COP28 climate talks into extra time with no deal in sight

COP28 climate summit was in overtime as representatives from 200 countries debate a draft climate deal, including a reference to phasing out fossil fuels

Climate activists protest during the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28. (photo: DW)
Climate activists protest during the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28. (photo: DW)
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The UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28, was slated to end on Tuesday, 12 December even as hopes to finish the summit on time faded with negotiations dragged into the early morning hours.

A deadline set by the Emirati hosts of the talk passed Tuesday morning, 12 December without a final agreement.

A draft of a potential climate agreement outlined a range of strategies countries could adopt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it omitted a crucial demand from many nations: the "phase out" of fossil fuels.

The 21-page draft deal, unveiled on Monday evening, has drawn vehement criticism from the United States, the European Union, climate-vulnerable nations, environmental experts.

War for survival

Representatives from about 200 nations are at loggerheads over the potential agreement on phasing out fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.

Several countries, including China and major oil producers like Saudi Arabia, have reportedly been opposing agreements that envision the end of fossil fuel utilization.

Representatives from Pacific Island nations Samoa and the Marshall Islands, already witnessing the repercussions of rising seas, said the draft document was a death knell.

"We will not go silently to our watery graves," said John Silk, the head of the Marshall Islands delegation.

"We cannot sign on to a text that does not have strong commitment on phasing out fossil fuels," Samoa's Environment minister Cedric Schuster told the media.

US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry said he draft agreement had to be strengthened.

Speaking with voice worn hoarse by the summit, he said the outcome of COP28 was existential: "This is a war for survival".

Summit to run overtime

EU chief negotiator Wopke Hoekstra told reporters the draft was "clearly insufficient and not adequate to addressing the problem we are here to address."

"It is difficult to come to a result here by midday (Tuesday)," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

"This is not a problem for the European delegation. We have time and we are prepared to stay a little longer," she added,

Meanwhile, the President of COP28, Sultan Al Jaber, who has used the conference to call for a archetype shift, called on the nations at the conference to redouble their efforts ahead of the scheduled end of the summit, saying they "still have a lot to do".

"You know what remains to be agreed. And you know that I want you to deliver the highest ambition on all items including on fossil fuel language," he stressed.

Deals at UN climate summits must be passed by consensus among the nearly 200 countries present.

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Published: 12 Dec 2023, 3:58 PM
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