European Union countries have agreed to push for the global phaseout of fossil fuels at COP28.
It is part of the bloc’s promise to support and accelerate the energy transition ahead of the climate summit in Dubai this November.
Faced with climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and the fallout of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the EU says that our dependence on fossil fuels leaves us vulnerable.
Market volatility and geopolitical risk as well as the environmental and climate impacts of emissions-spewing fossil fuels are all grave concerns.
“The shift towards a climate neutral economy will require the global phase-out of unabated fossil fuels,” the Council stated in a text released on Thursday. Fossil fuel use should peak in the near future if we are to reach net zero, it adds, while acknowledging a transitional role for natural gas.
“The EU will systematically promote and call for a global move towards energy systems free of unabated fossil fuels well ahead of 2050.”
Did nations already agree to phase out fossil fuels at COP27?
Fossil fuels were a hot topic at COP27 in Egypt last November. However, countries failed to agree on a phaseout of oil and gas after intervention from oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia. The commitment to ‘phase out’ coal, meanwhile, was tempered down to ‘phase-down’ instead.
The EU has now strengthened its position by calling for “a resolute and just world-wide transformation towards climate neutrality, including a phasing out of unabated coal in energy production.” As a first step, it proposes “an immediate end to all financing of new coal infrastructure in third countries.”
It also promises to promote a global phase-out of environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies, while supporting the most vulnerable groups in a just transition to clean energy.
This brings hope that this year’s COP summit could lead to a phaseout deal that encompasses oil and gas as well as coal.
This could, however, be overshadowed by the UAE’s controversial decision to appoint an oil company boss as the president of the climate talks.