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COP 28 to host fossil fuels debate

A glass glob perched on green moss signifying a global drive to a greener economy

GLOBALLY GREEN The drive to a decarbonised economy will again be addressed at this years Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

1st December 2023

By: Halima Frost

Senior Writer

     

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This year’s Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, referred to globally as COP 28 and being held from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will look to address environmental issues, including decarbonisation targets and the “abolishment of fossil fuels”, by 2050.

The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that fossil fuels are responsible for about 73% of all greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions globally.

According to the event website, COP 28 aims to secure an agreement for the reduction of fossil fuel use.

The website states that there is a persistent and deep division between those pushing for a swift phase-out of coal, oil and gas, which are the primary contributors to GHG emissions and climate change, and those advocating for the continued use of fossil fuels.

The key objectives of COP 28 include measures to reduce emissions, notably through a commitment to triple global renewable-energy capacity by 2030 and phasing out carbon dioxide- (CO2-) emitting fossil fuels.

This vision aligns with the goals of European Union (EU) countries and vulnerable States that are fervently pursuing an accelerated transition to cleaner energy.

However, the choice of Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber to lead the climate talks as summit president has raised concerns among some US and EU lawmakers.

Al Jaber, who also serves as the head of the UAE’s State oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, has advocated for the need to involve all stakeholders, including the fossil fuel industry.

He reportedly prefers a slower, phase-down approach that includes all available technologies such as carbon capture and storage and CO2 removal, which would allow for the continued use of fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, African countries have started to realise, with a sense of urgency, that decarbonisation and mitigation of fossil fuels on the African continent will help address a number of pressing challenges, including impacts on health, agriculture, water and biodiversity. 

At an event held at the Eka Hotel on October 25, in Nairobi, the African Group of Negotiators (AGNs) gathered in preparation for their countries’ participation at this year’s COP 28.

Nairobi State Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry principal secretary Festus Ng'eno says that despite Africa’s negligible contribution to global emissions, the continent suffers a disproportionate share of the climate change burden.

According to the Global Carbon Budget report released in 2022, Africa contributes just 4% of global carbon emissions despite being the continent that will suffer the most from climate change.

Moreover, the impacts of climate change are already hitting Africa, with documented rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and extreme weather events, which have become a regular occurrence across the continent.

With this in mind, the delegates came together to discuss and shape their continent’s response to the climate crisis.

On behalf of the AGN, chairperson Friday Phiri says COP 28 is crucial in view of Global Stock Take (GST).

Phiri says the AGN would like the GST to address all elements of the Paris Agreement, both through a retrospective and forward-looking perspective.

He concludes that the message for COP 28 has always been clear and the AGN would like it to deliver ambitious, fair and just outcomes that set the world on a course that “effectively addresses climate change, including adaptation, loss and damage, finance and mitigation".

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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