COP28: New GST draft text gives four options for move towards clean energy

Dubai, Dec 8 (PTI): A new draft of the Global Stocktake released on Friday here at the COP28 has four options for the move towards clean energy ranging from phase out of fossil fuels to no mention of the phase out at all.

The Global Stocktake is a fundamental component of the Paris Agreement of 2015 which is used to monitor its implementation and evaluate the collective progress made in achieving the agreed goals of restricting emission to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius as compared to the pre-industrial era.

At the ongoing climate change negotiations, called the Conference of Parties (COP28), the Global Stocktake (GST) text is the most crucial document set to be finalised by the negotiators by the end of this two-week long annual meet.

Several contentious issues, including proposals to phase out fossil fuels, triple renewables capacity, and double energy efficiency improvement – are still unresolved as negotiations continue in the second week.

The four options for the move towards clean energy in the 27-page latest draft are clearly chalked out.

The first option is phase out of fossil fuels in line with the best available science while the second is phasing out fossil fuels in alignment with the IPCC’s 1.5 pathways, and the Paris Agreement’s principles.

The third option is a phase-out of unabated fossil fuels recognizing the need for a peak in their consumption in this decade and underlining the importance for the energy sector to be predominantly free of fossil fuels well ahead of 2050. The fourth is phasing out unabated fossil fuels and to rapidly reducing their use to achieve Net Zero CO2 in energy systems by or around mid-century, according to the draft text.

The Global Stocktake draft “emphasises the importance of the Global Goal on Adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.” The GST draft urged developed country Parties to at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing country Parties from 2019 levels by 2025, in the context of achieving a balance between mitigation and adaptation in the provision of scaled-up financial resources.

On adaptation, the text emphasises on the importance of the global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal referred to in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.

The draft also provides multiple options for a combination of tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 and doubling the global average annual rate of energy-efficiency improvement compared to 2022.

Harjeet Singh, head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International, said the text between the sections on renewable energy and fossil fuels, which mentions ‘abatement and removal technologies, including carbon capture, utilisation and storage, and low-carbon hydrogen production,’ undermines the positive elements and significantly reduces the overall ambition.

“We refer to most of these technologies, which are unproven and unreliable, as dangerous distractions from the real action needed to move away from fossil fuels quickly and fairly,” he said on X.

Shirley Matheson, NDC Enhancement Coordinator, WWF International, said this new Global Stocktake draft text is a move in the right direction and the language on fossil fuels is much improved, with most options including a fossil fuel phase out.

“It is concerning to see the option to have no text relating to fossil fuels still remains in this draft. This must be rejected, along with options that give countries the scope to delay action or rely on technologies that have not been proven at scale. The Global Stocktake needs to be the moment the world acknowledges that the age of fossil fuels must end,” she said. PTI UZM NPK (This story was produced as part of the 2023 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Centre for Peace and Security.) NPK NPK

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