The phasing out of fossil fuels has been dropped from the UN’s COP28 climate summit draft agreement.
The text, which has to be agreed between 197 countries, states a global effort is needed to “enhance efforts towards substitution of unabated fossil fuels.”
This in addition to “reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels,” although it contains no concrete statement on fossil fuel elimination.
The text will come under consideration from government representatives this evening.
The terminology has been the cause of much controversy around the summit during the past two weeks, with delegates and businesses voicing concerns over the need to include explicit de-carbonisation language in written pledges.
Posting on X, formally Twitter, Sir Alok Sharma, who served as president for Glasgow’s COP26, said that it was “difficult to see how the text will help achieve the deep and rapid cut in emissions we need by 2030 to keep 1.5 degrees alive.”
“With so many countries backing clear language on fossil fuel phase out, who does this text actually serve?”.
The elephant in the room has been oil and its role within the summit’s internal politics.
COP28’s president Sultan Al Jaber, who also serves as the leader of the UAE’s national oil company, was known to be looking to avoid the “phaseout” term.
He also faced criticism last week for his claim that there is “no science” behind calls for a phase out of fossil fuels and that if pushed through, it could “take the world back into caves.”
Ahead of the gathering, the IEA issued a warning that the fossil fuel industry was facing a “moment of truth” where producers had to choose between shifting to clean energy and deepening the climate crisis.
On Friday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that pledges made at COP28 would not be enough to limit global warning to 1.5 degrees.