COP28 photo by COP28 on X
Governments will now be invited to consider the text. Photo from a COP28 event at Expo City Dubai. Image Credit: X/COP28_UAE

Dubai: A new draft agreement of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement, shared by the UAE Presidency at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai on Monday, has outlined plans to decrease the consumption and production of fossil fuels by 2050.

"Reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net zero by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science" reads the draft which was released on the penultimate day of the two-week climate conference.

The text also says that coal should be "rapidly" phased down, with limitations on new power generation. Governments have until tomorrow, Tuesday, to consider and agree with its contents before a resolution is adopted. The 21-page plan is meant to bring projections of global temperature increases to below 1.5C. The draft has refrained from using terms such as "phase out" or "phase down" of fossil fuels, which have been contentious points of debate for the past two weeks.

"Now, it is in the hands of the Parties, who we trust to do what is best for humanity and the planet," said the COP28 Presidency. After the draft was proposed, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President, said there was still "a lot to do" for countries to finalise an agreement on fossil fuels.

"You know what remains to be agreed [upon], and you know that I want you to deliver the highest ambition on all items, including on fossil fuel language. If I can help, my door remains wide open to all of you," Dr Al Jaber told delegates at a closing Plenary on Monday.

"We need to focus everyone on closing out the toughest issues that continue to remain. I need all parties to show even more flexibility to get us to the finish line."

Acceleration to clean energy

The draft recommended phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and do not address energy poverty or transitions as soon as possible.

It also called for tripling renewable energy capacity globally by 2030, accelerating zero and low-emissions technologies. It also called on countries to accelerate and substantially reduce non-CO2 emissions, including methane emissions, by 2030.

'Need better language on fossil fuels'

"It is good to see the language on justice and equity entering into the fossil fuel text, but there is no text on fossil fuel phase-out," said Catherine Abreu, founder and executive director of Canada-based non-profit climate agency Destination Zero.

She said compromises have been made regarding phasing out fossil fuels, while there is strong language around scaling up abatement technology. She said abatement technology has a limited role and cannot replace renewable technology.

Several climate experts at the conference hope the language on fossil fuels in the draft agreement will change in 24 hours.

Shuo Li, director of China Climate Hub of Asia Society Policy Institute, said Parties still have the opportunity to reintroduce the language on phasing- out of fossil fuels when they come up with the final agreement. The earlier drafts of the agreement, released last week, listed at least four options that advocated for fossil fuel phase-out.

Harjeet Singh, the Head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International, said, "A lot depends on how civil societies and vulnerable countries respond. Several developed countries should come on board as well."

Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) – an international alliance of countries working together to phase out oil and gas production – said on Monday that the conference needs to develop ambitious and precise actions to stop oil and gas exploitation. Colombian Minister of Environment María Susana Muhamad and French Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher have called for a just phase-out and orderly transition of fossil fuels.