Climate summit in Dubai: COP28: Fossil phase-out is missing from the draft final text

A new draft for the final text of the World Climate Conference in Dubai no longer provides for an exit from coal, oil and gas.

Climate summit in Dubai: COP28: Fossil phase-out is missing from the draft final text

A new draft for the final text of the World Climate Conference in Dubai no longer provides for an exit from coal, oil and gas. The 21-page paper only talks about reducing the consumption and production of fossil fuels. In a previous version, exit was mentioned as one of several options. Environmental organizations reacted with disappointment - as did states that are particularly threatened by the climate crisis.

The chief negotiator for the Marshall Islands, threatened by rising sea levels, John Silk, said they had not come to Dubai "to sign our death warrant." One will not “quietly descend into our watery graves”.

EU Climate Commissioner and chief negotiator Wopke Hoekstra also expressed disappointment. The draft submitted by the presidency of the United Arab Emirates is "clearly inadequate" and unacceptable.

Baerbock disappointed with draft final text

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the current proposal from the presidency of the United Arab Emirates was a disappointment. "Overall it is not sufficient; essential elements are not acceptable to us as the European Union." The Foreign Minister also said that the draft also lacked concrete instruments that are needed for the necessary energy transition, especially in regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America - which these states had strongly demanded in Dubai. EU climate commissioner and chief negotiator Wopke Hoekstra made similar comments, calling the draft "clearly inadequate" and unacceptable.

The executive director of Greenpeace Germany, Martin Kaiser, is "really stunned" that the draft serves the wishes and interests of the oil and gas industry, but not the people who have already suffered the most from the floods and droughts. The draft is very non-binding, especially when it comes to phasing out fossil fuels, which over 100 countries have called for. “If it is passed like this, it can cause this conference to fail,” warned Kaiser. It is now up to the Foreign Minister and her EU colleagues, together with the island states and the most wounded states, to ensure “that this non-binding nature is removed from the document” and that there is a binding exit from coal, oil and gas.

Will the conference be extended?

The two-week negotiations are due to end tomorrow morning, but have recently stalled. As always in previous years, the conference could go into extension.

Conference president Sultan al-Jaber, also head of the state oil company, indicated that he expected improvements to the text. “We still have a lot of gaps to fill,” he said. "We need to deliver a result that respects the science and keeps the 1.5 degree target within reach." He expects the delegates to have the highest ambition on all points - "including with regard to the language on fossil fuels."

Previously, at lunchtime, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the almost 200 countries to pull themselves together and stipulate the phase-out of coal, oil and gas in the final text. “Now is the time for maximum ambition and maximum flexibility,” he said during an appearance before the world press.

Oxfam expert Jan Kowalzig said that in the draft text the other desired goals - a tripling of renewable energies and a doubling of energy efficiency - are not reflected as a goal, but only as a possible measure. “COP28 must not end like this,” he warned. The goal agreed in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees will probably be “thrown out the window” with this draft. Kowalzig also demanded that the European Union should under no circumstances agree to the declaration and that it must demand significant improvements.

The most controversial point since the conference began at the beginning of the month has been whether the international community can unanimously agree on phasing out the climate-damaging energy sources coal, oil and gas. A number of countries resisted, including oil-rich Saudi Arabia, but also China, Iraq and Russia.

Viviane Raddatz, head of climate at WWF Germany, said the draft text was very disappointing and raised concerns that this COP could lead to a gigantic failure.

Foreign Minister Baerbock had previously written on Instagram that the majority of all countries wanted to get out of fossil fuels. However, some countries are worried because they lack support in implementation. "We know that it is our responsibility as industrialized countries to enable them to exit too. And we will do that." She was combative: "What we won't do is give in to those who have all the resources - especially financial ones."

UN climate chief Simon Stiell also insisted on ambition in the fight against global warming. "Every step away from the highest ambitions costs countless millions of lives - not in the next political or economic cycle that future heads of state and government will have to contend with, but now, in every country." He continued: "The world is watching, as are the 4,000 media representatives and thousands of observers here in Dubai. There is nowhere to hide."

Klima-Activistten prangern Israel an

A network of environmental organizations awarded the negative "Fossil of the Day" prize to Israel at COP28 - with drastic formulations about the ongoing military operation in the Gaza war. "Israel's actions aim to eliminate the Palestinian people through the unfolding genocide and ethnic cleansing," said the Climate Action Network (CAN). According to its own information, it includes more than 1,900 civil society organizations in more than 130 countries and at the international level - including Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF and Germanwatch. The German organizations distanced themselves.