December 11, 2023 responds to weak language on fossil fuel phase-out and renewables target in COP28’s draft text

Global – Hours away from the conclusion of COP28, the draft of the final text has surfaced with major gaps, deliberate omissions, and unacceptable loopholes that allow for a continued global fossil fuel dependency and fail to address the climate crisis with the urgent, course correction needed for the most pressing issue of our time.

For COP28 to successfully safeguard the future of people and planet, the final text needs to explicitly call for an unequivocal fossil fuel phaseout and an equitable and quantifiable powering up of renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.

Cansin Leylim, Associate Director of Global Campaigns,

“The COP28 draft text has surfaced. Its non-binding, vague, and elusive language is extremely disappointing to say the least, and falls far short of the urgent response the climate crisis demands of us, and what so many communities, experts, and negotiators have been fighting for. Like the smog-ridden Dubai skyline, the mention of fossil fuels in the final outcome is at best murky, and at worst, dangerous. This outcome leaves the doors wide open to dangerous distractions and false technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS),  which will surely blow us past the 1.5°C planetary limit, and fails to integrate the crucial finance and equitability aspects of the just transition to renewable energy that we need.”

Joseph  Sikulu, Pacific Managing Director,

“The COP28 draft text is unacceptable, and far below the ambition required to keep our islands afloat. This week we felt that the goal of phasing out fossil fuels was within reach, but the lack of climate leadership shown by the presidency and the blatant watering down of commitments to a “wish list” is an insult to those of us that came here to fight for our survival. How do we go home and tell our people that this is what the world has to say about our futures?”

Jeff Ordower, North America Director, 

“The draft text coming out of COP28 is completely at odds with our climate goals. Let’s be clear: the text we see today is partly the work of the richest nations, including the US, trying to pull a bait and switch behind the scenes to distort the meaning of ‘phaseout’ so they can keep burning and profiting off of fossil fuels. So today we say to President Biden, John Kerry, and all world leaders: you either support a fossil fuel phaseout and reject this text, or you don’t support a phaseout. This is your moment of truth.”

Andreas Sieber, Associate Director of Policy and Campaigns, 

“The COP28 draft text resembles a disjointed wish list, far from the stringent measures required to limit warming to 1.5°C. The presidency, displaying a troubling lack of leadership, has notably weakened commitments to phasing out fossil fuels and promoting renewables. By framing actions as ‘could’ instead of ‘shall,’ and with weak language on short-term declines and renewable targets, this draft falls short. Nations committed to climate action must reject this weakened proposal, insisting on transformative changes for a meaningful impact on global warming.” 

Landry Ninteretse, Regional Director,

“We will continue to push back on this draft text and reject it until leaders address the elephant in the room – fossil fuels – the primary cause of the climate crisis. In addition to scaling up renewable energy capacity, a fast and fair phaseout of fossil fuels is necessary to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees celsius and avert the worst impacts of climate change. The choice between whether or not to commit to the phase out of fossil fuels is not one at all – it’s an illusion of choice. If that isn’t included in the final text, this COP will be remembered as a victory of petrostates and carbon colonialists that have once again deliberately ignored the suffering and injustices of hundreds of millions in Africa.”

Peri Dias, Latin America representative at COP28,

“In the coming hours, we will either witness a historic decision for the good of the planet, or one for its end. Are the parties at COP28 going to agree to a rapid and fair elimination of fossil fuels or not? The climate movement in Latin America must continue with the pressure and continue to raise our voices so that world leaders in the Global North and their petrostate allies know that we will not accept the unacceptable. We need a formal commitment to phaseout fossil fuels and to promote renewable energies around the world – it is not enough that some countries do it and others do not; or that we leave here with only recommendations.”

Masayoshi Iyoda, Japan representative at COP28 says:


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