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Discussions at the 28th Conference of Parties (Cop28) are expected to ramp up in an effort to overcome the stalemate regarding the use of fossil fuels.

Discussions on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the severe consequences of the climate emergency will escalate in the coming days, as countries debate the potential discontinuation or gradual decrease of fossil fuel usage.

During the final five days of the Cop28 UN climate summit in Dubai, government officials will convene a series of discussions in an effort to resolve the deadlock and produce a document outlining a plan for limiting global temperature increase to 1.5C above preindustrial levels.

Simon Stiell, the leader of the United Nations’ efforts to address climate change, urged nations to provide their negotiators with specific instructions. He emphasized the need for ambitious action rather than focusing on political gains or settling for the lowest possible agreement. Stiell stressed that good intentions alone will not be enough to significantly reduce emissions in the next decade or immediately mitigate the impacts of climate change.

As the discussions come to an end, the host nation, the United Arab Emirates, plays a crucial role in determining the next steps. The president of Cop28, Sultan Al Jaber of the UAE, will work with his team to select pairs of ministers, with each pair consisting of one representative from a developed country and one from a developing country. Their objective is to collaborate and reach compromises.

Al Jaber, CEO of Adnoc, the national oil company of the UAE, intends to increase the production capacity of oil and gas. He faced criticism recently when the Guardian uncovered his statement denying the necessity of phasing out fossil fuels to limit global warming to 1.5C. In response, he stated his desire for a very ambitious outcome from the negotiations.

Al Jaber informed negotiators that their collective achievements in just one week were truly remarkable and historic. Through their efforts, they have proven that multilateralism is effective and thriving.

He is to convene a plenary session on Friday morning of all parties, at which he has promised to use “all the tools available” to forge an agreement. “The presidency will assess the status of the different items [under negotiation] and lay out a tailored approach to conclude all outstanding elements,” he said.

The presidency is responsible for monitoring the progress of all aspects of the negotiations, and its involvement is crucial. Previous concerns were raised by certain countries about the lack of transparency in the methods used by the Egyptian hosts at Cop27. They only shared portions of the draft text with select groups of negotiators in closed-off rooms.

This year, there will be a greater emphasis on transparency. The UAE hosts have a larger team and more resources to successfully facilitate input from over 190 countries.

The key draft text is to do with the global stocktake. This is a requirement of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a comprehensive assessment of the progress – or lack of it – towards the Paris goals of holding global temperature rises to “well below 2C” while “pursuing efforts” to limit temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The most disputed parts of this passage revolve around the potential elimination or reduction of fossil fuels. While over 100 countries back the idea of phasing out fossil fuels, they are met with strong resistance from certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, China, and India. It is uncertain whether any mention of fossil fuels will be included in the final version of the text.

The Guardian spoke with negotiators who stated that as the text transitions from the technical stage, which is overseen by government employees, to political discussions among primarily ministers, there is still a lack of clarity on what the final agreement may entail.

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The government officials have been in meetings for over a week now, and they will continue on Friday after taking a break on Thursday. As the Tuesday evening deadline for the discussions approaches, it is expected that there will still be disagreements on the most controversial matters.

Discussions were uplifted at the beginning, when, in an unprecedented manner, one of the most longstanding problems in climate talks was settled on the initial day. The term “loss and damage” refers to the financial assistance required for the recovery and rebuilding of impoverished and susceptible nations affected by climate-related catastrophes.

The fund became operational last week, in a unique display of solidarity, with over $800 million pledged so far. While this amount falls short of the expected needs of countries, which could reach hundreds of billions, it is a positive beginning.

After resolving the issues of loss and damage, countries were able to shift their focus to other aspects of the negotiations. These include the global stocktake and the “mitigation work programme,” as well as establishing a global goal for adaptation. Developing nations are advocating for a significant increase in climate finance dedicated to assisting them in adapting to the effects of severe weather. They believe that considerations of fairness, justice, human rights, and funding are crucial in addressing these issues.

The Guardian interviewed Madeleine Diouf Sarr, the chair of the least developed countries group from Senegal, who expressed the importance of the global stocktake. She emphasized the urgency of closing the gap to reach net zero emissions, as the world is already at a 1.2C increase. Sarr called for developed countries to take the lead in reducing emissions, acknowledging that it will require difficult negotiations. She emphasized the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, taking into account historical responsibility for emissions.

Source: theguardian.com