Fossil phase out is Brussels’ number 1 target at COP28 on climate in December
Triple the installed capacity each year of renewables by 2030. Double the rate of increase in energy efficiency by the end of the decade. And say goodbye to all fossil sources without CO2 recovery “well before 2050“. These are the three major goals that the EU wants to achieve at the COP28 climate summit in December in Dubai, UAE.
This was announced by the vice president of the Commission with responsibility for climate, Frans Timmermans. The aim is to include all three elements in the final communiqué because they are “interconnected”. Linking them to what is becoming one of the results of the “flag” of the Emirate presidency since COP28 on climate, that is, a “Global Pledge on the Energy Transition”.
According to Timmermans, this global commitment cannot help but set ambition very high on these three points. On renewable energy, we must “triple the average annual spread” by 2030 and “make sure that the vast majority of new electricity capacity is made up of renewable energy“. On energy efficiency, we must “double the rate of annual improvement in this decade, compared to the previous decade“.
Phase out of fossil (emissions), what does the EU want at COP28 on climate?
Then there is one of the most difficult knots to untie, the phase out of fossils. For the EU, this is the number 1 objective to be achieved at COP28 on climate, taking up again the attempt made last year in Sharm el-Sheikh when the proposal had won the yes of 80-100 countries before being sunk without explanation by the Egyptian presidency.
But the new president of COP28, the Emirati Sultan al-Jaber who is also the head of the Adnoc, the state oil company of the UAE, immediately braked saying that at most we can talk about phase out of fossil emissions. A way to ensure that hydrocarbon extraction continues and can expand in the future, without changing the business model of fossil companies.
Timmermans responds with a change of strategy. Although he seems to have succumbed to UAE pressure, at least facade. “We need to phase out unabated fossil fuels well before 2050. This means phasing out coal and eliminating emissions from the oil and gas and products sold by oil and gas companies,” he said, echoing al-Jaber’s expression.
The only aspects on which the EU takes stock are the (ambitious) date and the role of unabated fossils. Fossils with CO2 capture “must be residual and only in areas that are difficult to break down. The industry has the burden of proving that this is achievable and proposing credible investment strategies in carbon abatement technologies,” added the Commission’s vice president.
A condition, that on the very limited use of technologies for the capture and the storage of the CO2 (CCS), than in fact would force however the field to a phase out even if “masked“. If the point is to reduce emissions and CCS should only be used in the hard to abate sectors, then all other high emission activities cannot have a long life.