COP28: UN chief calls on world leaders to plan for a future without fossil fuels

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Picture: Xinhua / Li Muzi

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Picture: Xinhua / Li Muzi

Published Dec 5, 2023


By Radhika Bajaj, CGTN, Dubai

More than 160 world leaders have gathered in Dubai for COP28. Delegates have committed to providing billions of dollars towards supporting developing countries in climate finance.

On Friday, fossil fuels continued to be at the centre of the conversation.

A universal call by world leaders to unite, act and deliver on climate action.

Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang also addressed the conference stressing that China is firm in its commitments towards the Paris agreement.

He proposed that when it comes to climate action, countries should adhere to multilateralism, step up green energy transition and increase implementation towards delivering on existing commitments. The Vice Premier also sought developed countries' increased support in areas of finance and technology towards developing nations building climate resilience.

The fanfare of the welcoming ceremony was followed by strong words by the UN Chief, seeking a firm timeline to phase out fossil fuels.

Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General said: "The 1.5 degrees limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels, not reduce, not abate, phase out with a clear time frame aligned with 1.5 degrees."

Guterres also warned oil companies to change their business models and embrace renewables. Phasing out of fossil fuels is a major point of negotiations at the climate conference this year, which is being hosted, ironically, by one of the world's major oil producers.

The United Arab Emirates on Friday announced it would contribute $30 billion to a new fund aiming to divert private sector capital towards climate investments especially in the Global South. Observers say this commitment would be enough to silence any concerns from critics.

Britain's King Charles III spoke at the conference, expressing his deep worry over the Global Stocktake report that shows a great gap between promises and delivery.

"I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another critical turning point towards genuine transformational action, at a time when already as scientists have been warning we have been seeing an alarming tipping points being reached," Charles said.

With 2023 being the hottest year ever on record, there is a chorus for increasing targets towards energy transition and carbon capturing. Topics that are expected to make up for some heated negotiations.

* This article was originally published by CGTN.