,” but stopping short of any phase-out.
The draft, which has not been approved yet, was put forward by the COP28 President, Sultan Al Jaber, who is also the chief executive of national oil company ADNOC.
Al Jaber and the UAE presidency of the climate summit have been pushing in the final days of the COP28 conference, which ends on Tuesday, for a deal to include in the final statement – for the first time – a commitment to cut the use of fossil fuels.
The latest draft includes previously agreed items such as tripling renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.
This draft also says that the Conference of the Parties “calls upon Parties to take actions that could include”, among other things, “Reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net zero by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science.”
The draft also includes the texts, “Rapidly phasing down unabated coal and limitations on permitting new and unabated coal power generation” and “Phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and do not address energy poverty or just transitions, as soon as possible.”
The other actions outlined include “accelerating zero and low emissions technologies, including, inter alia, renewables, nuclear, abatement and removal technologies, including such as carbon capture and utilization and storage, and low carbon hydrogen production, so as to enhance efforts towards substitution of unabated fossil fuels in energy systems.”
Unlike in the previous draft from late last week, there is no language about a “phase out” of fossil fuels.
However, it’s not certain that the latest draft from Monday would be agreed as-is. Some oil-exporting countries, including Saudi Arabia, have said they would “Absolutely not” be happy to have the language “fossil fuels should be phased down.”
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com