COP28: final stretch in Dubai, "not a minute to lose", says the UN

The final stretch at COP 28 in Dubai. The international climate conference is scheduled to end on Tuesday 12 December. Pairs of North-South ministers have been appointed to steer discussions on the points of contention. They met with the UAE presidency overnight to come up with a new draft agreement.

The main debating hall of COP28 in Dubai (illustrative image). © Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

By: RFI Follow


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The first point that always blocks during the discussions is fossil fuels, explains our special correspondent in Dubai, Jeanne Richard. While a large majority of countries, on all continents, now seem to want an agreement to clearly write that we must put an end to gas, oil and coal, a small group is fiercely blocking: this is the case of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies (Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain). But also Iraq, India and Russia.

The Saudi representative asked to take into account the "concerns" of Riyadh, whose economy depends on oil. The United States and China, on the other hand, do not seem to be enthusiastic about the idea of phasing out fossil fuels, but are more flexible and constructive. And as we know, no agreement will be made without the approval of the world's two leading powers. As for African countries, they are still worried about the means to finance this transition.

Accommodation needs

The other issue that is blocking is adaptation. We must be carefulnot to forget the need to adapt to climate change that is already taking place right now. It is really "the priority of priorities" for the continent, an African negotiator told RFI. Africa does not have the means to cope with weather disasters and wants to have the promise of rich countries to double financial aid in this area written "in black and white".

A promise made three years ago but which has been slow to materialize. The idea is to force them to honour their commitments but also to describe who should pay and how much to raise the promised forty billion dollars. The UN estimates the needs for the countries of the South at 387 billion by 2030.

« Race against time »

Sports metaphors are the order of the day on Monday, December 11, in Dubai as COP28 is supposed to end tomorrow and the last night was short for everyone. "We are in a race against time," thundered UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who arrived the previous evening, before calling on countries to show "good faith" and "maximum flexibility" to avoid a huge disappointment on Tuesday.

He was very clear: COP28 must call for a "fossil fuel phase-out", but "this does not mean that all countries must exit fossil fuels at the same time". In other words, rich countries must set an example, and help the poorest to finance their solar power plants or the electrification of their factories.

(With AFP)

Read alsoCOP28: constructive negotiations underway, despite resistance from oil-producing countries

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