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The COP28 UAE-led presidency doesn't have any "red lines" for language about fossil fuels in the negotiated text, COP28 Director General Majid al-Suwaidi said on Friday.
"Our job as a COP presidency is not to have red lines. We don't have red lines."
The question was in response to comments by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres about what he called the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels to avoid climate catastrophe and meet Paris goals. "We cannot save a burning planet with a firehose of fossil fuels," Guterres said earlier in the day. "The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate."
But the UAE—holding the presidency of COP28, remains steadfast in its position that all energy needs to be discussed, with many countries—the UAE included—viewing fossil fuels as having a role in the energy transition.
Already, Hila Heine, former Marshall Islands president, stepped down from her role on the COP28 advisory board, citing her disappointment with the UAE's support of continued fossil fuel use and accused the COP28 presidency of using its platform at COP28 to broker oil and gas deals—an accusation that the UAE has denied.
"We have been clear, open, and honest throughout this process," the UAE said in a statement.
Still on the table for discussion at COP28 is the matter of whether fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out, which have been estimated at about $7 trillion globally as of last year. The group is also planning to discuss provisions for carbon capture and removal technology.
The UAE secured a victory earlier this week with delegates adopting a new loss and damage fund to assist poor nations with climate disasters—it was a deal that is decades in the making.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.