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COP28: Nations strain for consensus as climate talks stretch into overtime

Released after 11 days of intense negotiations, Monday's draft deal exposed stark disparities in the expectations of both developed and developing nations

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Rich countries, such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the European Union, have been pushing for an agreement on "phase out of all fossil fuels", the root cause of the climate crisis.

Press Trust of India Dubai

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Hectic negotiations continued behind closed doors at the Dubai Expo City Centre long after the 11 am deadline, with officials trying to find common ground on key sticking points, including finance and fossil fuels.
Around 10 pm, a COP28 spokesperson updated the media that consultations will continue until 3 am (Dubai time), which effectively means a plenary session to adopt a deal could be held in the morning.
"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," the spokesperson said.
Released after 11 days of intense negotiations, Monday's draft deal exposed stark disparities in the expectations of both developed and developing nations.
Rich countries, such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the European Union, have been pushing for an agreement on "phase out of all fossil fuels", the root cause of the climate crisis.
But many countries in the Global South are resisting it, saying it should come with public finance and technological support to help them adapt to climate impacts and leapfrog to renewables in a fair and equitable way.
Until a day ago, the Dubai climate conference appeared poised for a phase-out of fossil fuels. But it seems out of reach now as developed countries have so far not offered adequate means of implementation -- finance and technology.
Observers emphasize that countries, based on this deal, will announce their new action plan next year to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. Hence, securing an ambitious agreement is crucial.
Exactly eight years ago in Paris, nations agreed to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, and ideally no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Since then, 1.5 degrees Celsius is considered the guardrail to avoid worsening of climate impacts.
A negotiator from the GlobalSouth said that "ambition cannot be raised without substantial financial support, which should be in trillions".
The draft released on Monday listed eight options that "could" slash greenhouse gas emissions. These include "reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels in a just, orderly, and equitable manner to achieve net-zero emissions by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with science".
The text featured stringent language, although optional, regarding coal, to the detriment of heavily coal-dependent countries like India and China.
However, there was no mention of oil and gas in the 21-page document.Around 40 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions stem from coal, with oil and gas accounting for the remaining percentage.
India, which relies on coal for about 70 per cent of its power generation, aims to add 17 gigawatts of coal-based power generation capacity in the next 16 months.
India and China have voiced strong concerns about the "targeting of coal". Together with other developing countries, they have demanded a revision of the entire paragraph 39 of the draft document, which lists options to slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, a negotiator from the Global South said on Tuesday.
The developing countries have also called on rich nations to vacate carbon space by achieving negative carbon emissions (removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than emitted), not merely reaching net zero by 2050.
Developing country groups such as G77+China, Like Minded Developing Countries, and BASIC grouping (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) stressed the principles of equity common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities be strongly reflected in the text.
These principles acknowledge that countries' efforts to combat climate change should be considered in light of their contributions to total emissions and that rich nations should bear primary responsibilities due to their substantial historical emissions.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Dec 13 2023 | 7:27 AM IST

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