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EU wants “unabated” fossil phase out at Cop28 in Dubai

Already in 2022 the EU tried to push the proposal to the climate summit in Egypt

– The European Union will use the Cop28 in Dubai to weave a global agreement on the fossil phase-out. After months of discussions, the 27 yesterday put the stamp on the common negotiating position that the EU will hold at the climate summit in December. The strongest option, that of a “pure” phasing-out, has not passed, but the text approved by the European Environment Ministers is still solid and ambitious enough to give a real breakthrough to the climate negotiations. Putting on the table a theme that for 28 years remained a taboo: the farewell to gas, oil and coal that is the main responsible for the climate crisis.

What the EU wants to achieve with the fossil phase-out

Europe is not aiming for a stop to fossil graves. The initial text was modified to leave a window – not small – to the use of fossil fuels in the coming decades. The EU will call for the gradual abandonment of “unabated” fossil fuels, that is to say, those that are used without technologies to reduce emissions.

On the one hand, there is a new principle, namely that we must say enough about all fossil fuels. Today climate diplomacy has managed, with difficulty, to set an expiration date only for coal (at the Cop26 in Glasgow, two years ago). On the other hand, the proposal is part of a path that has already been well established for years of negotiations, namely the reference to technologies for reducing emissions. That is the lifeline to which all the big oil and gas-producing countries (primarily Saudi Arabia) cling so as not to have to transform the foundations of their economies. And which they would hardly be willing to give up during Cop28.

Italy has lobbied to speak only of unabated fossilsAlthough the EU maintains the reference to unabated (also requested by Italy, according to Reuters)The final text of COP28 should include specifications to limit abuses and prevent these countries from continuing with business as usual while betraying the spirit of the agreement. The text approved by the EU, in fact, stresses that these technologies (all those for the capture, storage and use of CO2, CCUS), “exist on a limited scale and must be used to reduce emissions mainly from sectors difficult to break down”. Where possible, therefore, we must replace fossils with other less impacting fuels. And the use of these technologies “should not be used to slow down the climate action”. Stick to your anchor, the EU says to the producer countries, but know that the ship must go ahead and get rid of the ballast.

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