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OPEC urges blocking of fossil fuel measures at COP28

French Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher on Saturday expressed herself as “shocked” after the group of oil-exporting countries OPEC urged its members to block any fossil deal fuel at the COP28 conference.

First change: 10/12/2023 – 02:59

3 min

“I am shocked by these statements from OPEC +. And I am angry,” he stated from the UN climate conference in Dubai, adding that “the position of OPEC + endangers the weakest countries and the poorest population, which are the first victims of this situation.

Pannier-Runacher stated that he “hopes that the COP28 presidency will not be influenced by these statements and will reach an agreement that confirms a clear goal of eliminating fossil fuels.”

OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais this week sent a letter to the group’s 13 members and its ten allies after negotiators meeting in Dubai released a draft agreement that included calls for the progressive elimination of fossil fuels.

The Opec Logo Is Photographed Before An Informal Meeting Between Members Of The Organization Of The Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) In Algiers, Algeria, September 28, 2016.

The OPEC logo is pictured in front of an informal meeting between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Algiers, Algeria, September 28, 2016. © Ramzi Boudina / Reuters

In the letter sent on Wednesday, Ghais urged the group to “actively reject any text or formula that focuses on energy, i.e. fossil fuels, instead of emissions,” warning that the “inappropriate and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels may reach a tipping point.

Unpublished letter from OPEC on climate negotiations

The letter angered activists and the High Ambition Coalition, a broad group of countries from Barbados to France to Kenya and the Pacific islands.

The Spanish Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, described the call as “disgusting.”

This is the first time that the OPEC secretariat has intervened in the UN climate negotiations with a letter of this type, Alden Meyer, an analyst at the E3G think tank, told Reuters. “This indicates a sign of panic,” he added.

Saudi Arabia is the main producer of OPEC and the de facto leader of the organization, Russia is a member of the OPEC+ group.

By insisting on focusing on emissions rather than fossil fuels, both countries appear to be relying on the promise of expensive carbon capture technology, which the UN’s climate science panel says cannot replace those reducing the use of fossil fuels worldwide.

“A lot of issues to solve”

Some countries, such as India and China, did not explicitly support the elimination of fossil fuels at COP28, but supported the popular call to increase renewable energy.

Xie Zhenhue, China’s top climate representative, described this year’s summit as the most difficult of his career.

Cop28 President Sultan Al-Jaber Attended A Debriefing Plenary Session During The Cop28 Un Climate Summit, Saturday, December 9, 2023, In Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber at the annual United Nations climate summit on December 9, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ©AP/Peter Dejong

“I have been participating in these climate negotiations for 16 years,” he told reporters. “The most difficult meeting of the year. There are many issues to be resolved.”

He said there was little chance the summit would be called a success if countries failed to agree on language on the future of fossil fuels.

India’s Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav demanded “fairness and justice” in any deal and argued that rich countries should lead global climate action.

Broader diplomatic complaints were also voiced at the podium on Saturday, drowning out the attention given to global warming.

A Russian representative said in a speech that Moscow is studying whether some of the roughly $300 billion in gold reserves frozen by the West after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be used for a fund to climate damage for developing countries.

Meanwhile, China complained about what it called unacceptable talks about Taiwan’s participation in the talks. And a Palestinian representative criticized Israel’s war on Gaza, saying the conflict made it difficult to focus on climate change efforts.

With Reuters and AFP

Adapted from its original English

World Nation News Desk
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