YK Poudel

Dubai, UAE—The resounding chants of “No more fossil fuel” echoed around the pavilions, signaling the fervour of protestors at the COP28 summit in Dubai.

The draft agreement stirred intense debates as it notably excludes the explicit “phase out” of fossil fuels, drawing criticism from the US, EU, and climate-vulnerable nations.

Released by the UAE’s summit presidency on Monday, the proposal presents eight options for countries to curtail emissions, with a focus on achieving net-zero by 2050.

The absence of the demanded “phase out” sparked heated last-minute negotiations, heightening tensions among participating nations.

A coalition of over 100 countries advocates for an agreement committing to eventually end the era of oil, but faces resistance from OPEC members.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the COP28 President, urged intensified efforts for a comprehensive deal, emphasising the necessity for high ambition on all fronts.

China’s stance on the draft remains uncertain, while Saudi Arabia and OPEC emphasise emission reduction without specifically targeting energy sources.

Developing nations underscore the need for financial support to facilitate an equitable transition away from fossil fuels, revealing a politically charged debate. Developed nations, reliant on imported fossil fuels, advocate for a phase-out, while major fossil fuel producers lean towards a phase-down approach.

Delegates criticise the draft as “grossly insufficient” and “incoherent,” expressing concerns about the lack of a full commitment to fossil fuel phase-out. Some countries express despair over the weak commitments.

The EU signals potential withdrawal if the text doesn’t improve, calling for greater ambition and broader inclusivity.

Burning fossil fuels has elevated global temperatures by 1.2 °C, with scientists warning of severe consequences beyond 1.5 °C.

To stay below this threshold, nations must heed scientific recommendations, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 43 percent by 2030.