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How far will the compromises on fossil fuels go? | COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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John Kerry (right), Washington's special climate envoy, leaves a session at COP28 in Dubai on Tuesday. Negotiators must propose a new version of an agreement to avoid failure.

Agence France-Presse

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What will be the right formula for an agreement on fossil fuels? On the last scheduled day of COP28 in Dubai, negotiators defend their “red lines” on Tuesday, but also signal the compromises they are willing to make to avoid failure.

The deadline set last week by Emirati COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber passed without a deal, as many negotiators feared.

The latest draft text put on the table on Monday by Sultan Al Jaber is considered too weak by the European Union, the United States, small island states and many South American countries to respond to the climate crisis. /p>

On the other side, Saudi Arabia and its oil-exporting allies are on a hard line, refusing any text ;attacking the fossil fuels that make them rich.

We expected this, COP28 Director General Majid Al Suwaidi said on Tuesday. We wanted the text to spark a conversation, he added, welcoming the fact that we now know the real red lines of different nations.

COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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This 21-page document would give complete freedom to the countries signatories to the Paris agreement to choose their way of reducing fossil fuels, without obligation. It no longer sets any common objective for exiting oil, gas and coal, although envisaged in previous versions.

The European Climate Commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, mentioned a super-majority of countries demanding more ambition, out of the 194 countries (and the EU) signatories to the 2015 Paris agreement.

If leaders fail to address the root cause of the climate crisis after 28 years of climate conferences, not only are they failing us , but they are making us lose confidence in the entire COP process, reacted Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate.

Europeans are constantly talking to each other to coordinate. Diplomats and ministers worn out by sleepless nights seek to make the text more restrictive, but also acceptable to the greatest number.

A new draft x27; agreement is hoped for on Tuesday, according to delegates, who are hoping for a new version.

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A person arrives at COP28 wearing a sweater on which the following message can be read in English: gradually eliminate [ fossil fuels] or get out.

But the hope of adopting a historic text calling for an exit from oil, gas and coal on the 8th anniversary of the Paris Agreement now seems very unlikely.

How to remove the objection of the Gulf countries, any decision at the COP being made by consensus?

Since a conference in Doha, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Saad al-Barrak denounced an aggressive attack by the West. His Iraqi counterpart, Hayan Abdel-Ghani, judges that fossil fuels will remain the main source of energy in the world.

Some of the countries those most in favor of an exit from oil, for their part, signaled that they were ready to sacrifice this word, in exchange for significant commitments.

I am not married to a word but I insist that the meaning of this formulation, whatever it ultimately is, must be extremely ambitious, Danish Climate Minister Dan Jørgensen said on Tuesday. /p>

Canadian Steven Guilbeault also mentioned during the night other formulations that have been proposed that we would be very interested in looking at.< /p>

A formulation appearing in drafts of previous texts brought together, for example, the development of renewables and the replacement of fossils in the same sentence.

A turn of phrase echoing a joint statement in November between China and the United States, the world's top two emitters.

China has not made an official comment since the latest text was published Monday evening, but it is not seen as an obstacle on the path to compromise.

I wouldn't say that China is fighting with us, but we are not fighting China, summarizes a Western negotiator.

Another issue pushed by many less developed countries: proposing in the text differentiated trajectories for the transition of countries, according to their means.

We can obviously accept that there are editorials which remind us that we do not all start from the same point, that it is probably the developed countries, the countries which have the means which must be the first to make efforts, suggests French Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher.

The two must be intrinsically linked, said Arlette Soudan-Nonault , Minister of the Environment of Congo.

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