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'Race against time' in Dubai at COP28 | COP28: climate summit in Dubai

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec11,2023

Calling for “good faith” from participating countries, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is trying to convince them to give up “unnecessary tactical blockades”.

« Race against time» in Dubai at COP28 | COP28: summit on the climate in Dubai

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The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, is trying to convince countries to abandon unnecessary tactical blockages to reach an agreement on ending the use of fossil fuels at COP28 in Dubai.

Agence France-Presse

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The UN Climate chief on Monday called on countries meeting at COP28 to lift “unnecessary tactical blockages” in the home stretch of negotiations in Dubai, as Saudi Arabia appears increasingly isolated and that China appears to be the keystone of a possible agreement on fossil fuels.

Sporting metaphors are in order on Monday in Dubai while COP28 is supposed to end on Tuesday and the last night was short for everyone.

We are in a race against time, thundered the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, who arrived the evening before, before calling on countries to show good faith and maximum flexibility to avoid a huge disappointment on Tuesday.

He was very clear: COP28 must call for an exit from fossil fuels, but that does not mean that all countries must exit from fossil fuels at the same time. That is to say, rich countries must set an example, and help the poorest to finance their solar power plants or the electrification of their factories.

We do not have a minute to lose in this crucial final stretch, urged Simon Stiell, head of the UN Climate, before him, judging that the highest levels of ambition are possible on both inseparable subjects at the heart of the latest talks: the end of oil, coal and gas on the one hand, and the dollars that poor countries need to develop without fossils on the other.

COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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NGOs are on fire, eager for a COP that will be a pivotal moment in our history, one that will be remembered with pride, responded Teresa Anderson, at ActionAid International.

A sign of the ambient excitement, several announced public events were canceled at the last minute.

And a new project agreement expected at dawn has still not been published at midday in Dubai, exhaustion showing among the thousands of participants at COP28.

We are still waiting for the text, indicated the head of a large bloc of countries at the start of the morning, disappointed at still not having new options to comment.

This new document will launch an intense sprint of negotiations, before an afternoon plenary session and potentially one or more sleepless nights for delegates and observers. In 28 years, COPs have rarely finished on time.

But the determined Emirati president of COP28, Sultan Al-Jaber, boss of the national oil company, promised a historic agreement on December 12, the anniversary of the Paris Agreement, of which he ensures that the objective of limiting warming to 1.5°C, seriously threatened, is its pole star.

Everyone must be flexible, he said on Sunday. We must move much, much, much faster.

The new text expected on Monday, probably punctuated with options or wording in parentheses, will test his ability to shape a compromise in the last hours, since this time it is established under his leadership.

China and its emissary Xie Zhenhua, COP veteran and close to the American John Kerry, are in every conversation.

The Sunnylands Joint Declaration signed in November by China and the United States could serve as the basis for a possible agreement at COP28. The world's two leading emitters of greenhouse gases (41% between them) avoided talking about phasing out fossil fuels, but indicated that renewable energies (solar, wind, etc.) should gradually replace them.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The camps are waiting for the new text to truly reveal their cards, explains a source close to the COP presidency.

Increasingly isolated, Saudi Arabia, the leading oil exporter, Iraq and some OPEC allies are sticking to their positions, hostile to any exit or reduction in fossil fuels, brandishing the threat of an upheaval in the global economy.

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Saudi Arabia, Iraq and some OPEC allies are sticking to their positions, hostile to any exit or reduction of fossil fuels.

Yet, from NGOs to negotiators, participants express the same feeling that an agreement has never been closer to signaling the beginning of the end of oil, gas and coal, including combustion since the 19th century has enabled global economic growth at the cost of warming by 1.2°C.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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