Overnight talks held on climate intensified during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, extending beyond the host-imposed deadline. The negotiations persisted as nations voiced discontent over a proposed compromise on fossil fuels. COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber remains resolute in securing a deal text with the backing of all parties, leading to the extension of consultations into the early hours of Wednesday, as stated by a COP28 spokesperson.
US climate envoy John Kerry announced that the next draft of the COP28 summit deal text would contain stronger language regarding the future of fossil fuels. This development follows concerns from at-risk nations about the compromise on phasing out fossil fuels. Overnight talks held on climate were critical in shaping this decision, reflecting the urgency and significance of ongoing negotiations.
UK Minister Returns for Critical Vote Amid Summit Uncertainty
In a surprising move, British minister Graham Stuart, representing the UK at COP28, flew back to London to vote on a controversial policy related to asylum seekers in Rwanda. Stuart, the minister of state for Energy Security and Net Zero, expressed dissatisfaction with the current draft and emphasized the need for a more ambitious outcome. Critics, however, questioned the timing of his departure and the policy priorities.
Oxfam’s senior climate change policy adviser, Chiara Liguori, commented, “There can be no more tragic outcome for UK climate diplomacy than this – flying home from talks to avert a climate catastrophe at the most critical moment in an attempt to salvage a cruel and impractical policy.“
Despite the ongoing negotiations, foundations and funders pledged at least $2.1 billion in new financing to address climate impacts, particularly in agriculture, and support vulnerable communities. The commitments came from various foundations, private companies, and some government partnerships. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Arab Emirates jointly pledged $100 million each, with a focus on agricultural research.
COP28 Director General Majid Al Suwaidi expressed the presidency’s ambition to include a “historic” mention of the future of fossil fuels in the next draft text. However, the decision ultimately rests with the nearly 200 nations participating in the talks. Al Suwaidi highlighted the summit’s aspiration to achieve something unprecedented.
The United Arab Emirates, as the host of COP28, stated its commitment to seeking consensus with a new draft deal. Amid criticism of the language on fossil fuels, COP28 Director General Majid Al Suwaidi emphasized the importance of incorporating diverse views into the text.
Negotiations Continue Beyond Deadline as Criticism Mounts
Despite a deadline set by the Emirati hosts passing without a deal, negotiators signalled their readiness to continue discussions. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock affirmed their preparedness to stay longer, acknowledging the importance of the ongoing negotiations. Campaigners had hoped for a historic call to phase out fossil fuels, but the latest draft fell short, presenting measures nations “could” take rather than demanding concrete action.
As the fate of the COP28 agreement hangs in the balance, the international community awaits the outcome of extended negotiations and the potential inclusion of stronger language on fossil fuels in the final text.