DUBAI: UN climate chief Simon Stiell accused nations of “posturing” at the COP28 talks in Dubai on Wednesday and urged them to reach an ambitious deal to ensure the world meets its targets against global warming.
Stiell called a brief press conference as countries were sharply divided over the fate of fossil fuels in a new draft agreement, with a week left for negotiators to reach a deal.
“We have a starting text on the table, but it’s a grab bag of … wish lists and heavy on posturing,” Stiell said.
“The key now is to sort the wheat from the chaff,” he added.
The latest text includes a new phrase calling for an “orderly and just” phase-out of fossil fuels.
The language could signal a consensus candidate as it would give countries different timelines to cut emissions depending on their level of development and reliance on fossil fuels.
But there is another option: no mention at all of fossil fuels, which reflects opposition from nations including Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, according to several observers who attended the closed meetings.
India on Tuesday evening also opposed naming specific sectors or energy sources, one observer said.
Scaling up renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels is crucial to the world’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“If we want to save lives now and keep (the) 1.5C goal within reach, the highest ambition COP outcomes must stay front and centre,” Stiell said.
“At the end of next week, we need COP to deliver a bullet train to speed up climate action. We currently have an old caboose chugging over rickety tracks,” he added.
“The tools are all there on the table. The technologies and solutions exist. It’s time for governments and negotiators to pick them up and put them to work.”