UN draft deal calls for ‘transitioning away’ from fossil fuels

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A draft U.N. climate deal called Wednesday for the world to transition away from fossil fuels, in a last-ditch bid to break a deadlock between nations seeking a phase-out from oil, gas and coal and Saudi-led crude producers.

Following all-night negotiations, the text proposed by the Emirati presidency of the COP28 summit in Dubai would, if approved, mark the first time that all fossil fuels are addressed in the 28-year history of international climate conferences.

The text calls for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science”.

But the document does not mention the “phase-out” demanded by Western nations and low-lying island states most vulnerable to rising seas and tropical storms.

The COP28 presidency scheduled a plenary session at 9:30 am (0530 GMT) in the hope of the text receiving consensus approval from nearly 200 nations.

Stephen Cornelius of the conservation group WWF called the new draft a “sorely needed improvement”, while still voicing disappointment at the lack of a full-on “phase-out” of fossil fuels.

“If this text is agreed by countries, it would represent a significant moment,” he said.

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