From Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock's point of view, the UN climate conference in Dubai offers a historic opportunity to decide on an exit from coal, oil and gas after decades of debate. There is a large majority in favor of this among the almost 200 states, says the Green politician - and warns against last-minute blockade attempts. Two or three countries should not “stand against the security of everyone else in the world.” She mentioned China and Saudi Arabia by name.
China and Saudi Arabia have so far resisted ambitious formulations on climate protection in the final text. The most controversial issue is whether it should explicitly stipulate an exit from the fossil fuels coal, oil and gas. The two-week conference with 97,000 participants is officially scheduled to end on Tuesday, but extensions are the rule.
At the weekend at the UN meeting, a letter from the OPEC oil cartel to OPEC member states, among others, caused outrage. It called for the blocking of ambitious decisions to phase out coal, oil and gas.
Regarding the political resistance, Baerbock said that it was now “the task of the remaining days” to achieve unanimity. Since decisions have to be made unanimously, "one OPEC country alone is enough to block everything." EU climate commissioner and chief negotiator Wopke Hoekstra warned: "If we blow any more stuff into the air, the planet will boil. We're trying to prevent that."
"World is desperately waiting for good news"
The host also called on the states to make the meeting a success. "The world is hungry, the world is desperately waiting for good news," said conference president Sultan al-Jaber from the United Arab Emirates. There is an opportunity to restore trust in international cooperation.
Al-Jaber, who is also the head of the state-owned oil company, invited the states on Sunday to an open meeting in the conference's own Al-Waha Theater, which was bathed in muted yellow - so that the ministers could "open up a little" and look into their eyes during the heated negotiation phase could see how he put it.
Foreign Minister Baerbock did not skimp on pathos on this occasion: "We are here to save the world for all humanity," she said - and again called for more ambition on behalf of the EU. Even in 2050, it should still be possible for the island states of Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, which are particularly threatened by rising sea levels, to celebrate Human Rights Day on December 10th - and not as a funeral for the states.
The representative of Bangladesh made an urgent appeal to those present: If we are successful here, we can also create other challenges, he emphasized. "If we fail here, I don't even want to think about the consequences."
“Oblique axis of friends of fossil fuels”
Climate activist Mohamed Adow from Powershift Africa said a “diagonal axis of friends of fossil fuels” is currently blocking rapid progress: Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, but also the USA. US President Joe Biden claims to be a pioneer in climate protection. But the US remains “in the shadows” when it comes to a date for phasing out fossil fuels.
Greenpeace also sees an opportunity to decide on an exit from coal, oil and gas in Dubai almost three decades after the first UN climate conference. “We are close to making history here,” said the environmental organization’s delegation leader, Kaisa Kosonen. She also referred to a joint call from 106 countries to phase out fossil fuels - including the EU and many African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. There is now strong pressure from Latin America and the alliance of small island states.
Next climate conference again in an oil state
The world climate conference next year will most likely take place again in an oil state, namely Azerbaijan. There is comprehensive support for this, said Environment Minister Mukhtar Babayev before the plenary session in Dubai. However, the conference still has to formally decide on the award.
Armenia had previously blocked the neighboring country's candidacy. However, in the event of a rapprochement between the two hostile states, Armenia has now declared that it will support the Azerbaijani application. The environmental organization Germanwatch criticized the decision as "highly problematic" because there are also major problems with corruption in the oil state.