COP28 Fails to Agree on ‘Phasing Out’ Fossil Fuels

News & Politics

Squabbling delegates to the UN climate summit, COP28, have failed to agree on a plan to phase out fossil fuels, leaving the issue in limbo and calling into question the entire COP process as a venue to deal with climate change.


As long as the goal of cutting carbon emissions remains voluntary, nations are able to indulge the greens in their fantasies that they are saving the planet. But saving the planet is for serious people. Trying to dictate to countries whose primary means of national revenue is oil and gas that they should find other ways to live is beyond arrogant. It’s only natural that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and other oil-producing states resist the destruction of their economies.

But the greens are heartbroken. The draft proposal that ends every conference contained only the suggestion that nations might voluntarily phase out fossil fuels.

It’s not only the OPEC bloc and other energy-producing nations that are resisting the call to phase out oil, gas, and coal. China and India, two of the three biggest carbon polluters on the planet, also don’t want to hear talk of phasing out or a “phase-down” of any energy sources.

Related: U.S. Not Giving Enough Extortion Money for Climate Change, Say Poor Countries 

Al Gore and other greens were enraged by the inability of the attending nations to bankrupt their economies.

“The world desperately needs to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as possible, but this obsequious draft reads as if OPEC dictated it word for word,” Gore said. “It is even worse than many had feared.”


The text released Monday included a list of measures that nations would agree to pursue — albeit voluntarily. They included tripling global capacity of renewables by 2030, doubling the rate of energy savings through efficiency measures, “rapidly phasing down unabated coal” and limiting licenses for new power plants. The tripling of renewables was a key goal that the U.S. and China had agreed to in a separate meeting last month.

But most controversially, the text avoided the demands from the EU, U.S. and small island nations to “phase out” fossil fuels. (The U.S., EU, Australia and other industrialized countries specifically targeted “unabated” fossil fuels — those whose greenhouse gas pollution is not captured before entering the atmosphere.) Instead, it suggests that countries commit to “reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels … so as to achieve net zero by, before, or around 2050.”


Solar and wind power will not replace fossil fuels as primary energy sources until close to the end of this century. Using those sources of energy on an industrial scale where they could power hundreds of millions of homes and businesses is currently out of reach  Under these circumstances, phasing out fossil fuels is foolish.

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