Negotiations continue to finalise COP28 deal

GIUSEPPE CACACE/ AFP

UN climate negotiations dragged on into the early hours of Tuesday after a draft of a potential climate deal at the COP28 summit on Monday suggested a range of measures countries could take to slash greenhouse gas emissions, but omitted the "phase out" of fossil fuels.

The draft has set the stage for last-minute negotiations in the two-week summit in Dubai, with COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber - who has previously used the conference to call for a paradigm shift - urging the nearly 200 countries at the talks to redouble their efforts to finalise a deal ahead of the scheduled close of the conference on Tuesday, saying they "still have a lot to do".

"You know what remains to be agreed. And you know that I want you to deliver the highest ambition on all items including on fossil fuel language," he said.

The new draft of a COP28 agreement proposed various options but did not refer to a "phase out" of fossil fuels. Instead, it listed eight options that countries could use to cut emissions, including, "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".

Other actions listed included tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030, "rapidly phasing down unabated coal" and scaling up technologies including those to capture CO2 emissions to keep them from the atmosphere.

Despite the fact emissions from burning fossil fuels are by far the main driver of climate change, 30 years' worth of international climate negotiations have never resulted in a global agreement to cut their use.

A new draft document is expected early on Tuesday, which would leave little time for further disagreement ahead of the conference's scheduled close at 0700 GMT, but COP summits rarely finish on schedule.

Deals at UN climate summits must be passed by consensus among the nearly 200 countries present.

Developing nations have said any COP28 deal to overhaul the world's energy system must be matched with sufficient financial support to help them do this.

"We need support as developing countries and economies for a just transition," said Colombia's Environment Minister Susana Muhamad. Colombia supports phasing out fossil fuels.

Despite the rapid growth of renewable energy, fossil fuels still produce around 80 per cent of the world's energy.

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