The head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Simon Stiell, urged nations to end the era of fossil fuels and cease 'pretending' in their climate action strategies. The appeal comes ahead of COP28, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where the world's nations will converge to evaluate their climate commitments and set new targets.
A Call for Genuine Climate Action
Addressing the preparatory phase of the conference, Stiell expressed dissatisfaction with the current pace and commitment of countries in tackling climate change. He accused countries of 'posturing' and emphasized the need for highest ambition, rather than point scoring or lowest common denominator politics.
European Union, small island nations, and developing countries have shown support for phasing out fossil fuels. However, significant opposition is anticipated from countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China. These nations, heavily dependent on fossil fuels, pose a challenge to the global decarbonization goal.
The Warmest Year on Record
Adding to the sense of urgency, European Union scientists have warned that 2023 would likely be the warmest year on record. This prediction adds significant pressure on COP28 negotiators to phase out carbon dioxide-emitting coal, oil, and gas, marking an end to the fossil fuel era.
The conference will also discuss the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, a proposal that could impact African countries. This mechanism is designed to adjust the cost of carbon emissions on imports, potentially affecting trade relations with countries that are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Stiell's call for action is seen as a direct response to such complex issues and divisive politics.