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COP28 Draft Text Highlights Division Over a Fossil Fuel Phase-Out

  • Arguably the most contentious issue of COP28 is the commitment to and wording of any phase-out or phase-down of fossil fuels.
  • The latest draft presents a variety of options, ranging from a complete phase-out to not commenting on the issue.
  • Saudi Arabia has said it firmly rejects any endorsement of language calling for the phase-down of fossil fuels at the summit.
fossil fuels

The future of fossil fuels and possible language on the phase-out of fossil fuels in the final text of COP28 continues to be debated at the climate summit as the latest draft shows.

The latest version of the draft text with “refined textual building blocks”, published on Friday, offers several options for language about the phase-out of fossil fuels, including an option not to include any text.  

The draft text published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says that the countries will be called upon “to take further action in this critical decade towards:” and lists four options for the final text.

“Option 1: A phase out of fossil fuels in line with best available science.”

“Option 2: Phasing out of fossil fuels in line with best available science, the IPCC’s 1.5 pathways and the principles and provisions of the Paris Agreement”

“Option 3: A phase-out of unabated fossil fuels recognizing the need for a peak in their consumption in this decade and underlining the importance for the energy sector to be predominantly free of fossil fuels well ahead of 2050.” 

Option 4 reads “Phasing out unabated fossil fuels and to rapidly reducing their use so as to achieve net-zero CO2 in energy systems by or around mid-century.”

And then there is another “Option 4: no text,” the latest draft showed.

Countries are divided on the issue of the role of fossil fuels and the language of phase down /phase out in the final statement that leaders will agree to at the COP28 summit.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told Bloomberg that the Kingdom would not endorse any text that calls for the phase down of fossil fuels at the COP28 summit in Dubai.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, will “Absolutely not” be happy to have the language “fossil fuels should be phased down,” the Saudi minister said.


By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Robert Shivers on December 08 2023 said:
    Proposals to phase out hydrocarbons any time this century are tantamount to undoing the Industrial Revolution and much of what sustains modern life on the planet. It is beyond delusional, it is psychotic and maniacal. Rational, informed people are not obliged to indulge lunatics proposing a phase out of hydrocarbons because they are fretting over 0.04% CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on December 08 2023 said:
    All the four options including option No four which doesn’t mention a phasing-out of fossil fuels aren’t acceptable.

    Moreover, the climate science isn’t an exact science. The assumptions upon which scientists base their calls for the phasing-out of fossil fuels aren’t unanimously agreed upon by all scientists. Many Nobel-prize winners in Physics don’t agree with many of the assumptions.

    Therefore, the COP 28’s final text should call for fossil fuels and renewables to coexist and work diligently together to provide a secure, affordable and sustainable energy to the world. The higher renewables’ share in global electricity generation , the less fossil fuels will be needed.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

Leave a comment

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