COP trying to do something that has never been done before, something historic: Majid Al Suwaid


Dubai: Director General of COP28 Majid Al Suwaid, the presidency all want to get the most ambitious outcome possible and it will do whatever is needed to get that today.

Making his remarks on the last day of the Climate Summit in Dubai, Majid Al Suwaid said, “The COP28 Presidency will continue to unite Parties to deliver the most ambitious outcome possible”

His comments came on Tuesday after the 21-page text, prepared by the COP28 presidency, makes no mention of fossil fuel ‘phasedown’ or ‘phaseout’.

Global powers at COP28 are “deeply split” and “many issues remain” before a consensus is reached on the final text at the UN climate conference, al-Suwaidi said.

Al-Suwaidi said “new drafts” are in process, but any deal is likely to still take some time.

“At this COP we are trying to do something that has never been done before, something historic … Part of this is to include fossil fuels in the text. If we can, that would be historic,” he said.

“What we have seen since is that the parties have deeply split news, especially on the language around fossil fuels.” Critics said the content of the initial draft surrounding the phase-out of fossil fuels was watered down.

He said, “We are trying to agree a comprehensive plan to close the gaps between where the world is and where the world needs to be to keep 1.5°C within reach”.

Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International said he was expecting the new text to be “much stronger, but the language on the phaseout of fossil fuels is now completely gone … As civil society, we reject the text.”

“There will be negotiation on this text,” continued Mr. Singh. “Let’s see how countries respond.”

Mr. Singh said that over the two weeks the conference had been meeting in the UAE, there had “clearly been pressure from the outside … coming from the fossil fuel industry. We have seen OPEC issuing a letter; how [oil-producing countries] are completely against any language on fossil fuel phaseout; how rich countries are only grandstanding

Draft includes:

Tripling global capacity of renewable energy by 2030 [the US and China pledged to work together towards this goal in a deal struck between the world’s two biggest emitters in the run-up to COP28.

The rapid phasedown of “unabated coal” and curtailing the number of new licenses; Zero and low emissions technologies, including removal technologies such as carbon capture, and utilization and storage.

Climate finance, but with a ‘weak language’; and Targets on adaptation with insufficient financial commitments, or ‘without a work programme’ to measure it.

Draft exclude:

The phaseout of fossil fuels; The words “oil” and “natural gas” do not appear; Strong obligations for rich countries; and Equity in adaptation, are needed for equitable support from rich countries.

The draft was also criticized as too weak by participants such as Australia, Canada, Chile, Norway, the European Union and the United States, among the 100-strong group demanding a firm commitment to wean the world off coal, oil and gas.

Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are the main cause of climate change. Despite the rapid growth of renewable energy, they still produce about 80% of the world’s energy.


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