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COP28: From loss and damage to fossil fuel phase-out

cop28/fossil fuel

COP28: From loss and damage to fossil fuel phase-out

 

Nigeria’s delegation has seized the spotlight at COP28, not for their expertise, but for their staggering size, a whooping 1,411 delegates, second only to China. However, this massive representation raises eyebrows as doubts persist about the delegates’ understanding of complex COP negotiation procedures. Amid this tumult, the primary focus of COP28 to curb climate change remains unchanged. From COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, to COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, the Africa Climate Week organized by the African Development Bank Group in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2023 (Africa’s 11th Conference on the subject), and now the COP 28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the goal has been to keep global warming to a limit of 1.5C or 2 C.– the second threshold in the Paris Agreement.

 

The main achievement of this year’s event would be the resolve on Day One to agree on a loss and damage deal for greenhouse gas emissions. Payments are to be made into the fund voluntarily. The World Bank will host the fund for four years on an interim basis. Several countries have already made pledges: Germany ($100 m), UAE ($100m), United States ($17.5 m) and Japan ($10 m). Despite the historic achievement of securing pledges from these countries, the road ahead is still long, and the stakes are high. It is important that we recognize President Tinubu’s efforts this year at COP28, he has been very active and participated in high-level sessions where he shared the platform with world leaders including the COP 28 President, Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, former US Vice President and Climate Change activist, John Kerry and the Chinese Envoy on Climate Change.

 

President Tinubu has also met on the sidelines with Chancellor Olaf Scholz with whom he discussed Nigeria’s energy needs and the need to deepen collaboration with Germany, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, President William Ruto of Kenya, President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, and climate activist and philanthropist, Michael Bloomberg. He has made statements about Nigeria’s commitment to end gas flaring, reduce carbon footprint, and commit not just to an energy mix, but an eco-friendly future driven by sustainable, alternative energy to turn Nigeria into an investment-friendly environment for carbon market investments. He has also been using every opportunity to ask for collaboration with other nations.

 

However, the large delegation has cast a shadow on what could have been a defining moment for Nigeria on the global stage. This overshadowing may impact economic diplomacy and sovereignty affirmation, turning the country’s significant outing into a topic of scrutiny. Beyond all this, the overall success at COP28 will depend on the final agreement as regards phasing out fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels for energy is the biggest cause of climate change. It is also the engine of modern life – even with the growth of renewables, fossil fuels produce around 80% of the world’s energy.

 

The COP26 summit in Glasgow in 2021 made the first tangible progress toward a fossil fuel exit deal with an agreement to reduce coal use, but without mentioning oil and gas. Now at COP28 in Dubai, more than 100 countries including the US and the EU, are pushing for a broader pact to phase out all CO2-emitting fossil fuels. While some other countries may not have voiced their hypocrisy openly, some of the world’s biggest carbon emitters like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China have made their opposition against a full fossil fuel phaseout known. Some representatives of African nations have said they could support a phase-out deal if wealthy countries, who have long produced and used fossil fuels, agree to quit first.

 

The stance of major carbon emitters against a full phase-out, and the conditional support from some African nations, underscore the contentious nature of this battle. It is safe to say this is one of the most controversial issues that has been raised so far at COP28 and failure to reach a consensus on the future of fossil fuels by December 12 may well be the major story of COP 28.

 

 

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