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Disappointment for climate activists as COP28 adopts ‘transitioning away’ from fossil fuels

Climate activists raise placards during a protest against fossil fuels during the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai on December 12, 2023.   -  
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Young climate activists in Dubai were disappointed in a new compromise text at COP28 climate talks Wednesday because it stopped short of seeking fossil fuel phase-out.

The new proposal doesn’t go so far as to seek a “phase-out” of fossil fuels, which more than 100 nations had pleaded for. Instead, it calls for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade.”

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

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.

Some of the language in previous versions of the draft that most upset nations calling for dramatic action to address climate change was altered. Actions that had previously been presented as an optional “could” changed to a bit more directing “calls on parties to."

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

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

Within minutes of opening Wednesday’s session, COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber gaveled approval of the central document — the global stocktake that says how off-track the world is on climate and how it will get back on track — without asking for comments. Delegates stood and hugged each other.

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.