Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

6 Dec 2023

Good COP or bad COP?

Posted by Michael Keating

It’s a troubling sign when the person heading global negotiations to stop climate change is the head of one of the world’s largest oil companies. The president of COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference is Sultan al-Jaber, who is also the head of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil firm, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Early in the meeting he was quoted as saying there was no science to say that we need to phase out fossil fuels to control climate change. That goes against decades of scientific findings that we must rapidly stop burning coal, oil and gas to cut the amount of climate damage. al-Jaber later said: “We very much believe and respect the science.” Jim Skea, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the meeting there is a global scientific consensus agreed to by governments. It states that by 2050 coal use is virtually be eliminated and oil use had to be reduced by 60 per cent and gas use by 45 per cent by 2050,

The conference this year in Dubai is shaping up as a titanic struggle between fossil fuel producers and people trying to stop environmental destruction. The meeting opened not with a promise to reduce climate pollution but with an offer to pay compensation to poor countries for some of the damage climate change is causing. We have just come through a year of devastating climate extremes and countries already suffering from the effects of climate chaos want actual reductions in pollution. More than half the 198 countries at COP28 called for a fuel phaseout, an immediate end to all new oil and gas production, and clear end dates for fossil fuel production. The problem is they are asking rich petro states to stop making as much money. Many fossil fuel promoters, their heads firmly buried in oil-rich sands are trying to increase production. Although fossil fuel emissions continue to rise, there are some encouraging trends. More than 100 countries have pledged to triple their renewable capacity and double energy efficiency by the end of the decade. A number of countries are phasing out coal burning power plants and installing wind and solar power. The conference continues until Dec. 12.

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