smoke stacks of giant coal plants bellowing out fumes

UN Chief Calls For COP28 Commitment To End Use Of Fossil Fuels

3 mins

Speaking ahead of flying to the COP28 summit which opened in Dubai today the UN Secretary-General warned of a total disaster if we don’t phase out fossil fuels and switch to renewable energies

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, has said the COP28 climate summit in Dubai should aim for a complete and binding international commitment to end the use of fossil fuels in order to combat global warming.

He told reporters in France that the 1.5C climate goal leaders signed up to in The Paris Agreement ‘is not dead, it’s alive’.

And while Guterres said that the technology, money and capacity was all going in the right direction to meet the agreed temperature rise limit, he claimed: ‘The only thing that is still lacking is political will.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL Antonio Guterres has called for COP28 commitment to phase out use of fossil fuels

‘It’s a question of making sure it goes in the right direction, to do what is necessary not only to keep the 1.5 degrees alive, but alive and well.

Scientists are increasingly warning the goal of restricting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels looks unlikely, an outcome that nations have agreed would be disastrous.

‘Obviously I am strongly in favour of language that includes (a) phaseout [of fossil fuels], even with a reasonable time framework’

This year is set to be the hottest on record and we are on course for temperature rises between 2.5 degrees Celsius and 2.9 degrees Celsius this century if nothing is done prompting the UN chief to warn of a ‘total disaster’ if we don’t take drastic action now. 

protesters in London in April 2023 calling for ban on fossil fuels
Protesters in London calling for a ban on fossil fuels

Some countries have called for the final statement of COP28, which requires unanimous agreement, to explicitly call for a reduction in fossil fuel consumption – which would be a first for the event.

Fossil Fuels Phase Out

However Guterres said a simple promise to reduce fossil fuels would not be enough. ‘I think it would be a pity if we stay in a vague and noncommittal “phase-down” the real meaning of which would not be obvious for anybody,’ he said.

‘Obviously I am strongly in favour of language that includes (a) phaseout, even with a reasonable time framework.’

He called on every nation to develop renewable energies. ‘We need to triple renewable at the global level,’ Guterres said, and not just depend on the voluntary commitments of some states.

As COP28 got underway at Dubai’s Expo City today, delegates called for a draft deal on a loss and damage fund  for the world’s poorer nations to be approved quickly. The UAE’s COP28 presidency Sultan Al Jaber has already published a proposal for such a fund.

man turning pitch from fossil fuels to renewable energies

Once an agreement is reached, rich countries can begin pledging money as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands are expected to announce contributions over the next few days, European diplomats told assembled media.

‘Everyone with the ability to pay should contribute,’ said the EU Climate Commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, who said he wanted to ‘broaden the donor base beyond the usual suspects, simply because that reflects the reality of 2023.’

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