Climate conference: Climate conference extended - struggle to phase out fossil fuels

The approximately 200 countries at the world climate conference in Dubai continue to fight for the global exit from coal, oil and gas.

Climate conference: Climate conference extended - struggle to phase out fossil fuels

The approximately 200 countries at the world climate conference in Dubai continue to fight for the global exit from coal, oil and gas. The conference leader from the United Arab Emirates wanted to exchange ideas with state representatives and country groups until late into the night in order to work towards a final declaration that would be accepted by all countries.

The most heated debate is over whether it is possible to agree on a global phase-out of coal, oil and gas or whether back doors remain open - for example with formulations that opened the door for a major role for CO2 storage and capture technologies. This is classified by experts as very expensive, scientifically controversial and difficult to scale.

Storm of protest based on draft text

There was a wave of outrage over a draft text published on Monday. Unlike previous versions, the fossil fuel phase-out, which more than 100 countries have already spoken out for, was no longer mentioned at all. Germany, the EU, many threatened island states and other countries rejected the text as inadequate or even a “death sentence”.

The presidency then tried to limit the damage: Director General Majid Al-Suwaidi said the criticism was expected. "In fact, we wanted the text to stimulate conversation - and that's exactly what happened." But ultimately the responsibility lies with the government delegations, which have to achieve unanimity.

Wrestling with states from all over the world

Late in the evening, the host said that conference president Sultan al-Jaber and his team had met with the representatives of the states and country groups day and night. “This is to ensure that everyone is heard and all positions are taken into account,” said a spokeswoman.

The president of the COP28 conference is also president of the state oil company. Nevertheless, he emphasized several times during the conference that he wanted to achieve an ambitious conclusion and keep the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees within reach.

Eight years after the Paris Agreement

The German group Fridays for Future pointed out on

“Today the Paris Climate Agreement turns 8 years old,” the organization wrote in the evening. "While the window for achieving this is closing, the global community at COP28 is failing to phase out fossil fuels and Germany is lagging behind in achieving its climate goals."

Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate wrote in an op-ed in The Guardian: "As time runs out in Dubai, it feels like humanity's shared lifeboat is sinking." Progressive states are now called upon to fight.

The climate conference was actually supposed to end on Tuesday morning. However, the UN meetings have always been extended in recent years. A new draft text for the final declaration was expected in the morning.

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