EU Council Calls for Fossil Fuel Phase Out Ahead of COP28

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by | Oct 18, 2023

The EU Council has decided on a general negotiating position for the upcoming COP28, emphasizing the need to scale up global efforts towards carbon neutrality by phasing out fossil fuels and increasing renewable energy capacity.

The Council also acknowledged the need to address adaptation strategies for the changing climate, including new policies and financing for climate change-caused damages.

It expressed that current updates to global Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), or nations’ respective plans for emissions reductions and climate mitigation, are insufficient to reach Paris Agreement goals. An updated EU NDC has been submitted, with a plan to reduce overall EU emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. The EU claims all parties attending COP28 should revisit and strengthen their respective NDCs before the conference.

The EU reportedly wants to be at the forefront of COP28 negotiations to promote a green transition, according to Teresa Ribera, Spain’s Climate Minister.

“Today we send a strong message to our partners: the EU is the global leader on climate action,” said Ribera. “In Dubai, we will be at the forefront of the negotiations to show the EU’s strongest commitment to the green transition and encourage our partners to follow our lead. The EU is a driving force for change and we have to speak with a single voice in the world. We can simply not use difficulties as an excuse to turn back to a pre-Paris agreement situation.”

Support for Phase Out of Fossil Fuels, Tripling Renewable Energy Capacity

Despite reservations from some members, the EU has expressed commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, a divisive topic amongst countries as COP28 approaches.

In order to achieve a climate-neutral economy, the EU said that unabated fossil fuel consumption must peak in this decade, with the economy predominantly free of fossil fuels well before 2050. This decline in fossil fuel dependency will reportedly need to be led by a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies.

Since global economies largely depend on fossil fuels, some countries are reluctant to agree to a more rapid clean energy transition, instead hoping to rely on carbon capture and removal technologies to help with emissions reductions.

Based on a recent G20 agreement and recommendations from the International Energy Agency, renewable energy capacity will need to triple by 2030 to meet global energy needs. The EU supports this goal and stresses cooperation with developing nations in these efforts in order to achieve a just energy transition.

Recommendations for Climate Mitigation, Financing

As climate change-related events increasingly impact communities worldwide, the EU stressed the importance of increased action toward climate resilience. This, according to the EU, includes successfully conducting the first Global Stocktake at COP28 in order to track progress towards Paris Agreement goals.

The EU stance also prioritized the need to integrate climate adaptation and resilience plans into policies and supports the creation of the mitigation work program and the just work program.

Finally, the EU said current financing efforts regarding climate loss and damages and recognized that existing funding arrangements need to be further strengthened. The EU has more than doubled its contribution to climate finance to support developing countries since 2013.


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