Nations seek compromise on fossil fuel phase-out ahead of Cop28

Governments will hold consultations on whether to call for a phase out of fossil fuels at the Cop28 climate talks in November

Governments will continue to discuss whether to call for a phase-out of fossil fuels ahead of the Cop28 climate talks, the Egyptian Cop27 president told reporters after a gathering of 50 climate ministers in Copenhagen today.

Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said that there will be “consultations and deliberations” on whether to call for a phase-out of fossil fuels when governments gather in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November. The issue bitterly divided governments at the Cop27 climate talks he chaired last November.

Standing next to him, Denmark’s climate minister Dan Jorgensen added: “There’s no doubt that it will be part of the discussion moving forward towards Cop28”. But, he added, “whether or not we will reach that result in Dubai later this year is of course difficult to say”.

Shoukry said there was “a general recognition of the importance of reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and being able to transition towards renewable energy, clean energy.” He added: “This has to be taken in perspective of what constitutes a just transition”.

Fossil phase-out

At Cop27, an alliance of more than 80 countries wanted the countries’ joint declaration to call for a phase-out of fossil fuels.  That would have expanded and strengthened the agreement to phase down coal made at Cop26 the previous year.

Two days of discussions on the #ClimateAction and the path to #COP28 have concluded in Copenhagen.

Watch the #CopenhagenClimateMinisterial press conference here

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But these agreements have to be signed off by every country and a small group of fossil fuel-producing states like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia opposed the motion. The Egyptian chairs did not include it in the final text, angering blocs like the European Union which reluctantly accepted it.

Controversy over hosts

Some climate campaigners fear that the UAE, which receives half of its revenue from fossil fuels, will try to stop governments from getting fossil fuel phase-out into the Cop28 agreement. The UAE’s decision to appoint Sultan Al-Jaber, the head of their national oil company, as Cop28 president further fanned these fears.

But in February, the UAE’s environment minister told a conference  “we need to…phase out oil and gas”. In Copenhagen both Shoukry and Jorgensen defended the ability of an oil-producing state to chair a Cop meeting effectively.

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