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Al Jaber calls for ‘flexibility’ on fossil fuel phase-out deal

REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
Cop28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber attends a press conference at the Cop28 summit in Dubai on December 8, 2023

Cop28 president Sultan Al Jaber has urged delegates to set aside their differences to achieve a deal to phase out fossil fuels.

“I need you to step up, and I need you to come out of your comfort zones. And I kindly ask you all to be flexible and to truly and genuinely engage in our deliberations and discussions,” he told the summit.

He said that in the final days, the summit has the potential to deliver a paradigm shift that can define global economies and our future.

“Let this Cop be remembered as a collective Cop… a Cop that changed the game… let’s please get this job done,” he stated.

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Saudi Arabia and Russia were among several countries pressing that the conference in Dubai focus only on reducing climate pollution, Reuters reported, citing observers in the negotiations.

As many as 80 countries, including the United States, the European Union and several poor, climate-vulnerable nations, are calling for Cop28 to set out a clear and eventual end to the use of fossil fuels.

“We need realistic approaches to tackle emissions. One that enables economic growth, helps eradicate poverty and increases resilience at the same time,” the news agency reported, citing Opec secretary general Haitham Al Ghais’ speech at the summit.

Earlier this week, Opec sent a letter urging its members and allies to reject any mention of fossil fuels in the final summit deal.

EU climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra criticised the letter as “out of whack” with climate efforts.

“By many, including by me, that has been seen as out of whack, as unhelpful, as not in tune with where the world stands in terms of the very dramatic situation of our climate,” he stated.

UAE softens on fossil fuel wording, observers say

Al Jaber promises Cop28 is focused on ‘the science’

Cop28: Everything you need to know 

During a news conference, Cop28 director general Majid Al Suwaidi said the UAE, as president of the summit, wanted a deal to get the world on track to limit warming to 1.5C.

“Our Cop president clearly wants to see an outcome that is as ambitious as possible, and we believe we are going to deliver it,” he said.

Bruce Douglas, chief executive of the Global Renewables Alliance, a policy group representing the clean energy industry, said it was now “crunch-time” for the Cop28 talks.

“World leaders have a few days to make a heroic commitment to tripling renewable energy while accelerating fossil fuel phaseout in this decade. Instead, Opec is digging in and urging countries to reject any text that targets fossil fuels phaseout. They clearly have their back against the ropes,” he told AGBI.

Cop28, held in Expo City Dubai, is scheduled to conclude on Tuesday, December 12.

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