February 21, 2024

The coming days could be the world’s last chance to keep global warming within safe limits Cop28 UN climate summit have been told.

As talks in Dubai enter their final stages, the world’s governments are still far apart on the central question of whether to phase out fossil fuels.

Dan Jorgensen, the Danish Climate Minister, who has been charged with one of the key roles in brokering an agreement between deeply divided governments, said: “We cannot negotiate with nature. The climate cannot be compromised. No well-intentioned word will change anything unless we take action. This week could be our last chance to put us on track to keep 1.5 degrees Celsius alive.”

Jorgensen will chair negotiations on the agreement together with South African Minister Barbara Creecy global inventorya process under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement assessing progress – or lack thereof – in achieving the treaty’s goals of keeping global temperature rise ‘well below’ 2°C and ‘continuing efforts’ to keep it at 1.5°C above pre-industrial level.

It is common knowledge that the world is still far from being on track to stay within these limits, which scientists say are essential to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis. Average temperatures for this year are likely to break records and approach the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold According to current trends, the world will reach a warming of 3 degrees Celsiuseffectively making parts of the planet uninhabitable.

For these reasons, the Global Stocktake will also include recommendations to governments for a “course correction”, asking them to change policies and introduce measures that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Dan Jorgensen and Cop28 President Sultan Al Jaber.
Dan Jorgensen and Cop28 President Sultan Al Jaber. Photo: Peter Dejong/AP

A key part of the global stocktake is whether countries will agree to phase out or phase out fossil fuels. More than a hundred countries are calling for such a resolution, citing scientific advice, but some powerful countries, including China and India, oppose such a move.

Major fossil fuel producers such as the US, Canada, Norway, the EU and Saudi Arabia are accused of trying to block an unequivocal phase-out agreement by insisting that the inventory refer to ‘reduced’ fossil fuels fuels.

Burn “unabated”. of oil, gas and coal results in CO2 or other greenhouse gases released directly into the atmosphere. There is no agreement on what “decreased” means, but in general it refers to the combustion of fossil fuels combined with the capture and permanent storage of an undefined portion of greenhouse gases emitted.

The talks, which have been ongoing in the United Arab Emirates since November 30, are expected to end on Tuesday. Simon Stiell, the UN’s top climate official, warned countries that this must be the crucial moment.

“I urge negotiators to start with the highest ambition results. Yes, compromises will be essential, but not on ambition,” he said. “A billion people are now on the front lines. But bold climate action is also a great opportunity, for more jobs, healthier economic growth and less pollution. This is what billions of people in every country want and stronger climate action is the opportunity for every government to make it happen.”

Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of the climate conference and CEO of Adnoc, the UAE’s national oil company, said he was confident the talks would bring about a “paradigm shift” between governments, and an outcome that would reach 1.5 degrees Celsius would keep the border within reach.

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Al Jaber, who was subsequently criticized This casts doubt on whether a fossil fuel phase-out was required by scientific advice, said talks had progressed well over the past week. “There is a unique sense of momentum, a sense of inclusivity and a sense of willingness and flexibility,” he told a news conference. “I have a feeling something unprecedented could happen here.”

Developing countries in the global south want to ensure that whatever emerges from the global stocktake must recognize that rich countries and those most responsible for emissions have the biggest role to play in reducing carbon emissions .

Creecy referred to the principle set out in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement, of “common but differentiated responsibility”. This means that developed countries, with greater resources and greater historical emissions, must take more responsibility for reducing emissions and providing financial assistance to the poor. “All these issues must reflect the principle of equality,” she said.

Romain Ioualalen, global policy manager at Oil Change International, a pressure group, said: “It shows unprecedented momentum for an agreement on phasing out all fossil fuels, due to relentless pressure from people and governments aligned with the science. The Police President re-emphasized today that 1.5C is his north star – and he must deliver on that promise with a decision by the Police to build a fast, fair, complete and funded phase-out of fossil fuels, rooted in equity and enabling created by governments diverting trillions of dollars. in the financial world, from handwriting for the fossil fuel industry to the real solution: renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

In addition to phasing out fossil fuels, countries are being asked to triple global renewable energy generation and double energy efficiency. The former is likely already being met, based on current trends, and the latter should save money amid high fossil fuel prices and a cost-of-living crisis around the world.

Developing countries are also concerned that the target of doubling the amount of financing they receive to adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis has also not been met. Stiell called for more progress in this area. “I don’t want to see diversionary maneuvers and political tactics that hold climate adaptation hostage,” he warned.

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