World climate conference in Dubai: OPEC call causes outrage

As of: December 9th, 2023 12:10 p.m

At the World Climate Conference, a call from the OPEC countries to block any decisions against fossil fuels is causing a stir. It was also announced in Dubai: The next conference host will probably be an oil-rich country again.

Final spurt at the World Climate Conference in Dubai (COP28): Until Tuesday, politicians from almost 200 countries will be wrestling with the next steps in the fight against the climate crisis. One of the most contentious points is whether states can agree on phasing out coal, oil and gas.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is now causing outrage among many COP28 participants. Negotiators and observers at the U.N. conference said several OPEC members appeared to be acceding to calls from OPEC Secretary-General Haitham al-Ghais to veto attempts to include a fossil fuel phase-out in a new climate deal.

In a letter dated Wednesday, seen by several media outlets, al-Ghais called on oil cartel members to reject language targeting fossil fuels because “the undue and disproportionate pressure” could reach a tipping point “with irreversible consequences.”

Al-Ghais declined to comment on the letter. However, he said OPEC wanted to focus the talks on reducing emissions rather than selecting energy sources. “The world needs major investments in all energies, including hydrocarbons,” he said.

Reactions to OPEC call: “Disgusting” and “angry”

It is “disgusting” that the OPEC countries are opposing ambitious decisions in the climate negotiations, said the Environment Minister of Spain, the country currently holding the EU Council Presidency, Teresa Ribera. The EU, with a “vast majority” of the almost 200 countries represented in Dubai, is committed to achieving “a significant and productive result” with regard to a move away from climate-damaging fossil fuels, emphasized Ribera.

France’s Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said she was “astonished” and “angry” about the OPEC letter. Fossil fuels are responsible for more than 75 percent of global CO2 emissions, said the minister in Dubai. “We have to get out if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

Baerbock: Oil states must give up resistance

In Dubai, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on oil states such as Saudi Arabia to give up their resistance to a global move away from fossil fuels. “At this climate conference here in Dubai we have the chance that for the first time we will not have an alliance of the old fossil world, but an alliance of those who want to take concrete steps into the future,” said Baerbock. “Not an alliance of fossil power, but an alliance of doing” must show the way into the future.

The international community must “now work together on the path out of the fossil fuel world,” the minister said. However, it is clear to her that this is “anything but easy” and that the transformation is “still a tough task,” “because there are still those who want to carry their power politics from the past into the future, including with power politics fossil instruments”. The second and crucial week of negotiations began in Dubai on Friday. Baerbock also got involved in the negotiations personally.

Azerbaijan hosts the next UN climate conference

The 28th UN Climate Change Conference is officially scheduled to end on Tuesday. The next world climate conference will probably take place in Azerbaijan. “I am pleased to announce that there is a general consensus on Azerbaijan’s candidacy to host COP29,” the oil and gas-rich country’s Environment Minister Mukhtar Babayev said at the UN Climate Change Conference.

The next host must come from the Eastern Europe region. Armenia and Bulgaria had withdrawn their bids to host the event.

Martin Polansky, ARD Berlin, currently Dubai, tagesschau, December 9th, 2023 12:36 p.m

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