The 28th World Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai, a gathering of international delegates engaged in intense negotiations on climate policies, is currently underway. The conference has been marked by decisive stances and heated debates, with the spotlight on the EU Climate Commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, and his firm advocacy for a complete phase-out of fossil fuels.
The Bold Stance of Wopke Hoekstra
Hoekstra, a former Shell oil manager who recently joined the EU Commission, has been outspoken about the urgent need to end the reliance on fossil fuels. He acknowledged that certain sectors would find this transition challenging but did not specify which ones. Hoekstra's stance has added a new dimension to the ongoing discussions and set a tone of urgency for action.
UN Climate Chief Calls for Ambitious Goals
Simon Stiell, the UN Climate Chief, emphasized the necessity for governments to set ambitious goals. He stressed on avoiding 'a collection of wish lists' and urged for a decisive statement signaling the end of the fossil fuel era. Stiell’s words echo the urgency felt by many about the impending climate crisis.
John Kerry on Fusion Energy and US Criticism
US Climate Envoy John Kerry highlighted the potential of fusion energy, labeling it as a game-changer that could revolutionize the world's energy supply. However, the US faced criticism for expanding oil and gas drilling and received the 'Fossil of the Day' award, reflecting the complex challenges and contradictions inherent in the global approach to climate change.
Despite the positive mood at the conference, challenges remain, particularly around the agreement on a departure from fossil energy. The final document of the conference is still under negotiation with options including the omission of any mention of phasing out fossil fuels. Oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia oppose a premature exit from fossil fuels, while other nations, including Germany and the EU, are pushing for a clear commitment to phasing them out.
The conference has seen a record attendance of lobbyists for coal, oil, and gas, with at least 2456 officially accredited, a fourfold increase from last year's meeting in Egypt. This presence highlights the significant influence the fossil fuel industry continues to wield in climate policy discussions.