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COP 28: Delegates agree to ‘transition away’ from planet-warming fossil fuels

COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber (R) celebrates passing the global stocktake with United Nations Climate Chief Simon Stiell (L) and COP28 CEO Adnan Amin, on Dec. 13, 2023.   -  
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Kamran Jebreili/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

United Arab Emirates

Nearly 200 nations meeting in Dubai on Wednesday (Dec. 13) adopted a deal calling on all countries to transition away from the use of fossil fuels and accelerate action in this decade.

The deal marks the first mention of all fossil fuels in the history of COPs.

''In this process, I invite the CMA to adopt the draft decision entitled 'outcome of the first Global Stocktake' contained in document FCCC/PA/CMA/2023/L.17. Hearing no objection, it is so decided,' COP 28 president Sultan al-Jaber said.

Delegates were given a few hours to look at what COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber and his team produced.

The United Nations-led summit was supposed to end Tuesday afternoon after nearly two weeks. Negotiators were still meeting late Tuesday to work on draft agreement presented Monday (Dec. 11).

Young climate activists were disappointed in the new compromise text as it stopped short of seeking fossil fuel phase-out.

The agreement tackles only fossil use in energy, not in industrial areas such as production of plastics and fertiliser.

While not using the term "phase-out" on fossil fuels, it endorses work towards a phase-down of "unabated coal power" -- meaning that coal with carbon capture technology to reduce emissions, panned by many environmentalists as unproven, could continue. 


That transition mentioned in the final version the deal would be in a way that gets the world to net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 and follows the dictates of climate science.

 It projects a world peaking its ever-growing carbon pollution by the year 2025 to reach its agreed-upon threshold, but gives wiggle room to individual nations like China to peak later.

Bangladesh youth advocate Farzana Farouk Jhumu said the mitigation in the new text “is not in full” and there is no mention of fossil fuels other than coal.

Jhumu and other young activists held a demonstration ahead of a plenary to demand the funding of an equitable phaseout from global leaders.

Victoria Walen, an environmental justice lawyer from the United States said, called the new text "poor."

“It is a plan that is led by the science,’’ al-Jaber said on the contrary. “It is an enhanced, balanced, but make no mistake, a historic package to accelerate climate action. It is the UAE consensus.”

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, whose OPEC threatened to torpedo an agreement, hailed the deal as a success.

The deal also includes a call for tripling the use of renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency. Earlier in the talks, the conference adopted a special fund for poor nations hurt by climate change and nations put nearly $800 million in the fund. The needs exceed this sum.

Earth is on its way to smashing the record for hottest year, endangering human health and leading to ever more costly and deadly extreme weather.

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