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UN Climate Talks in Jeopardy As Nations Express Fury Over ‘Weak’ Fossil Fuel Draft Deal

The revised text aims to address the concerns raised by dissatisfied nations and pave the way for continued negotiations.

The UN climate talks in Dubai are at a crossroads as several nations voice strong discontent over a draft deal on fossil fuels, denouncing it as “weak.” The removal of language suggesting a “phase-out” of fossil fuels has sparked tensions among the 198 participating countries, with the fate of the entire agreement hanging in the balance.

The revised text, expected on Tuesday, aims to address the concerns raised by dissatisfied nations and pave the way for continued negotiations. The contentious issue revolves around the language used to address the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

A representative for the European Union has deemed the draft “unacceptable,” raising the possibility of the bloc walking away from the negotiations. Minister Eamon Ryan emphasised the severity of the situation, acknowledging that a collapse of the talks is not the desired outcome for the world.

Expectations for a robust deal were low due to COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber’s dual role as CEO of the Abu Dhabi oil giant Adnoc. The controversy centres on whether the draft adequately addresses the pressing need to curb fossil fuel consumption.

Countries on the frontline of climate change, facing threats from rising sea levels and extreme weather events, have condemned the draft. Representatives from the Alliance of Small Island States emphasise the need for strong commitments to phase out fossil fuels, declaring they will not sign their “death certificate.”

Both the US and the UK have expressed dissatisfaction with the draft. The US called for substantial strengthening of the text related to fossil fuels, while the UK labelled the draft as “disappointing” and stressed the necessity of a phased-out approach to unabated fossil fuels.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined the criteria for success at the talks, emphasising the need for a consensus on phasing out fossil fuels in line with a 1.5C temperature rise limit. The talks are deemed successful only if they address the future of coal, oil, and gas.

As tensions rise and negotiations continue, the fate of the UN climate talks hangs in the balance. The urgency to combat climate change and the complexities of reaching a global consensus on fossil fuel reduction underscore the challenges faced by world leaders at the summit.

Kiki Garba

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