At the climate summit in Dubai, there appears to be growing momentum to reach an agreement on phasing out fossil fuels. There is even cautious optimism, although some believe it is premature.
OPEC, de coalitie van olieproducerende staten als Saoedi-Arabië, Nigeria en Irak, heeft de noodklok geluid. “Door de onterechte en disproportionele druk tegen fossiele brandstoffen dreigt een kantelpunt te worden bereikt met onomkeerbare gevolgen”, waarschuwde het oliekartel in een brief aan zijn lidstaten, die vrijdag uitlekte.
De olielanden vrezen dat hun inkomsten zullen verdampen als internationaal wordt afgesproken dat we op termijn moeten stoppen met olie, gas en kolen. Landen met grote klimaatambities, zoals de EU-lidstaten en kwetsbare eilandengroepen, pleiten in Dubai voor een eind aan het fossiele tijdperk.
Het laat zien dat er op de klimaattop in Dubai ineens beweging zit in de discussie over de toekomst van fossiele brandstoffen. “Er is nog nooit zo expliciet over dit thema gestreden als nu”, zegt GroenLinks-Europarlementariër Bas Eickhout. Wie die strijd zal winnen, moet in de komende dagen blijken.
Ontvang meldingen bij nieuws
The pressure continues to increase
Over the past week and a half, there have been intense negotiations on the so-called Global inventoryIt is a document in which countries record the state of combating climate change and what needs to be done in the coming years.
There are now all kinds of options on the table for intervention in the energy sector. For example, phasing out fossil fuels, increasing the amount of green energy, or electrifying the global automobile fleet. It is also possible to focus on quickly closing coal-fired power plants or continuing to use fossil fuels with an emphasis on CO2 storage. Then there is the “nuclear option” that could take all of these options off the table.
However, the latter possibility does not seem to be a realistic possibility. Pressure has increased dramatically in recent days for an ambitious declaration on fossil fuels, thanks in part to the thousands of representatives of scientific and activist groups present at the climate summit. If not much is done in this area, many will view the summit as a failure.
Jeroen Kraan is klimaatverslaggever
The president wants a pioneering result
This is exactly what Sultan Al Jaber, the controversial president of the conference, does not want to happen. The chief diplomat and oil executive always stresses that he has a groundbreaking outcome in mind. Some see this as a reason for cautious optimism about the results of the climate summit.
Al Jaber will have a more prominent role in the coming days, because as president, he now has to get everyone on the same page. He wants negotiators to meet on Sunday afternoon in one central consultation group, called… council. Participants rushed to Wikipedia to look up what that meant: a kind of consultative parliament.
The aim is for all senior negotiators there to address all outstanding issues at once. The art of the climate summit is to keep negotiating until everyone is equally dissatisfied.
Water with wine
There is a big problem that remains to be solved related to climate adaptation: adaptation to a warmer planet. A global adaptation target is scheduled to be set this year. This would be equivalent to the goals of the Paris Agreement, but aimed at protecting the world’s population from the consequences of climate change.
Negotiations on this issue have completely stopped over the past week and a half. The countries have not yet formally met on the content, but are stuck in procedural discussions. It was not announced until Saturday evening that a preliminary draft of the text on this topic had been prepared. This will be the starting point for further negotiations on Sunday morning.
It is unclear what the target will look like. But just as important is the amount of money available for climate adaptation in poor countries. In this regard, rich countries may have to make concessions. This could create space for ambitious energy measures.
Approval is required from all countries
This appeared to be confirmed on Saturday by Alpha Kaluga, chief negotiator on behalf of a group of more than fifty African countries. “For us, adaptation is essential, but combating climate change is even more important,” he said.
This may be a signal that his group, like the European Union, is open to taking far-reaching measures regarding fossil fuels. Developing countries want rich countries to commit to greening faster, because they have more money to do so.
Saudi Arabia remains the biggest hurdle in the fossil fuel debate. The Minister of Energy of that oil-producing country said that his country would not accept a text on phasing out fossil fuels.
In Dubai, the resolution requires the approval of all countries, so in theory Saudi Arabia could single-handedly block all proposals. Other countries hope that diplomatic pressure will be increased to the point that the country will agree – very reluctantly. This should happen on Tuesday, the final day of the summit.
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