A record number of people attended COP28 in Dubai, including thousands of activists and members of civil society.
A record number of people attended COP28 in Dubai, including thousands of activists and members of civil society. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: UAE’s COP28 went into overtime on Tuesday and countries continued crunch talks late into the night to resolve a deadlock over the highly-contended debate over the future of fossil fuels.

“Overnight and throughout today, the COP28 President and his team have been engaging in extensive consultations with a wide representation of negotiating groups and Parties. This is to ensure everyone is heard, and all views are considered. He is determined to deliver a version of the text that has the support of all Parties. Consultations will continue until 3am GST,” said a statement from COP28.

Earlier in the day, the UAE Presidency of COP28 had announced a second draft of the Global Stocktake after the first iteration of the document, issued late on Monday, caused ‘deeply split views’ among the Parties.

Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, Director-General of COP28, announced Tuesday - the scheduled final day of the UN Climate Conference, “Lots of Parties felt it didn't fully address their concerns. We expected that. In fact, we wanted the text to spark conversations, and that's what's happened.”

Al Suwaidi insisted this is ‘entirely’ normal for a consensus-based process. “When we released it, we knew opinions were polarized, but we didn't know where each country's like red lines were.”

However, at the time of going to print the new draft was yet to be released. Sources said that countries were engaged in ‘shuttle diplomacy’ in pursuit of the new draft agreement.

Germany’s Climate Envoy Jennifer Morgan said talks had entered a ‘critical, critical phase. “There is a lot of shuttle diplomacy going on,” she posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), referring to the fast-paced meetings between countries seeking compromise.

read more from the COP28

What is causing the deadlock?

The coalition of countries who advocated for the phase-out of fossil fuels in the Stocktake text, especially island nations, had strongly opposed Monday's draft.

The EU and the US are also among the coalition of pro-fossil fuel phase-out nations. The text had suggested eight options countries ‘could’ take to cut emissions. Moreover, there was also pushback from developing countries over adoption and climate finance measures published in the draft.

New draft

“The text (new) includes all the elements we need for a comprehensive plan to 2030. It's all that mitigation adaptation means of implementation loss and damage. And we've been seeking the right balance between those elements,” said Al Suwaidi.

He said, “We will open to further feedback when the new text is released.

“The Presidency is calling for the highest possible ambition, and we're committed to helping the parties agree on the best plan they can for the world. We will keep you updated as best we can,” he said.

In response to a Gulf News question about COP running into overtime, Al Suwaidi said, “Our COP Presidency will do whatever is needed to make sure that we get that outcome today. I think we can work to deliver.”