Nations Urge Final COP28 Fossil Fuel Deal, Talks Extended

The Conference of Parties (COP28) conference in Dubai extended as almost 200 nations negotiated a final climate agreement to settle matters regarding the future of fossil fuels.

The conclusion of the talks would deliver a solid message to global investors and markets about the goals of governments worldwide to cease or preserve oil, gas, and coal.

Many nations have disapproved of a draft deal revealed on Monday for not urging a fossil fuel “phase-out,” which scientists said is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions fueling global warming.

Over 100 countries, from the US to the European Union (EU) to small island nations, had called for the notion but faced opposition from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+).

Tuesday night and early Wednesday saw participating countries in the climate discussions engaged in shuttle diplomacy with the conference’s host, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Nation leaders are clarifying demands with the UAE to draft a final deal.

During the meeting, John Kerry, the US Special Climate Envoy, stated that fossil fuel talks in the COP28 agreement writing were gaining strength.

Meanwhile, Samoa’s environment minister, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, disclosed improvements from recent talks in some areas but provided no further details.

The United Nations (UN) climate body overseeing the COP process announced early Wednesday a possible publication of new deal texts. The reveal will be followed by a plenary session with UAE’s COP President, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.

OPEC Pressure on COP28 President

Al Jaber was reportedly pressured by Saudi Arabia, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) de facto leader, of which UAE is a member, to omit any discussion of fossil fuels.

The Saudi government has not responded to a request for comment on Tuesday.

It was reported that OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais has attempted to push the members to reject any COP28 deal aimed at fossil fuels.

While Saudi Arabia opposes the anti-fossil fuel language in COP28 talks, other OPEC members, including Iran, Iraq, and Russia, have also joined in rejecting a phase-out deal.

Denmark’s Global Climate Minister, Dan Jorgensen, has expressed concerns over the lack of ambition, although he remained optimistic that it was possible.

Participants, including the US, EU, Australia, Canada, Chile, and Norway, have described Monday’s draft as weak. Certain African nations said any agreement would need wealthy countries that are long-time fossil fuel producers and users to stop first.

China, the leading global greenhouse gas emitter, was uncertain where it stood on the draft.

The country’s climate change envoy, Xie Zhenhua, stated that there was progress in the ongoing discussions, but it has yet to be clear if an agreement would be made by the end of Tuesday.

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