COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber has urged countries to get out of their comfort zones and work together to reach an agreement before the two-week United Nations climate summit ends.
The scene at COP28 remains dominated by divergence, with the UN Climate Agency releasing a new draft of the conference agreement on Friday.
This draft included a range of options for the future use of traditional fuels, a highly contentious issue at the conference.
In the coming days, countries are expected to focus on this issue in the hope of reaching consensus before the summit concludes on December 12.
Options mentioned in the draft ranged from “gradual phasing out of fossil fuels in line with the best available science” to no inclusion of any language regarding the future use of fossil fuels.
The document also specified the option of “rapid and unconditional phasing out of coal energy this decade, with an immediate halt to the construction of new coal-fired power plants.”
“Let’s please get this job done,” said Al Jaber, opening a plenary session as the summit entered its toughest phase of negotiations.
“I need you to step up and I need you to come out of your comfort zones,” he added.
The President of COP28 appointed eight ministers, half from developed countries and the other half from the Global South, to work on four topics to break the deadlock in negotiations.
Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei of the UAE, on Thursday, on the sidelines of the COP28 summit, emphasized the need for a gradual phase-out of coal.
“I don't believe we should talk about the gradual phase-out of fossil fuels because technologies are also improving. What if we have technology in the future that removes all carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and makes it as clean as any other fuel type? Why fight it before we have an alternative?” said Al Mazrouei.
Since the adoption of the Loss and Damage Fund agreement on November 30, Al Jaber announced that countries had raised over $726 million to inject into the fund, with more expected by the end of COP28.
Pledges at COP28 are still far from the hundreds of millions needed annually to help developing countries adapt to the warming world, including rising sea levels and increased heat waves.