200 nations at COP28 adopt landmark 'UAE Consensus' to move away from fossil fuels - GulfToday

200 nations at COP28 adopt landmark 'UAE Consensus' to move away from fossil fuels

Sultan Al Jaber applauds among other officials before a plenary session during the United Nations climate summit in Dubai. AFP

Nearly 200 nations meeting in Dubai on Wednesday approved a first-ever call for the world to transition away from fossil fuels, the top culprit of climate change behind a planetary crisis.

After 13 days of talks and another sleepless night, within minutes of opening Wednesday’ session, Sultan Al Jaber gavelled approval of the central document – the global stocktake that says how far the world is off-track it climate-fighting goals and how it is going to get back. Delegates stood and hugged each other.

The COP28 Presidency said that a new draft final agreement has been published on Wednesday morning on the UNFCCC's website, adding that the final plenary will be hosted soon today. The draft final agreement text contains 196 articles distributed over 21 pages.

"You did step up, you showed flexibility, you put common interest ahead of self-interest," said COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber.

The UAE, he said, was "rightly proud" of its role in bringing "transformational change" to the planet.

"The world needed to find a new way. And by following our North Star, we have found that new path," he said to applause, referring to the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"It is a plan that is led by the science,’’ Al Jaber said. "It is an enhanced, balanced but make no mistake, a historic package to accelerate climate action. It is the UAE consensus.”

COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber (right) celebrates passing the global stocktake at the summit in Dubai. AP

"We have language on fossil fuel In our final agreement for the first time ever,” he added.

The agreement calls for "transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science".

It marked the first mention of all fossil fuels in 28 years of climate summits.

"For the first time in 30 years, we might now reach the beginning of the end of fossil fuels," EU climate chief Wopke Hoekstra said before heading into the plenary session.

Danish negotiator Dan Jorgensen, part of a group in charge of making headway, called the agreement "historic progress".


Low-lying islands fear extinction from rising sea levels and worsening storms. The bloc of small island states called the revised text "an improvement."

UAE steps up language

Jaber's earlier draft merely suggested that nations "could" reduce the consumption and production of fossil fuels, among other options.

"We are finally naming the elephant in the room. The genie is never going back into the bottle and future COPs will only turn the screws even more on dirty energy," said Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa think tank.

"Some people may have had their expectations for this meeting raised too high, but this result would have been unheard of two years ago, especially at a COP meeting in a petrostate," he said.

The agreement also made more explicit the near-term goals in the goal of ending net emissions by 2050.

It called for the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 compared with 2019 levels.

Rachel Cleetus, policy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the deal "sends a strong signal that world leaders recognise that a sharp turn away from fossil fuels toward clean energy in this critical decade and beyond, aligned with the science, is essential to meet our climate goals."


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