Nations Embrace First-ever Climate Deal on Fossil Fuels

Wed Dec 13 2023
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DUBAI: In a groundbreaking move, nations at the UN climate summit in Dubai embraced the first-ever UN climate deal, signalling a collective commitment to steer the world away from fossil fuels.

COP28 president Sultan al-Jaber commended the historic accord, stating, “Together, we have set the world in the right direction,” eliciting a standing ovation from participating delegates.

Al-Jaber celebrated the approved deal, which represents a comprehensive set of measures, describing it as a “historic package” that provides a “robust plan” to maintain the crucial 1.5-degree Celsius target. Speaking during the closing session of the COP28 summit, he emphasized the transformative potential of the agreement, noting, “We have delivered a paradigm shift that has the potential to redefine our economies.” However, he cautioned nations, stating, “An agreement is only as good as its implementation. We are what we do, not what we say.”

The latest draft of the agreement, released after extensive negotiations, includes strengthened language, urging nations to “transition away” from fossil fuels without explicitly using the term “phase out.” It also emphasizes “accelerating action” in the critical decade to address climate change, injecting a sense of urgency absent in earlier proposals.

Crucially, the agreement explicitly “calls on” all nations to contribute through specific actions. These actions encompass “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.”

The deal advocates for the phase-down of “unabated coal power” and emphasizes “phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions, as soon as possible.” Notably, the agreement stops short of explicitly calling for a “phase out” of fossil fuels.

Throughout the 14-day summit in Dubai, discussions centered on the extent of commitment and the historic decision to wind down oil, gas, and coal – major contributors to the planet’s escalating warming – within the context of a metropolis built on oil wealth.

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