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Fossil phase down, even the EU is to approve it at COP27


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Original fossil phase down proposal from New Delhi

( – While the negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh continue without twists and turns and an agreement on the hottest issues seems far away, a “flag” victory could come from a dossier that has never really been on the agenda. But it’s starting to gain acceptance. It’s the fossil phase down, the gradual reduction in the use of all fossil sources.

India proposed it first on 12 November, at the beginning of the second week of discussions at COP27. From the beginning the idea seemed to fall on deaf ears. Few reactions, even fewer hopes. But yesterday came the endorsement from Europe. The third and fourth-world polluters would agree to include the phase down of fossils in the cover decision of Sharm el-Sheikh.

We support any call for a gradual reduction in all fossil fuels,” said EU Vice President Frans Timmermans at a press conference in Egypt. “But we also need to make sure that this demand does not detract from previous agreements on the gradual reduction of coal, so if we add to what was already agreed in Glasgow, the EU will support this proposal”.

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It was India, a year ago, that tripped the Glasgow Climate Pact on fossils. At the last second, the New Delhi delegate had asked (and obtained) to change the phase-out in phase down, the elimination in reduction. Not of all the fossils but only of the coal.

Too much enthusiasm would be misplaced, even if this proposal were to find its place in the final decision of COP27. Striving to gradually reduce fossils is not in itself a guarantee of rapid action within this decade, which is needed to limit global warming to 1.5 ºC. It can easily become a smokescreen, a long-term target good more for a country that wants to clean up its climate image than for the climate itself.

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