EU lawmakers urge COP28 climate summit to take aim at fossil fuels
By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament called on Tuesday for a global deal at the U.N. COP28 climate summit to phase out fossil fuels, aiming to add pressure on countries to tackle CO2-emitting oil and gas.
The push by European Union lawmakers comes before nearly 200 countries meet to discuss stronger climate change action at the COP28 conference in Dubai from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.
The meeting should agree to “a tangible phase-out of fossil fuels as soon as possible, to keep 1.5°C within reach, including by halting all new investments in fossil fuel extraction,” the EU Parliament said in a resolution.
The EU Parliament is not directly involved in COP28 negotiations, but sends a delegation to meet other countries’ representatives and negotiates the EU’s domestic climate policies that ensure it keeps the pledges made at COP meetings.
Countries agreed under the 2015 Paris Agreement to take action to stop the planet becoming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter than in preindustrial times, a limit that if breached would unleash far more disastrous extreme weather.
They are far off track. Countries’ current emissions targets would lead to nearly 3°C of warming this century, the United Nations said on Monday in a report calling for urgent action to cut emissions faster.
EU lawmakers passed the resolution with 462 votes in favour, 134 against and 30 abstentions.
Green lawmaker Pär Holmgren, one of its co-authors, said the time for debating how quickly to tackle climate change had passed.
“We need to start work and understand that we are already in the crisis of climate change,” Holmgren said.
They also urged governments to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and said the EU should contribute to a new climate damage fund set to be launched at COP28, “by making significant multi-year pledges”.
The lawmakers’ call goes beyond EU countries’ official negotiating position for the start of the talks – which can change as the negotiations unfold.
EU countries plan to seek a phase-out of “unabated” fossil fuels. That leaves a window for countries to keep burning coal, gas and oil if they use technology to “abate” – meaning capture – the resulting emissions.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Janet Lawrence)